Gloversblog

Since Yeovil Town chairman Scott Priestnall announced three weeks ago that he had received “40 or 50 applications” for the vacant manager’s job at Huish Park, the rumour mill has been spinning over the identity of the new boss.

The unceremonious exit of caretaker boss Charlie Lee – who was confirmed as having left with immediate effect on Friday afternoon – was accompanied with confirmation that an appointment will be announced next week.

With only a couple of days left for wild speculation, Coatesie takes a look at some of the names in the frame, make sure you read until the end and cast your vote on which of this contenders you’d most like to see.


Chris Hargreaves

The former Torquay United manager’s name has been doing the rounds on the Huish Park rumour mill for the past few weeks.

His last job was as Academy Manager at League Two (soon to be League One) side Bristol Rovers which he quit in February after 18 months in the role, having been involved in coaching in the youth set-up at The Memorial Ground since summer 2019.

During that time he oversaw the development of a number of players who progressed on to the club’s first-team including  Kyrie Pierre and Brad Burrows, who both signed for Aston Villa last year, and Luca Hoole and Jed Ward.

His last (and only) managerial experience came at Torquay United, the club he represented as a player more than 100 times, where he took over in January 2014 with the club in serious risk of relegation out of the Football League.

Hargreaves was unable to stop the rot and the Gulls were relegated that summer and he was placed on gardening leave after rejecting a pay cut and eventually left.

More recently, he is a familiar face with National League supporters as a matchday summariser with BT Sport which you assume would give him some understanding of the division, at least.



Jamie McAllister

Jamie McAllister in action for Yeovil Town.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

A name who needs little introduction to Yeovil Town fans as the only Glovers’ captain to lift silverware for the club at Wembley Stadium when he captained the 2013 play-off winning side.

It is believed that McAllister has been interviewed for the job in recent weeks, putting his name in the frame.

Most recently, the former left-back was assistant to another Yeovil favourite, Lee Johnson, at Sunderland and left the Black Cats when the pair were sacked at the end of January.

Earlier this year, McAllister told the Gloverscast that he had considered the manager’s job at National League South side Gloucester City before moving to Wearside and when asked whether he was a future Yeovil manager, he replied: “No comment.” He was still employed at the Stadium of Light back then though – you can listen again – here.

McAllister would be a favourite with Huish Park supporters who fondly remember his two seasons as a player.



Michael Jolley

A bit of a curveball as someone with no connection to the club or even the South West, Jolley’s managerial outing saw him last just seven matches at League Two Barrow.

The former Cambridge University graduate, who has no professional playing record to speak of, spent around two months in charge in Cumbria before exiting with the Bluebirds’ chairman saying they had “differing visions for how the team should play.”

Prior to that he was in charge at Grimsby Town, then a League club, between March 2018 and November 2019, securing the club’s position in the League upon his arrival and then enjoying a moderately successful campaign in 2018-19.

Despite a strong start to the next campaign, he departed within three months by mutual consent and it was later revealed he had an “expletive laden” exchange with a BBC reporter over negative coverage of the Mariners. Something to keep in mind…..


Terry Skiverton

A bit of an outsider, however, following his departure from a first-team coaching role at League One Charlton Athletic, the Glovers’ legend has to be one for discussion.

Skivo’s two decades-long association with Yeovil came to an end back in January when he quit to take up a role in the Addicks’ coaching staff alongside Johnnie Jackson, but departed just over a week ago following the sacking of Jackson.

Speaking following his exit, the former captain, manager, and assistant manager said: “ I need to move on with my career, I have got all my qualifications – my B, A and my Pro Licence – and with all of those things, I really want to give this a crack and it’s time to move away from Yeovil.”

Given that, you would expect that a return seems unlikely, but chairman Scott Priestnall has said he is still in touch with “Tel” and spoke to him about appointing Charlie Lee as interim manager – so stranger things have happened.

Skiverton is certain to be back at Huish Park this weekend, albeit lining up for the Yeovil Town Legends against a South West Legends XI in the charity match in aid of the Adam Stansfield Foundation.


Tony Pennock celebrates the ICIS League title win in 1997. Picture courtesy of Tim Lancaster.

Tony Pennock

A former Glovers’ goalkeeper who turned out for the club more than 200 times in a six-year period left Championship side Hull City after eight years in the coaching set-up last weekend.

Speaking on his departure he revealed he wanted to “try and become a manager myself” having been part of the Tigers’ coaching set up which won their first title in more than half-a-century when they were promoted back to the second tier last season.

The Welshman was well respected in East Yorkshire having initially joined as academy manager in February 2014 before being promoted to the senior set-up in November 2016.

He had a short spell in charge at Welsh Premier League side Aberystwyth Town after Marco Silva was appointed at Hull in April 2017, only to leave and return to Humberside two months later when Silva departed.

Prior to that he had been a coach of the Wales semi-professional side and at Swansea City, but is best remembered for his time between the posts at Huish Park between 1995 and 2001.

He was part of Graham Roberts’ side which won promotion in to the Conference in 1997, and left to join Rushden & Diamonds after they beat the Glovers’ to promotion to the League.


Jerry Gill

The only member of this list of ‘maybe’ men who is actually currently employed by a football team.

Jerry Gill turning out for Yeovil Town in 1996-97. Picture courtesy of Tim Lancaster.

Gill is under contract with National League South side and defeated Somerset Premier Cup finalists Bath City (sorry, Jerry!) until next summer and therefore it would presumably cost money to release him – which naturally makes him an outsider.

Yet another former Yeovil player, he was a flying full-back in the team which won promotion back to the Conference in 1997 before joining on to join Birmingham City, he was rumoured to be in the running for the job when Darren Sarll took the job in the summer of 2019.

His managerial record saw him have a 44-day spell in charge of then-Conference South bottom club W*ymouth only to quit the cash-strapped seagull botherers before having roles in the Bristol Rovers youth team and then in the academy at Kidderminster Harriers.

Having spent two years he departed for a role in the youth set ups at first Norwich City and then Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he was Under-18s head coach. Having left Molineux in March 2017, he took up the first-team job at another of his former clubs, Bath City, in October of that year.

He extended his contract at Twerton Park by signing a two-year deal last summer having guided them to the play-off finals last season.

This year, the Romans had a disappointing campaign finishing fourth from bottom of the National League South.


