This History of Yeovil Town, was written by Bryan Moore and first appeared in a series of Yeovil Town programmes between 1995 and 1997. It was later published on Ciderspace which I have managed to start salvaging onto


Association Football first came to Yeovil in the 1890/91 season and was played in conjunction with the Yeovil Rugby Club, both codes being staged on a ground in West Hendford.

The soccer club was known as the Yeovil Football Club, with rugby and soccer being played at the ground on alternate Saturdays.

The birth of the Club as we know it today took place in 1895 with the formation of Yeovil Casuals. They played at the Pen Mill Athletic Ground and their headquarters was the Pen Mill Hotel. The Club colours were green and white stripes and, at the end of the first season, the Club showed a profit of £11.18s. 1d.

In the early days the Club played in the Somerset Senior League, the Dorset and Wiltshire County Leagues, the County Cups and the FA. Amateur Cup.

At the end of the 1897/98 season, an application was made for the Huish Athletic Ground owned by the Brewery Company, but it was unsuccessful.

In season 1907/08 the title of the Club was changed to Yeovil Town Football Club and a new strip of green shirts with white cuffs adopted.

Another club was founded in Yeovil in 1908. Called Petters United, their colours were amber and black and they played at Brickyard Lane as a Junior Club in the Yeovil & District League. After a few years, Petters United entered Senior football in the same competitions as Yeovil Town Football Club and the rivalry between the two clubs became intense.

During the early months of 1914 an important decision was made … to amalgamate the two clubs. Everything was ready for the start of the 1914/15 season, but the Great War broke out. The game was suspended during hostilities, but when peace came steps were taken quickly to put Yeovil on the football map. The scheme agreed upon in 1914 was put into operation and a new club, Yeovil & Petters United, was born.

The accommodation at the Pen Mill ground was improved, there now being two stands (one having been removed from the Petters United ground). Two Senior teams were run, the competitions entered being the Western League (Division Two) and the Dorset and Wiltshire Leagues.

The change of ground from Pen Mill to Huish was made and the first competitive game in the new stadium took place on Saturday, 28th August 1920, when the reserves entertained Christchurch in the Dorset League. An attendance of 1500 saw Yeovil run out easy winners by 5 goals to nil. The land at Huish had been purchased from Brutton’s Brewery for £1,725 and at the time a covenant was placed on the deal that the brewery had first refusal to buy back the land at the original figure.

In the early days the terraces were flat and the only covered accommodation was the 300 seater stand which had been moved up from Penn Mill. This stand served the Club until 1963 when the new stand was built. In July 1922 the Club accepted a quotation from Bird and Perry, for £733, to build dressing rooms with two sunken baths 9′ x 6′ x 4′ deep. The dressing rooms were opened in September 1922 and around this time the stand was also extended.

In the following season, 1921/22, Yeovil & Petters United won Division One of the Western League. In all competitions that season, Johnny Hayward scored 60 goals. The Club was now ready to step up into a higher class of football.


Following their success in winning the championship of the Western League the previous season, Yeovil & Petters United made a big step forward in the 1922/23 season by successfully applying for membership of the Southern League.

New dressing rooms were erected at Huish and the grandstand was extended. Both served the Club until their demolition in April, 1963, to make way for the new grandstand complex opened at the start of the 1963/64 season.

The Club struggled at the higher grade, mainly due to a poor defensive record, also the Club experienced financial difficulties, due to the cost of away travel and needed the intervention of several prominent townsmen to continue in the Southern League. Many forecasted an early inglorious end to Yeovil’s venture into top grade Non-League football.

1923 was another significant year in the history of the Club, it being agreed to form the Yeovil Football and Athletic Club Limited, the company being registered on 3rd May 1923. It was laid down that the number of Directors should not exceed 14, of whom four should be nominated by the members of the Yeovil Town Football Club, four by members of Petters United, two by members of Yeovil & Petters United Football Supporter’s Club the remaining four by the Shareholders. Mr. E. J. Farr was appointed the first Chairman of the Limited Company.

SEASON 1923-1924

At their first board meeting on 5th May, the directors appointed the Club’s first manager, Jack Gregory from Queen’s Park Rangers. He was immediately successful, for the Club won the Western Section of the Southern League.

During the summer of 1923, tennis courts were marked out on the pitch and hired out at £2 per court for the summer season. Also that summer 750 loads of earth were brought to the ground by Bartletts Ltd., to form a terrace at the Queen Street end of the ground. The pitch was lengthened by 4 yards at a cost of £15 and a telephone was installed. In October and November, a further 100 tons of materials were given by Westlands and hauled to the ground at a cost of £9 and the Club opened negotiations with the Southern Railway Company to purchase 1000 railway sleepers, at a cost of £50, to add steps to the terraces.

