For many people, the 2003 season represents so much, for plenty it’s the reason they are a Glovers fan today, for some it was the first football that wasn’t on the TV and for others, it was in their blood, in their family… forever destined to be part of their lives.

Abby Carter might fit into more than one of those categories, but as we saw first hand with her organisation of the Legends Game along side Kevin Gall, you cannot question what the 2003 squad means to her.

In this blog she tells us exactly why.

As we tumble through turmoil, heart break has been more common than cheer, 20 years ago feels like 200.

Some might say the joy we’ve felt makes the pain so much harder, but at least we have the memories!

Looking back fondly on days the club loved us as much as we loved them and Jon Goddard-Watts knew the power of investing for the local community has never felt so lost.
I wasn’t totally sure how to put those days into words, how do you describe the pride in the badge? The happy tears? The mutual united? The excitement of back-to-back open tour buses to Westlands Sports Club!? How do you explain that we achieved by unity to someone that wasn’t there?

A lot of the things that drove that success in those days, are gone, and whilst we could so easily get bogged down in the ‘where did it all go wrong’ question, there are a million potential excuses/reasons/musings.

Those were the days when every player had a song, everyone knew those songs, you loved your favourite players like you loved the club (never fall in love with Footballers).

We started that season at Dorchester town, the pitch was being re-laid and Gary took the team on a pre-season tour to Latvia.

In truth, I’m not sure 15-year-old Abby, from the parts of Dorset where you struggle to not replace the u in smurf with an e, even knew where Latvia was, but it certainly sounded a lot more exhilarating than Dorchester! Over the last 12 months Gary, Thommo and John Fry had signed a team of players that really had a point to prove, the ones that came close once, ex Premier League YTS’s or those struggling to get off the bench in Division 3, it was evident, we had a goal!

In the first month of the season Stanno broke his leg, so we needed a striker. By Christmas Kirk Jackson, whom we beat in the Trophy Final, was a Glover and he slotted into our united collection of local lads, Cockney accents, Northerners, 206cc drivers & ex bullsh*tters like he had lifted the trophy with us.

As we rolled into October we were back at the idyllic Huish Park, had spent a fair amount of the season top of the league, Tonks had left under a cloud of agent lambasting, Coatsie had built a Howard Forinton shrine, GJ had picked up a manager of the month, we walked in a Gavin Williams wonderland, the majority of us had yet to meet a real life internet hoodie and Badger, Hugh and co steered a strong relationship between club and fans through the iconic Ciderspace.

Christmas steamed by and we had lost 3 games as we entered the new year.

Carl Alford had gone, much to my personal heartbreak (never fall in love with Footballers).

We were playing silky, sexy, skilful, fast, mature football. Training and playing to standard beyond ‘little old Yeovil’.

There was a sense of friendly competition for a place in the squad. We owned the diamond formation with the ferocity of Colin Miles talking to Trevor Kettle. Macca and Gav could read each other’s minds, Colin, Roy and Locky commanded the back line, Skivo was the ultimate captain, Wealey was the safest hands, Steve Collis was steadfast, El-Kholti had hit colt like status, Thommo & Gilesy were super subs, Weasel and Johno were a pain in every teams ass, Lindy and Critts were constantly bringing pace, Jacko was banging the goals in and we played every game like Giant Killers.

The fundamental thing, those lads loved each other, and they loved the badge, they lived next door to each other, their partners were best friends, all inseparable, every home game Friday night the famous trips to Tambourinhos, they integrated into the town and it showed.

In February Gally arrived, and not because we didn’t already have enough terrible haircuts, he bought more pace and more skill.

By March we were 12 points clear and our fate was all but sealed. Telford Home took us within a point of Champions and when the day came it was at Donny away.

For the last 5 or 6 years we had our own mini bus group, Brian would drive us, coming up from Newton Abbott with his Grandsons and nephews, and meet mum, nan and I, Pat and her marvellous and much missed husband Tony, couple of my school friends Kim and Pete, with some members of their families including Adrian, the late and great Bern and Bid, their son Rick, our friend Pauline and to be honest anyone else that fancied jumping in.

We were a strange, dysfunctional football family, everyone was welcome and there weren’t many away games we didn’t travel to, meeting up at home games to between running the shop and the various other voluntary roles mum, nan and I did over the years.

We had won the game on April 11th before our 5:35pm kick off.

The celebration was deafening, and the players quickly cottoned on, we celebrated that day together.

They ran over as we filled Belle Vue before the team had changed for warm up. We were Champions, 108 years of non-league football was over.

I can still hear the drum bang and the chorus of “HEYYYYY GARY JOHNSOOONN”. We won that game 4-0 but the result was immaterial. We stopped at the services on the way home, dizzy on the day, throats horse, as the players’ coach pulled in, we again celebrated together, we took over those services as a travelling army, we won that season together, and the next 2 weeks the celebration didn’t end.

By the last day, Chester at home, records had been broken, unbeaten at home, 17 points clear, +64 goal difference, the team had scored over 100 goals, multiple players achieved teams of the year and Jacko had just missed out on Golden Boot.

Medals were collected, the trophy handed over, celebrations didn’t stop. We had done it, together and everyone really felt part of the journey.

A lot of the names I mention are sadly no longer with us, and all so missed.

In the summer Gally and pulled together a game in Stannos memory, whilst recognising the contribution of so many loved ones.

We raised over £17,000 for the Adam Stansfield Foundation but more importantly we tried to bring those days back, and for the first time in a long time the excitement and love filled Huish Park again, these days I find it harder and harder to visit HP and see how far we’ve fallen.

The truth is, it will never be the same, it wasn’t even close when we won at Wembley 10 years ago and to try and explain those days to people that weren’t there, all I can tell you is we had a 20 lion heart Staunton’s, loyal, determined, honest, passionate and they all went on to have exceptional careers.

I make up the 5th generation of Yeovil fans in my family, that win was a family win, this history is my history, YTFC is part of my identity and who I am.

My story is like so many others, Huish Park is the home of the majority of my childhood memories, leaving games at half time to go to birthday parties, my Hamsters & Guinea Pigs were named after players (Lee Harvey, Paul Wilson and Al-James Hannigan, if you wondered), Martock Watermans is still my favourite kit, selling programmes with ribbons in my hair, sitting with my great grandfather and listening to stories of the sloping pitch and the Sunderland win, my first job was at the club, Fred Lewis was like another grandfather to me.

Even as the crowds grew players and fans alike stayed friends, and as we climbed and started playing the big boys, with no more FA Trophy, a different entry stage to the FA Cup, working to meet new ground rules, excited to visit new grounds, we had a collection of players that will forever be cemented in our history and enjoyed the wonderful glorious magic of league football.

If 2003 means something to you, you’re than welcome to share your thoughts and images by emailing or by sharing your thoughts on Social media – @Gloverscast.

Support the Gloverscast

The Gloverscast is a volunteer run website which costs money to maintain. If ever you feel like supporting with our running costs, which include our website hosting, Zoom subscription, The Daily Glove, we’d be extremely grateful for your donations.



Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Phil A
1 year ago

What an awesome read! Those were magical days indeed.

1 year ago

I know I’m biased but that bought me to tears. Fabulous Memories. The Legends Game.. wow what a day that was.

1 year ago

What a great read, well done. I hope the prospective new owners read this and take it in, what this club means to so many people over many generations.