So there’s some of the runners and riders, but who would you like to see next in the Huish Park hot-seat? Vote for your favourite……

Who would you like as the next Yeovil boss?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Here at the Gloverscast we write a weekly column for the Western Gazette and if you haven’t had chance to pick up the paper yet, you can read this week’s ramblings below.

Ben takes a look at this Tuesday’s Somerset Premier Cup final and thinks it should be taken seriously…

Tickets for the final on Tuesday night at Huish Park are still available – click HERE to buy one.


The Somerset Premier Cup was probably not the silverware Yeovil Town set out to get this season.

A play off final win would have been ideal. The FA Trophy would have been one for the romantics, 20 years on from when Terry Skiverton hoisted it aloft at Villa Park and kicked off a decade of success for the Glovers.

But here we are, sat in mid table mediocrity and looking at a final few games that are nothing more than dead rubbers.

With the exception of that Somerset Premier Cup final. 

It might only be the county Cup, but, surprisingly, we haven’t won it since 2005.

This past week, we heard ambitions of making Huish Park and Yeovil the number one sporting venue in the county…and as the only professional football club in Somerset, we should probably be winning the County Cup more than once every generation.

For some players, it might be the best chance they get to put on a show for those handing out contracts for next season.

Max Evans. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

It has the only source of first team football for young keeper Max Evans, Toby Stephens and a number of the Under-18s who will want to try and bridge the gap to mens’ football in the coming years.

And what of Bath City, managed by former Glover Jerry Gill. The’re the second biggest side in the competition and 16th in the National League South probably wasn’t what they were hoping for. They’ll take this game seriously and will fancy something of an upset against their old rivals from the league above.

The team selections throughout have been very respectful and as strong as reasonably could be, but as legs begin to tire and motivation begins to wane, I hope Charlie Lee can get his players up for one more go at winning something.

And who knows, maybe it’ll be a bit of a catalyst for success too. 

 

After the past seven days at Huish Park, there was talk from the Barnet side of convincing victories coming their way but did we expect anything other than this Yeovil Town side to turn up at The Hive?

Goals from Tom Knowles and Reuben Reid earned a 2-2 draw in North London at the weekend, and here are Coatesie‘s conclusions on what he saw from the away end….

After the week they have had with the exit of Darren Sarll and remembering former captain Lee Collins a year after his death, Yeovil Town’s players could have found an excuse for sub-par performance. But, this group of players never fail to give it everything they’ve got and they did that once again.
If this was a ‘dead rubber’ match between two mid-table sides with little threat of troubling the top or bottom of the division, get me along to more of them because it was thoroughly entertaining and that was down to the desire of both sets of players.
Glovers’ caretaker manager Charlie Lee has promised that he will make sure his players give absolutely everything in every match he is in charge of and after his first 90 minutes there can be no questioning the commitment of this squad.

However, this was not the vintage performance we have seen in our last couple of outings against Southend or Bromley.
Reuben Reid summarised it perfectly when he spoke after the match and said that the start and the finish from his team-mates was on the money, but the bit in the middle needs some working on.
Both goals conceded will have been a disappointment to both Charlie Lee and his players as on both occasions Barnet seemed to waltz through out midfield without too much challenge.
For the first goal, Morgan Williams was at fault against a very good player in Ephron Mason-Clark, and for the second there were multiple guilty parties for not stopping the hosts’ attack.

Reuben Reid. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Remember when scoring more than one goal was a problem? Nope, me neither. These last few games have seen us reborn in an attacking sense and seeing Tom Knowles’ desire to win the ball after just nine minutes, then tear forward and smash home the opener was fantastic.
Where does he get his energy from? All through the match he was a constant thorn in Barnet’s side.
And, yes, I have said I will judge Reuben Reid on goals this season (well, I did last season as well) and with two in his last two games, there’s nothing more I can say than – keep it up!

Perhaps one of the reasons for the reigniting of our attacking play is the arrival of Josh Neufville and Olufela Olomola and surely it’s time we saw Neufville and Fela given a start.
Charlie Wakefield looks to be trying so hard and it’s just not happening for him at the moment, so why not take him out of the firing line and give one of the loanees a start against King’s Lynn next weekend?

Josh Neufville. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Lee spoke after the game about how Luton has told us to be careful with Josh and I am sure Hartlepool would not thank us for breaking Fela, but both feel like they need more opportunities to show what they are made of.

Finally, on Monday’s podcast I said the one thing supporters can do to help in these worryingly uncertain times was to turn up in numbers and make a racket and boy did we.
Every single one of the 288 fans in that away end did everything they could to show Charlie Lee and his players exactly what their efforts and this football club means to us.
I suspect we don’t need to tell show them, but at a time when these players who have put in so much effort appear to be being shown so much disrespect by others at the club – see here if you don’t know what I mean – it was great that we did.
And for those who either are or seek to be the custodians of this club, I hope you witnessed exactly what it means. History will judge you for your actions. Do not fail these people.

Listening to Josh Staunton talk to the ‘Football, Bloody Hell’ show on 3 Valleys Radio this week was not easy.

Here we have a 26-year-old man with an injury which, in any other walk of life would have been operated on weeks ago, saying that he and his (in many cases even younger) team-mates have absolutely no idea if they have a job at the end of next month.

Any Yeovil Town fan knows all about the ‘will they? won’t they?’ situation with the takeover of the club, the apparent complete absence (at least publicly) of chairman and owner Scott Priestnall and a rudderless ship at Huish Park which has allowed manager Darren Sarll to walk away and join a rival club – and who can blame him?

Just read this that Josh told Adi Hopper at 3 Valley Radio:

Yeovil Town captain Josh Staunton.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

We are surrounded by uncertainty now and it is disappointing when you get to this stage of the season and you don’t know if you are wanted or unwanted.

“That is not just me, that is every player that is out of contract, we would like some sort of clarity of whether we need to look elsewhere or are going to be offered something.

“One of the benefits of having a younger team, that blind loyalty is there. If we had a group of older players who were more family-orientated, I think it would be a lot more toxic around the dressing room.

“Especially at this time of year when people are worrying about their futures.

Now the first thing to say is to praise Josh for his honesty and openness. There are few players in our squad – or indeed any squad in recent years – that clearly have the best interests of the club at heart more than Josh, so this is clearly something he has deep concerns about.