FA Cup Results 1923-24:
Prel. Round Yeovil 2 Frome Town 0
1st Qual. Yeovil 12 Westbury Utd 0
2nd Qual. Welton Rovers 1 Yeovil 2
3rd Qual. Yeovil 1 Torquay Utd 1
Replay Torquay Utd 2 Yeovil 1.

Comments in the Club programme regarding the Frome Town match:

“Safely over the first ditch! Our ‘Boys’ duly administered the knock-out blow to our neighbours, Frome, by two clear goals in their first ‘airing’ for the English Cup. The game, from a spectacular point of view, was nothing to enthuse over, and we were distinctly relieved to see the ‘pill’ reach the billet for the second time”.

Of the Westbury game, the programme editor wrote: “Hats off to a very gallant little team – Westbury United. Although outclassed in every department of the game they never gave up trying and we were glad to see their efforts rewarded by a goal.”

At Welton a penalty was awarded against us and the editor stated: “We confess we were none too easy in our minds when, a goal behind, the opposition were awarded a penalty, but by goalkeeper Vallis saving the weak attempt our boys appeared to wake up to the fact that it was time to be ‘doing’ and proceeded to ‘do’ it.”

After our replay defeat at Torquay, the programme editor had this to say: “Alas! Poor Yeovil. Tis better to give than to receive, the philosophers assure us, and so we give our best wishes to our seaside friends from Torquay for a long run in the Cup, from which competition we have now made a graceful exit. But oh! What a different tale might have been told – if the ref had stuck to the strict letter of the law with regard to the penalty incident!! Three vital moments. Such, however, is the fortune of war and soccer.”

Even eighty years ago, referees seemed to pick up stick!


Having won the Western  Section of the Southern League under Jack Gregory the previous season, the early days of the  1924/25 campaign saw Yeovil & Petters United travelling to play Peterborough United – who had won the  Eastern Section in the 1923/24 season – in the final of the competition only to lose by four goals to two.

Yeovil also slipped down the table during the season, finishing in eleventh place with 40 points from 38 games. Swansea Town Reserves won the section with 54 points, finishing above Plymouth Argyle Reserves on goal average. It was in the that the Club really made an impact – at the same time starting the tradition for outstanding cup-fighting qualities that has lasted until the present day.

In the Preliminary Round at Huish, Westbury United were again routed (this time 9-1) with Clevedon following them to Huish to lose 5-1. Yeovil travelled to Warminster Town in the 2nd Qualifying Round and won 3-1, then to Taunton for a 2-1 win in the 3rd Qualifying Round. So to the 4th Qualifying Round and a home draw against Division 3 (South) side Bournemouth and Boscombe United on 22nd November.

On 15th November, 1924 Yeovil played their first ever game against a Football League team beating Bournemouth and Boscombe 3-2 at Huish before a crowd of 5,500. Receipts for the game were £304.9s.0d, entertainment tax of £49.10s.6d was payable and match expenses amounted to £19.10s.6d, leaving a balance of £117.14s.0d profit to each club.

Having reached the First Round Proper of the competition for the first time, Yeovil were favoured by another home draw, this time against Bristol Rovers. Before the tie against Rovers, additional terracing was added at the Bruttons End and toilets were installed. Admission charges were increased by 6d. to cover the costs. In what appears to have been a rough game played before 6,600 people, Yeovil lost 4-2 and finished the game with only eight players due to injuries.

An extract from the following week’s programme states: “The fickle goddess turns her back on us and we, in consequence bid ‘goodbye’ to the Cup competition once again. Our only consolation lies in the fact that we have had the pleasure of treading the ‘Wembley’ road this season for the longest period in our career. This is a matter for satisfaction at least, if the manner in which we terminated our journeying is not. From reports and opinions on all hands it appears there were also critics besides ourselves who hold the view that our exit from the competition is somewhat premature, but this is the fortune of war and football.”

 “We thank our numerous friends for their expressions of regret at our passing and agree with them that it is extremely hard luck to be beaten in the national competition by a team competing in a higher sphere, but who, on their showing last week, do not own to possessing the fundamental principle of the game – sportsmanship. With regard to their skill, we also agree with our sympathisers that our boys have nothing to learn from our Bristolian friends and we venture to say that had the ground been on the light side, even allowing for the casualties we sustained, the Rovers would not have seen which way our lads went.”

“We observe that our late opponents are drawn to play at home in the next round against our near neighbours, Weymouth, and we think they will require to put up a better game than was the case last Saturday.” 

Also in 1924 the supporters’ club was formed and three tea urns were purchased and installed at Huish.