You can read more of what Josh said here or if you want to listen to the full show – try and skip the bits where Adi talks about things vibrating on his thighs (!), you can do that – here.

Now, I know that a footballers’ career is naturally more transient, but, even if you justify this situation that way, what of the other people who are employed by the club? The people looking after the stadium, running our community organisation, doing the finances, the media, all the other things that keep our club going.

Yesterday we paused and reflected on the tragic death of former captain Lee Collins and read heart-breaking tales about the demons which tormented him off-the-field.

As you will have heard Ian say on the latest podcast, we need to make sure the memory of Lee’s story stays with us as a football club – in our thoughts and our actions.

Lee’s concerns included about his future. Yet we have young people who find themselves with the same concerns and yet this seems to be happening. I ask again – how is this being allowed to happen?

In the latest Western Gazette column for the Gloverscast, Ben decided to open the briefcase of stats once more to try and crunch the numbers surrounding our lack of goals this season…

So, read on if you dare, the numbers are not great…


Yeovil players celebrate Charlie Wakefield’s FA Cup winner in Round 2

To quote to the great striker, Thierry Henry… “sometimes in football, you have to score goals”.

He’s not wrong, and he certainly knew how to find the back of the net and whilst that quote might be taken slightly tongue in cheek on it’s matter-of-fact stance, it actually comes in quite handy for the Glovers.

Our lack of prowess in front of goal has been well documented but it’s only once you break down the numbers do you realise just how poor our strike force have been.

So, if you’re sitting comfortably, here are those all too gruesome numbers.

Adi Yussuf fires a shot in on goal.
📸Mike Kunz.

28 goals this season is the second lowest in the league, only already relegated (and Yeovil’s next opponents) Dover have scored less.

28 is a full nine fewer than Barnet managed as the lowest scorers last season (37) can the Glovers score 10 in the last 12 games to at least break that barrier?

Of those 28, only 12 have come at home.

12 goals in front of your home supporters, that’s a pretty expensive season ticket if you go by the tried and tested goals-per-pound method.

Of those 12 home goals, 5 have come before the 15 minute mark… don’t turn up late to Huish Park.

We’ve scored 57% of our goals away from home this season, a divisional high.

Some light relief for those who travel away from home.

We’ve not scored twice in the league since the amazing win at Wrexham… in November, we’ve not scored at home in three.

We’ve only got two points from losing positions all season… let’s hope we don’t go behind.

Joe Quigley, still our top-scorer (7)
📸 Mike Kunz,

28 is at least seven less than Aleksander Mitrovic has this season, whilst at our level, its just four more than Kabongo Tshimanga has… and he’s not played since just before Valentines day.

Add together Paddy Madden’s 13 with Angelo Balanta’s eight and seven from Rhys Murphy and you’ve got a former YTFC strike force that matches Yeovil’s squad this season.

And here’s the cherry on top. When we crashed out the EFL we scored 41 goals in 46 games… that’s 0.89 goals per game.

Our current ratio is 0.88

It all makes for rather depressing reading. 

Goals win games… goals sell tickets… goals keep the season alive.

I don’t have the answers, we all know the context which surrounds our club right now, but with the season drifting to an end, the least the fans deserve are a few moments to savour.

Channel your inner Thierry Henry, lads, sometimes, you have to score goals.


Don’t forget to read our column in the Western Gazette every week, available in all good local outlets (and the rubbish ones as well)

 

Another week at Huish Park passes us by and that means another Western Gazette column has been published.

For those of you who haven’t had chance to pick up the paper just yet, here is another chance to read our thoughts on how two key players could help us even out the form against the bottom sides to when we play the best teams in the National League.


Lawson D’Ath. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz

Yeovil Town’s season so far makes no sense.

If you told me there was a team that had beaten Wrexham, Bromley and Stockport away, dispatched Halifax on the TV and picked up a pair of draws against Solihull, I’d assume they were set for promotion.

Tell me there’s a team that has failed to beat King’s Lynn, Dover, W*ymouth, Maidenhead, Wealdstone and Altrincham you’d have a fair guess they’d be struggling towards the bottom.

But the Glovers fit both these categories and as a result sit slap bang in the middle of the National League.

We asked both Luke Wilkinson and Darren Sarll to try and explain our peculiar record and neither could quite nail it on the head.

It could be potentially a mental thing, against lower sides we have to enforce the pace and tempo of the play as sides sit back and invite pressure, whilst we do exactly the same to those above us with all the promotion pressure that the big spenders have.

But, at time of writing,just nine points separate the Glovers from the play off spots, it’s hard not to look at those results against the relegation fodder and dream of what might of been.

Quite how we overcome this hurdle is a tough question, but it may well boil down to two things; someone to unlock the defensive lines of those who shut up shop and someone to find the back of the net.

Lawson D’ath has the quality to unlock those pockets of space, and find the final quality ball we’ve so desperately missed, and if Fela Olomola can add the final touch then maybe some of the drab draws or dreadful defeats can be turned into wins and the momentum can build from there.

Those two have the ability to take the pressure off of the likes of Wakefield, Knowles, Yussuf and Reid who have had the focus firmly placed on them for the lack of goals in the side.

The Glovers have drawn 7 games this season, a stat only beaten by Chesterfield with 10, it feels like the holy grail isn’t all that far away, but if the Glovers are to make a late surge – much like Luke Wilkinson said they could – they need to find a way through quickly and definitely have to beat W*ymouth next time, too!

Every week (well, every time we don’t forget!), the Gloverscast pens a column for the Western Gazette giving our views on ongoings at Huish Park, here’s the one which appeared in the edition on January 20:

As we come towards the end of what might be one of the most tumultuous weeks in Yeovil Town’s 125 year history, it has almost gone under the radar that the Glovers have a league game this weekend… a pretty big one at that.

How we’ll all remember Skivo – in a green-and-white shirt.

You’ll have read the tributes to the departing Terry Skiverton this week, you’ll have taken in the fall our to the dramatic and disappointing FA Trophy exit at the hands of Needham Market, but much like what’s left of the Glovers’ management team, the focus had to once again turn to Saturday.

The show, as they say, must go on.

I won’t disagree that the form since Boxing Day has been nothing short of terrible, and the context around the double defeat to Torquay, the losses against Southend, Bournemouth and of course Needham Market need no repeating.

Do you think Darren Sarll has spent the week sulking? Nope, me neither, then maybe we shouldn’t either.
The mind is cast back to the magical win over Wrexham back in November, a result which looks more and more incredible with each subsequent passing game.

I am reminded that on that day, much like now, the build up has been less than perfect. There were only four subs named that night, of which only one was really an option.

Luke Wilkinson wasn’t really available (despite making a cameo late on when he really shouldn’t have done) and much like now, Wrexham were coming off the back of a brilliant run of form.

A week is a long time in football, but you can bet Sarll and his players will be working their hardest to turn our run of form around.

It’s been tough on us all, and the best way to move on, is to send the Huish Park home with a performance to be proud of and three all important points.

Alex Bradley in conversation with manager Darren Sarll.

Have you seen Alex Bradley?

The former Finland youth International turned a loan deal from Lincoln into a permanent one back in January of 2021.

It’s probably safe to say the next year hasn’t quite been what he imagined.

At the time he said; My ambitions for the rest of the season are to play as many games as I can to the best of my ability and to help the team achieve what we are all capable of.

“To reach the play-off spots is doable and it’s up to us as a squad to make that happen. I hope we can have a very successful remainder of the campaign and get this club back to where it belongs.”

Those play off spots of course never materialised, and the reasons for that are complex and in no way, shape or form down to Alex.

In total, the defender/midfielder played 24 times in the 2020/21 season for Yeovil, mostly from the start and mostly at right back.

He was rarely absent through injury and only got sent off once right at the end of the season away at Aldershot.

Alex Bradley is sent off at Aldershot Town

Now, this season feels a very different story.

He has played in nine league games so far.

That’s less than half of the matches, what’s more alarming is that’s he started NONE.

Using Soccerbase as a guide his nine sub appearances in the league have come in the following minutes of matches; 89, 76, 89, 86, 87, 88, 75, 81 & 89.

He did get nearly half an hour vs Yate Town in the FA Cup and started the Trophy game against Woking but was taken off after 73 minutes.

All of this means his last completed match was the defeat to Stockport on the final day of last season.

I’ve been scratching my head as to what’s changed and why Bradley has been left out in the cold so often.

…and before you all start screaming “he’s clearly fallen out with the manager”…

I’m not going to putting that forward as an argument, there’s no evidence to suggest that and there might be more to it.

Yeovil signed Mark Little and then Dan Moss both would have been ahead of him in the pecking order for the right back shirt that he occupied so regularly last season.

But at Lincoln, he was predominantly a midfielder, playing as such in an EFL Cup game against Liverpool shortly before heading to Somerset.

The Glovers have moved to a 4-3-3 system this campaign for the most part and with the success of Gorman, Staunton and Worthington as a trio there means there has been little need to tinker with that – despite the little Mitch Rose experiment of which we shall not mention again.

It was suggested that he might be more suited to a standard right side of midfield position, recent talk of a return to 4-4-2 might have fuelled some excitement in the 22-year old of a potential return, but suggestions after the Southend loss are that a tactical switch might be on the scrap heap already have probably quashed that.

Alex Bradley. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Has he just been unlucky then?

He’s done nothing wrong in his mini cameos, but even then he came on in multiple different roles.

He played left wing at Stockport replacing Tom Knowles, he played on the right of the front three for a few seconds against Stevenage in the cup tasked with just killing time and being a nuisance.

He went into a defensive back line made up of about 7 players at Solihull and at Wrexham too.

Maybe he has just been biding his time, a little like Morgan Williams who had to snaffle a chance as an emergency left back when the opportunity came.

Others, like Matty Worthington have had unexplained time out the side and come back to be a mainstay in the team, so I don’t think his time at the club is coming to an end either.

It’s all a bit confusing and this weekend’s game against Needham Market might show us exactly where he stands in the respect of his involvement.

Despite Darren Sarll suggesting not much will change, he’d likely make a slight alteration or two.

We still expect Max Evans to play in goal (well, we don’t think Dillon Barnes is going to play) and with a potential reshuffle of putting Staunton in defence and with Worthington recovering from illness it might give Bradley some space in midfield.

Or will the early departure of Moss and the slow integration of Little back into the side offer him the chance back on the right side of defence?

What do you think? Has Alex Bradley been unlucky? Will he get a chance this weekend? Let us know!

It’s Day 36 since the passing of the seven-day deadline to complete a takeover of Yeovil Town set by Scott Priestnall, our chairman, owner and even more shockingly spectator.

We’re all bored of hearing the ‘in the know’ anonymous social media accounts (I always preferred Rocky) tell us what’s happening or when it’s happening, we all just want some kind of certainty, don’t we? Let’s not go back over the reasons why.

Could it be magic……?

But, if Mr Priestnall was present to see the best part of 8,000 people inside Huish Park (with thanks to the couple of thousand making the trip up from the Dorset coast) for Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie with AFC Bournemouth, I wonder what he thought.

We tweeted some pictures of a packed Thatcher’s stand after the match and made the point the ‘magic’ of the FA Cup may have brought them here, but it really doesn’t need magic to achieve this, does it?

In the summer, Scott Priestnall promised “a more inviting a more inviting and entertaining offer” for supporters; it’s an obvious improvement, but it’s one he’s failed to deliver.

There’s a group of hard-working staff behind the scenes who are doing everything they can, often with their hands tied behind their backs, and then there’s a group of volunteers without whom the operations of the club would literally grind to a halt.

If you don’t know who they are, they will be the people selling the lottery tickets and programmes, sweeping the stands, handing out cans from the makeshift bars.

There’s a lot of things which need to change from top to bottom, but here’s a few things that could make things better pretty quickly…..