Following their F.A. Cup exploits the previous season, the 1925/26 season turned out to be the Club’s most disappointing since joining the Southern League. Yeovil finished in a mid-table position in their Section and in the F.A. Cup, although exempted until the 4th qualifying round for the first time, lost 3-1 at Torquay to fall at the first hurdle.

A quote in the Yeovil programme for 5th December, 1925, states: “Barracking still appears to be the ‘forte’ of the ignorant, in an effort to cure the evil, Notts County have gone to the expense of engaging detectives to weed the nuisances out”.

SEASON 1926-1927

The 1926/27 season was yet another disappointing one, Yeovil slumping to twelfth in the Western Section of the Southern League, which was won by Torquay United.

In the F.A. Cup it was back to the Preliminary Round again.

Preliminary Round – Yeovil 10 Street 1,
1st Round Qual. – Yeovil 3 Bristol St George 0,
2nd Qual. – Yeovil 5 St Weymouth Austell 0,
3rd Qual. – Yeovil 3 Barry 1,
4th Qual. – Weymouth 4 Yeovil 1.

For the first match at Weymouth, The Great Western Railway Company ran an excursion with 600 fans paying 2/6d.  each. The game, however, was called off only minutes before half-time as the ground was waterlogged.

The 18th September, 1926, saw Johnny Hayward score his 500th goal for the club, a feat no other player is ever likely to achieve. On a more serious note, the programme of 27th November reported: for the benefit of those readers who are not already aware of the fact, W. H. Poole has been given notice to terminate his engagement with the Club. We regret the necessity of this step, but when a man is not amenable to discipline it is to the interest of the Club (no matter how good a player he may be) that they part company and this is the course adopted by the Directors.”

On Boxing Day, Yeovil’s number 4, Ernie Hyman, sustained internal injuries and on the following Friday died in the Yeovil & District Hospital at the age of 22. A fund was set up which amounted to £80 6s. Od. which was invested in War Stock. During the season, the Queen Street end terracing was covered for the first time.

At the end of this season, the Club made its first ever application to join the Third Division of the Football league. A report at the time states: “A big effort is to be made to gain admission to the English League (Div.III). The meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday, 26th April, 1927 was most successful and the motion that the application be made was carried with enthusiasm. For the Directors to be able to carry forward the project is entirely due to the work during the past few weeks of the Shareholders’ Committee, who have worked untiringly. The satisfactory report they were able to put forward was most encouraging and with still further promises of financial support going forward. From information to hand we are able to state that the Club is hopeful of being successful in their application. Yeovil has for many years been one of the principal association football districts in the West of England and should this important step be confirmed and Yeovil & Petters next season figure in English League football, then this will have mainly been brought about by the work of the Committee of which Mr. C.E.R. Dye has been such an enthusiastic Chairman and Mr. Stanley Vincent an indefatigable secretary. Both these gentleman and their fellow workers have spared no effort to bring about achievement of the object in view and they are to be commended for what they have done.”


Yeovil’s attempt for a place in the Football League during the summer of 1927 proved unsuccessful. Instead Torquay United‘s application was, so it was Southern League again for the 1927-28 season.

The season turned out to be another disappointing one for the Club, finishing only ninth in the league. Even more disastrously, after winning 3-0 at Green Waves (Plymouth) in the Preliminary Round of the F.A. Cup,

Yeovil crashed out of the competition 1-3 at Plymouth Civil Services. At the start of the season the club had signed eight new players including Bert Grist from the R.A.F. who went on to serve the club in many capacities for over 50 years. The season also saw the setting up of the Federation of Supporters’ Clubs.

In the club’s first programme of the season it was reported that complaints had been received from the Sanitary Authority and it was strongly urged, in the interests of public health and decency, to make use of the toilet facilities provided on the ground!!

Jimmy Wiltshire, who later went on to referee an F.A. Cup Final at Wembley, was in charge of Yeovil’s opening game of the season against Barry Town.

After only three games there was concern in the Boardroom and in programme no. 3, dated 8th September, the editor wrote ‘Several of our players have failed to enhance their reputations, in fact to live up to them, and the Directors are making changes in the composition of the team to do duty in the game against Aberdare today. This must not be construed as being the outcome of a feeling of panic, as we feel confident we have sufficient talent at our disposal to give a good account of ourselves. We are, however, anxious to settle on a team which will, above all things, blend’.

Yeovil won that game 5-3!

The Club’s Football Development Committee ran a competition for an Austin motor car. This was won by Mr. R. Wedlake, of 2 Wyke Road, Bruton, and the winning ticket was sold by Miss S. Asker of Castle Cary.