  • Give the place a tidy up: Behind the Thatcher’s terrace looks like a dumping ground with landfill strewn all over the place, but the entrance to Huish Park is like an assault course – water hazards, little lighting, plastic drums blocking the entrance/exit nearest to Abbey Manor. It’s a bad look, potentially very dangerous and could be fixed. Hire a skip (or three!), mobilise an army of volunteers and make the place look a bit tidier. Yes, there will be things which require more permanent work – but there’s a few things which can be done to make things look better quickly.
  • Keep the doors open: The opening of the Alec Stock Lounge for supporters has been a good move (we assume the marquee has been left to rot?) but surely keeping it open longer would pay dividends. There was a captive audience of nearly 8,000 people there on Saturday, if you can keep even a small percentage of them after the game – it will begin to pay for itself. In the temporary bar behind the home and away terrace (presumably the bright vision of a “new bar area” the Chairman promised in the summer) staffed by volunteers, why isn’t there pints poured or cans available at a reasonable price ready to go? Again, not a criticism of those who are doing something, they are doing the best with what they have.
  • Contactless payments: The past two matches have seen long queues at the ticket offices and yet there’s no sign of any kind of e-ticket offer from the club – unless we’ve missed it? Surely the cost of printing thousands of tickets season after season must be greater than getting some QR Code scanners for each turnstile? And while we’re at it, why is there no card payments in the tea bars? Even a sole trader can get a simple, cheap card payment service – so why not for the tea bars?
  • Communicate better: It sounds like the simplest thing to do and you’ll never please all the people all the time, but regular communication with people is a great place to start. We’ve all spent the last 18 months communicating virtually with people and this would be a great way to get started and then commit to a regular forum for doing it.

Of course there are other things, like helping out the dwindling members of staff on the club’s books right now, getting some of our star players tied down to new contracts, there’s lots more than can be done and these are just a couple quick, free (or inexpensive) fixes.

For too many years we have got by doing what we always did off-the-field whilst exceeding expectations on it, but if our dream of a return to the Football League is to become a reality, we have to do things differently.

None of this is rocket science and you could probably all think of many other simple fixes; they won’t achieve getting us back to the League, but they might encourage a few hundred floating fans who turned up on Saturday to return.

If they do, that’s a step in the right direction and a direction we should be travelling.

Yeovil Town captain Josh Staunton.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Josh Staunton is the most important player to the future of Yeovil Town Football Club since Terry Skiverton.

That’s a statement isn’t it? I’ve said it, heck I’ve written it down for you the humble reader of the Gloverscast.

You’ve read the headline, you’ve taken the click bait and now you’re waiting to see what I have to say for myself.

Well, I stand by it.

Skivo hung up his playing boots in 2010.

Since then, the Glovers have been okay, been very good and been utterly rubbish sometimes all at the same time.

We hung around in League One, got out of League One, fell back through League One before treading water in League Two and eventually well, here we are a non-League club again.

During that time, there are maybe only a couple of standout moments and teams, the main one of course being winning promotion to the Championship.

I’d argue that, of course, the 2013 team was full of these incredible players, but for me, it felt like a team who had won the Lottery. Marek Stech in goal, Ed Upson, Paddy Madden, Luke Ayling, Joe Edwards, Sam Foley, Jamie McAllister and so on and so forth.

How many of those players, honestly, at that point in time had their next five years planned out at Huish Park? Arguably, none.

We’d have wanted them all to stay but they were snaffled up, pushed out, on too much money, sold for big bucks, given opportunities at clubs they could only dream of playing for just a few months before that group got together.

Josh Staunton rises highest to a header. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

My argument here is that if you said to me, Josh Staunton has signed a deal at Huish Park until the summer of 2026, I’d not only believe you and I’d know we’d be able to build maybe more than group around him. The last player we could honestly say that with… Terry Skiverton.

Skivo marshalled our 2003 side out of non-League, he led the rampage through League Two, and even that incredible 2007 side to the League One play-off final against all odds..

The Yeovil sides that dropped out of League One with a whimper or sleep-walked out of League Two had a couple of good players and maybe if I’d have written this at the moment of relegation in 2019, this blog would have had a similar feel to it about Carl Dickinson – but he wasn’t exactly reaching his peak years.

Then there’s that first non-League side.

I’m still staggered Darren Sarll found the group he did in less than a month after being appointed, but knowing that group as we now do, I’m not surprised he galvanised them to a play off spot.

It wasn’t to be for Stuart Nelson, Luke Wilkinson, Dicko, Lee Collins, Charlie Lee, Rhys Murphy and Co., and, of course, only one of those names still plays for us.

Yeovil Town defender Luke Wilkinson.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Wilkinson isn’t exactly old at 31, he’s got a few more seasons left in him at this level, he could probably give the EFL another crack if the chance came along.

But, here again, Josh Staunton is just 26.

His best five or six years are just starting now.

He’s a leader, a midfielder, a central defender, he’s fronted up to the media after losses, and is right now the first name on the team sheet as something of standard setter.

Gloverscast CEO Ian spoke of how his arrival off the bench in the FA Trophy game against Woking from the bench– to protect the already booked Luke Wilkinson – helped change the game. We noticeably missed him in the only 45 minutes he wasn’t on the pitch.

His comeback story from being given a “20% chance of playing again” last season is, quite frankly ridiculous – even our Hollywood friends in North Wales wouldn’t write that script.

The idea of loyalty in football to the level Skivo has shown Yeovil is all but gone, it would be bonkers to think any player from this generation would be with this club until 2042 in some way, shape or form.

But in the following scenarios at the end of this season, with the next four or five campaigns in mind, does this current Josh Staunton not make every single one of them better?

  • We don’t go up, we fall short by 15 points finish 12th and have to rebuild with most of the squad leaving this summer.
  • We don’t go up, we lose the play-off final on penalties, we have to pick up this dejected young squad who would have never felt football anguish like it before.
  • We do go up, (yay!), but our best players are snapped up by rich non-League clubs and those more geographically suitable to their families.
  • We do go up (yay, again!) and we keep the bulk of this squad together.

In each of those four scenarios, Josh Staunton provides the on or off the pitch leadership we haven’t really seen since… you guessed it, Skivo.

So, yeah, sure we’ve all made fun about how much I think of Josh this season and how much we clearly missed him last season.

But if we turn the year with a new owner, or start to plan for 2022-23 counting every penny in just the same way we have this campaign, the first signature we should aim for is that of our number 32.

Not just short-term either, let’s set our stall out early as he is likely to be the mainstay of this side well beyond Wilkinson, Reuben Reid and Mark Little – the three elder statesmen of the group.

Staunton has (at time of writing) played just 24 league games for us, he’s about half way to playing more games for us than any other side in his career.

He can lead this side for 100 more games easily, maybe into the Football League and certainly through rocky patches ahead.

There will not be many 26-year-olds at this level with 150 games already behind them and playing at the level where 150 more are perfectly feasible.

Sign him on. He’s the present and future of our team, we cannot throw this chance away.

It has always taken a certain type of player to play for Yeovil. We’ve heard the stories of Staunton joining the other injured players last season in playing a key role in getting the side through the end of the campaign and we’ve seen him don the captain’s armband on a few occasions this term too.

Qualities are not always easy to define, but you know what I mean. We’ve had loanees that ‘get it’ and some that don’t, we’ve had plenty of permanent signings come and go without so much as a shrug of the shoulders, we’ve had short term flashes of brilliance… we haven’t had all those positive attributes wrapped up into one person, one leader who can shape what this football club looks like for the next generation… since, you know who.

I cannot stress this enough, Josh Staunton is the most important player to the future of Yeovil Town Football Club since Terry Skiverton.


Editor’s note.

I have gone back and forth with writing and publishing this, I’m fully expecting a level of ridicule and outrage, but the reason I’ve gone with it, is that, I want to start the chat about getting contracts sorted beyond this season and quite how our squad looks in the medium to long term and I believe Josh Staunton has every attribute Skivo had and we should everything in our power to harness that.

If Staunton isn’t the most important player to YTFC, why? Who else has affected us (or will affect us) on the pitch in that same time frame?

Let us know! 

With the FA now confirming that Yeovil Town’s  number one Grant Smith will be out for the next two games after his sending off after the final whistle in the 3-0 defeat at Torquay United on Boxing Day, manager Darren Sarll has a choice to make.

Max Evans has been the back-up keeper for the past two years with his starting appearances limited to the Somerset Premier Cup and then the recent FA Trophy win over Woking, and is the obvious choice to fill in for Smith – but there’s also the option of bringing in a loan keeper.

We got BBC Somerset’s Yeovil Town reporter Sheridan Robins and Gloverscast regular David Coates to put forward the arguments for both options…

Max Evans

 


Going with Max

Nineteen-year-old Max Evans has been in and around the first team for two full seasons now, under the watchful eye of excellent goalkeeping coach Craig Wight and has worked with some excellent goalkeepers in Adam Smith and Grant Smith.

His professional debut against Woking in the FA Trophy was uneventful, but as a goalkeeper that is all you can really ask for. He has been consistently on the bench in the National League, and with how many sides do not even use a substitute spot for an additional goalkeeper, he is clearly well sought after.

In my view, if he is good enough to be the backup, he is good enough to take to the field for an FA Cup match and National League clash.

Grant Smith has been outstanding this season, but I am sure he would be the first to say his actions on Sunday fell short of his standards. A loan signing might be sensible to provide cover, but with the loans we already have in, and the bodies we have cover for elsewhere in the side, I am not sure it is necessary.

They always say a goalkeeper is better for having competition – and if Max Evans plays these games and impresses then Smith will have to force his way back into the team and that can only be a good thing for this ever-improving Yeovil side.

I was struck by Darren Sarll’s post-match comments about how he doesn’t think we are short for next week. A few weeks ago, that would not have been the case.

I do hope we see Evans take to the field – and impress. What a moment it would be for him to start against the Championship winners-elect in the FA Cup.

And if the worst did happen and Evans got injured, there is always Luke Wilkinson who can come in to save the day…. 😉

Sheridan Robins, BBC Somerset 


Getting in a loan

In Max Evans we clearly have a goalkeeper of some promise and his selection in the FA Trophy tie recently makes it clear Darren Sarll has faith in him.

Yeovil Town goalkeeper Grant Smith. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

But – you knew one was coming – I do not believe that Darren Sarll has it in his DNA to write off matches as lose-able and therefore chucking Evans in feels like a risk.

We’re still smarting from a loss at Torquay on Boxing Day and the Gulls made it clear that they have the gamesmanship (let’s be polite about it) you need a bit of in this division.

The likes of Danny Wright will undoubtedly target an inexperienced keeper.

In the FA Cup tie with AFC Bournemouth in the second match of Smith’s suspension, there will be some very good players in opposition and a Red Button audience watching on.

Should things start to go against us, the last thing Max needs for his confidence is to be repeatedly picking a ball out of the net.

Let’s assume for the sake of this scenario that the finance is in place to get a loan keeper in, and his parents club (assuming they are still in the competition) are willing to let him be Cup tied.

For his own protection, my view is we should look to bring a more experienced keeper in on loan even if it is just for a couple of matches.

We are at the midway point of the season and undoubtedly there are some good number two (and probably number three) goalkeepers kicking their heels in the Football League.

There will be chances for Max Evans in the near future and I have no doubt he’s capable of challenging for the number one jersey – but is now really the time for a novice?

David Coates – Gloverscast

It was the Welsh Government that went first confirming late on Monday night that all sporting events would be played behind-closed-doors from Boxing Day onwards in the battle to control the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Yesterday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon followed that lead with limits of a maximum of 500 people for all outdoor events.

So far, for Yeovil Town and the National League, the only impact comes in North Wales where our Hollywood pals at Wrexham are forced to play their Boxing Day match at home to Solihull Moors without supporters.

Former Glovers’ midfielder and now Wrexham long throw chucker Ben Tozer left political leaders in no doubt about his opinion on how football was being treated against other ‘leisure pursuits’:

So that just leaves Boris, whose credibility to ask anyone to follow the rules is seriously questionable. England’s Prime Minister said on Tuesday evening that there would be no further restrictions but “naturally we can’t rule out any further measures after Christmas.

It does rather feel like a prize turkey on Christmas Eve being told “you’re my favourite” by a farmer brandishing a meat cleaver, doesn’t it?

As ever, the best place to find out what is likely to happen is in the newspapers, and the smart money (if you’ll pardon the expression!) is further restrictions.

The Times reported on Tuesday that it’s expected there will be a ‘circuit breaker’ introduced from December 28 – yep, the same day our seagull bothering ‘friends’ from W*ymouth had been due back at Huish Park.

If England follow the rest of mainland Britain in restricting sporting events, there seems every chance that we’ll lose a pay day from both a derby and an FA Cup third round tie with AFC Bournemouth on January 8.

Let’s hope that the BBC or ITV wake up to the fact there’s life outside the Premier League and realise that neither Manchester United nor Aston Villa need the cash from a televised match – and you can watch Cristiano Ronaldo fall over and complain about his hair every weekend!

Alternatively, let’s follow Mark Little‘s lead and claim we’re all having a business meeting – if it’s good enough for Boris and his pals, it’s good enough for us, right?!

 

So, we have some guidance from Yeovil Town about what to expect with regards COVID-19 restrictions when they turn up at Huish Park for the FA Trophy match against Woking.

In summary:

  • You will not need to show evidence of your COVID-19 status;
  • If you are indoors, not sat at a table and not exempt, you will be expected  to wear a face mask;
  • If you are outdoors, wearing a face mask is up to you;
  • Finally, the club is advising that fans take a Lateral Flow Test before they arrive at Huish Park and presumably only attend of it is negative.

Having checked with Torquay United, where we travel on Boxing Day, there are no further restrictions or advice in place at Plainmoor – but that could change.

So, that appears to be the position off the pitch for the next couple of game at least but, with a large number of Premier League and EFL matches being postponed this weekend, what are the rules on it?

Ciderspace’s own Huish Hugh has taken a look at what the protocols are for the National League……

 

At present there appears to be a glaring discrepancy the number of Premier League / EFL games off – over 50% – and FA Trophy games cancelled – just two at time of writing.

Now the FA Trophy comes under the auspices of the FA not the National League but it did get me thinking what protocols are in place across the three divisions of the National League.

As one suspected would be the case, there’s nothing visible from the National League on its Official Website. However it appears the NL is following the EFL, so: 14 registered players, including a goalkeeper, still available and fixtures are expected to go ahead.

However several points could do with some clarification. As the NL registration list is permanently open, there being no transfer window restrictions at this level:

is there an expectation that clubs will continue to do all in their power to keep games on – for example under the emergency goalkeeper loan rules a club without one available would in normal circumstances be expected to bring a keeper in, even as late as the morning of a match;

for those clubs which have them, what is the status of academy players? Will they count towards the 14? This would be problematic from the level playing field point of view, with clubs with academies potentially playing matches with a number of youths in the side while clubs in a similar situation without academies being allowed to postpone theirs.

If you listened to our latest podcast, you will have heard us talk about Jordan Dyer joining a cast of thousands who have played just once for Yeovil Town – and if you didn’t listen, you can do – here.

Well, we promised you we’d list as many as we can from the YTFC Player Archive, salvaged from Ciderspace and available to you here, so here they are:

  1. Devon Arnold
  2. Zoumana Bakayogo
  3. Martin Barlow
  4. Flavien Belson
  5. Dale Bennett
  6. Jason Blunt
  7. Raphael Burke
  8. Tom Clarke
  9. Les Cleevely
  10. Billy Clifford
  11. Jordan Cook
  12. Kyle Copp
  13. Tommy Doherty
  14. Jordan Dyer
  15. Craig Eastmond
  16. Josh Ezewele
  17. Wayne Farnell-Jack
  18. Wes Fletcher
  19. Martin Gardener
  20. Andy Harris
  21. Keith Harvey
  22. Sam Johnstone
  23. Joey Jones
  24. Danny Maguire
  25. Faisal Mali
  26. Gavin McCallum
  27. Geoff Merrick
  28. Stuart Milne
  29. Archange Nkumu
  30. David Norris
  31. Colin Omogebehin
  32. Caleb Richards – came off at half-time in an FA Trophy defeat at home to Notts County.
  33. Ben Roberts
  34. Kevin Roberts
  35. Ben Rowe
  36. Nestor Shako
  37. Simon Spencer
  38. Jack Storer
  39. Nathan Talbott
  40. Bradley Thomas
  41. Clive Whitehead
  42. Dale Williams
  43. David Woozley
  44. Adam Wratten
  45. Kelly Youga

Are there any others you can think of? If so, drop us a tweet at @Gloverscast or message us on Facebook and we’ll add to the list.

It’s the worst kept secret in South Somerset and yet it still appears to be a secret.

The two consortiums bidding for the ownership of Yeovil Town are led by current club director Glenn Collis and another group led by Julian Jenkins, an ex-Cardiff City commercial director and CEO at Swiss side Servette for a spell.

The Huish Park rumour mill is fired on one side by a bizarre string of online articles and now YouTube broadcasts claiming to have knowledge on the Jenkins offer, and the other seemingly from conversations being had between Collis and supporters at matches.

A YouTube “banter broadcast” from earlier this week where it was claimed Julian Jenkins is in the running to buy the club.

As a result, on Tuesday the Supporters’ Alliance Group, which represents the club’s main fan groups including the Green & White Supporters’ Club and Glovers’ Trust, issued a public demand to owner Scott Priestnall to act.

The chairman and owner who bought the club from in the summer of 2019 has consistent in promising to do what is best for the club.

What he has been less consistent at is keeping to his commitments.

When we last heard from our AWOL owner, he promised improvements in the matchday experience, strengthening of the squad for a tilt at the play-offs and regular communication to with supporters.

To that end, we have seen a burger van appear behind the Thatchers’ End which was selling warm cans of beer, a squad filled up with young loan players in place of the experienced heads which departed in the summer, and a owner who no-one has seen or heard from in months.

The last public statement from owner Scott Priestnall from a video posted on the club’s YouTube channel in July.

On the pitch, manager Darren Sarll is under increasing pressure after less than convincing performances in the past three matches and a massive FA Cup tie with local rivals Weymouth coming up at the weekend.

In fairness to the boss, he has made mistakes tactically this season, but with the options he has he is doing his job with his hands tied behind his back.

And you can say that about just about every part of the club which feels both rudderless and taking on water, combination puts us in serious danger.

When it comes to  the owner’s promise of communication, this week supporters seem to be finding out more about/completely guessing at what is happening at the club from filings on Companies House.

With the club purchased with a loan secured against its own asset, and now seemingly being propped up by a Sport England loan (we’ve had no evidence of the contrary so how can we know?) it appears there’s a genuine possibility of a total catastrophe if a deal doesn’t get over the line.

The final line of the Alliance statement reads: “As a group of united supporters, we believe the time is now for genuine change and only one group at the table offers that hope for the future of Yeovil Town FC.

It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines and understand who the Supporters Alliance Group are in favour of.

The most galling thing of all is the sheer contempt which Yeovil Town supporters having to publicly call on those in charge of the club to have the decency to communicate with their supporters and their customers.

All those who put their hands in their own pockets to raise more than £50,000 for the club this summer, can rightly feel this complete lack of action from those who claim to be in charge is a slap in the face.

The voice of Alliance echoes that of supporters from all corners of the fan base – do what you’ve said you’ll do, Mr Priestnall, and do the right thing by OUR club.

The land which sits around Yeovil Town’s Huish Park stadium has never really been anything which has probably bothered many supporters.

However, the land is now the centre of attention with speculation around a takeover of the club by one of two unidentified consortiums, according to a statement from the Glovers’ Trust – see here.

It was back in 2010 that then-chairman John Fry and owner Norman Hayward created Yeovil Town Holdings Limited, a company which the pair then transferred the freehold of the land which borders the stadium in to.

That land covers the astroturf, small car park and land where the club’s marquee stands at the front of the stadium, along with the top pitches, a good chunk of the main car park and the area behind the Thatcher’s Gold terrace.

Land owned by Yeovil Town Holdings Limited is bordered in red – except the bit in mint green which is owned by Yeovil Athletic & Football Club Limited.

A slice of land which includes part of the car park and borders Western Avenue is owned by South Somerset District Council.

Today, Yeovil Town Holdings Limited  has two directors, Glovers’ chairman Scott Priestnall and his fellow director Glenn Collis, following the takeover led by Priestnall and is (now former) business partner Errol Pope in 2019.

The land which the stadium sits upon is owned by another company, Yeovil Football & Athletic Club Limited, whose directors are also Priestnall and Collis.

The division of land has been this way since John Fry and Norman Hayward asked the club’s shareholders to vote in favour of the decision to divide the assets and won the vote – unsurprisingly given the pair held 92% of the shares.

The restructuring was sold as a way to enable the development of the land for the benefit of the club and the former owners tried – and failed – to get developments through. Who can forget the proposal with Chris Dawson, the owner of The Range, which promised a 3,500-seater stand where the away end now is back in 2011?

And who would disagree with that principle? The idea of developing land around the stadium to make it generate income seven days a week – as opposed to between midday and 6pm on a Saturday matchday – should be actively encouraged.

The question comes down to who benefits from the sale/development of the land.

Scott Priestnall has spoken of a desire to develop the land around the stadium and he told Somerset Live in December 2019 that he would only make decisions on development which were “right for the football club.”

However, within just a few months of making this statement, the COVID-19 pandemic struck with the jigsaw pieces going up in the air.

The next we heard of plans for ownership of the land was the sale and lease back deal offered by SSDC – if you need reminding about that, see here.

But with that deal seemingly off the table, what do we now about who owns of the land around Huish Park and the land the stadium itself is built on?

The simple answer is somewhat unsurprisingly – Scott Priestnall and Glenn Collis as the directors of the two companies which own the different parcels of land.

The Land Registry documents which confirm the ownership of both pieces of land both include a charge from MSP Capital, a Poole-based property finance firm, which the chairman raised money from at the time of his takeover.

In the recent accounts of CV Leisure, the company set up by Priestnall and his former partner Errol Pope to complete the takeover from Fry and Hayward in 2019, the loan facility from MSP Capital is worth £1.35m.

Back in 2019, Somerset Live described the charges as “effectively mortgaging” Huish Park and its land to complete the deal.

The same article explained that no development of the land can take place without the say so of MSP Capital and that the lender had the right to take control of the land in the event it did not get its money back.

In the article, Priestnall was quoted as saying: “Those charges may well change. They may well come off over the next couple of months depending on what we decide to do.

The presence of the charges more than two years on would suggest that what the chairman decided to do did not involve removing the charges from the club.

In summary, what we know both the land which Huish Park sits on and the land around it are in the ownership of Scott Priestnall and, at least in name, Glenn Collis.

This is where the unanswered questions lie. If there is a takeover, will the deal be the assets held by both companies – Yeovil Town Holdings and Yeovil Athletic & Football Club, in case we’ve lost you by now.

One assumes that such a detail will only become public if and when any takeover is completed and presently the silence on that is deafening.

How I’ve missed that.

The sound of the turnstile as you push your way through the least covid-safe entranceway possible. The murmur of the crowd in anticipation of a match. The thud of a damp football being skidded along a slick surface. The echo of heavy rain driving on the metal roof. The joy of having a shared experience with people, actual people.

This season has been memorable. The disastrous start to the season, the owner attempting to sell the land, the covid breaks, injury after injury and the tragedy of Lee Collins. Last night was memorable for all of the right reasons. To be back at Huish Park, surrounded by familiar faces (a row further forward than normal) was the teaser of normality that many of us have craved.

The performance was good, I think? I mean, I enjoyed the game. I thought we played well and looked comfortable. But it didn’t really matter. The point was 1500 of us got to watch our team in a competitive match for the first time in 444 days.

Last night, I learned that a stream doesn’t do our players justice. The connection between a players genuine effort and drive is totally lost from behind a screen. Charlie Lee could have had that performance two weeks ago and it would have been fine. But to see it in person – his determination, his running, his quality – reminded me what being a supporter is all about.

Carl Dickinson, totally imperious last night, was winding up his winger incessantly. That was one of his final two matches at Huish Park and he absolutely revelled in it.

Josh Neufville got an applause like no other after his substitution. That was an outpouring of gratitude for being our standout performer since joining. He’s a highlight of our season and we’re only just able to give him the genuine appreciation he deserves.

The electricity of Knowles. Darren Sarll has been hyperbolic about Tom Knowles ability and he’s that player who starts to get the seats rumbling as he picks up the ball. He wants to make things happen and he’s going to be great to watch next season.

And the 4th minute. What a moment. If you listed a top ten moments at Huish Park that would have to be in it. The appreciation we’ve been yearning to show. To show each other what Lee Collins meant to us all. We’re still a club in grieving, but for the game to stop for applause across the pitch put a lump in my throat. Seeing Adam Smith wipe away the tears and Lee’s colleagues take a pause to feel that moment was something else.

It was an absolute pleasure to be back at Huish Park last night, supporting a team that’s been going it alone since March 2020. While we might have forgotten what that connection between players and supporters felt like through this torrid time, just a minute inside the stadium brought it all back again.