By Christmas, Yeovil were at the foot of the table and supporters were getting more and more impatient with the players, so much so that the club wrote the following in the programme on 3rd December 1927: “We dislike to be repeatedly criticising the spectators, and know that it is only a very few who are ignorant enough to show their lack of knowledge of the game by continually individualising, and also by their ‘barracking’, ‘play the game’ and ‘keep your place’, were instances heard last Saturday. These remarks were uncalled for. The first was when tactics were being used which

were essential under the circumstances, and the final remark mentioned was keeping his place, which greatly proves the lack of knowledge of the game these critics have. Unless this is stopped in future, severe measures will have to be adopted, as our players are more willing to participate in away matches than home fixtures, because they receive more fair play from opposition spectators. Not only does this barracking from just a few make it bad for the other spectators, but it does not encourage our players to give of their best.”

At the end of the season, Player Manager, Jack Gregory resigned and his place was taken by Tony Lowes, who had played at inside left for the club for two seasons.

SEASON 1928-1929

The change of manager did not bring a change of fortunes in the league for season 1928-29, Yeovil finishing in a lowly 14th position. The only success when, after battling through ten games, Yeovil entertained Plymouth Argyle in the First Round Proper, attracting a gate of 6,299. Although Yeovil lost the Preliminary Round replay against Taunton, it was felt that Taunton had played a gentleman named W. Curtis, in both games and he had not been registered – so the tie was awarded to Yeovil.

Preliminary Round: Taunton 1 Yeovil 1.
Replay Yeovil 1 Taunton 3.
First Qualifying Round: Plymouth Civil Services 2 Yeovil 2.
Replay Yeovil 6 Plymouth Civil Services 2.
2nd Qualifying Round: Yeovil 5 Wells City 2.
3rd Qual: Barry Town 2 Yeovil 2.
Replay Yeovil 0 Barry Town 0.
2nd Replay (at Ashton Gate) Yeovil 3 Barry Town 1.
4th Qual: Salisbury 3 Yeovil 3.
Replay Yeovil 5 Salisbury 2.
First Round Proper: Yeovil 1 Plymouth Argyle 4.


In the close season of 1929, Yeovil appointed a new player/manager, David Pratt, who had played for Celtic, Liverpool and Bury. His appointment brought an immediate upturn in the fortunes of the Club, for Yeovil finished in fifth position, seven points behind champions Bath City, at the end of the 1929/30 season. They also won the Western League Title with a record number of points.

The Club made a profit of £1,284 but, due to the fact that it was proving impossible to obtain work for players because of the Depression, the Club had turned full-time professional and the weekly wage bill risen to £50 per week!

In the FA. Cup, the Club reached the Third Qualifying Round.

Preliminary Round: Kingswood 2, Yeovil 3.
1st Qualifying Round: Yeovil 3, Ebbw Vale 1.
2nd Qualifying  Yeovil  5,  Weston-super-Mare  0.
3rd  Qualifying Round: Barry Town 4, Yeovil 3.

SEASON 1930-1931

By the start of the 1930/31 season, the country’s economy had reached the depths of the Depression and football, like everything else, experienced the difficulties and hardships of the period. The number of clubs in theSouthern League dropped to just 21 – nine in the Eastern Section and twelve in the Western.

Northampton Reserves, Southampton Reserves, Kettering Town, Bournemouth & Boscombe Reserves, Brighton & Hove Albion Reserves, Sittingbourne, Northfleet United (Arsenal’s nursery side) and Grays Thurrock United, all departed from the Eastern Section, whilst Bristol Rovers Reserves, Lovells Athletic and Yeovil & Petters United all dropped out of the Western Section.

Yeovil’s departure, however, was not on financial grounds, as it was decided to move into Division II of the London Combination (now known as the Football Combination). Yeovil finished as runners-up in the League, the season bringing a total of 170 goals with three players being transferred to Football League clubs.

Yeovil entertained First Division Liverpool and Newcastle United in friendlies at Huish. Over 12,000 saw the two games – Yeovil beating Liverpool (Elisha Scott and all) 8-4 and losing 2-3 to Newcastle.

SEASON 1931-1932

The Club’s absence from the Southern League was short-lived, however, for Yeovil & Petters United made a triumphant return to the Southern League in the 1931/32 season by winning the Western League Section – finishing one point ahead of Plymouth Argyle Reserves. The team also remained in Division II of the London Combination, however, finishing in third position.

With the team also reaching the Second Round Proper of the FA. Cup for the first time, the Club had undoubtedly got together the best ever to don the ‘green and whites’. A new goalscoring record was also set up, Pemberton netting 69 and all the other forwards reaching double figures in a total of 225 goals. The total gate money for the season was £4,787.

At the end of the season, no fewer than five players were transferred to Football League clubs, McAndrew (to Bristol Rovers), Pemberton (Millwall), Millington (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan (Bradford City) and Molloy (Swansea Town).

FA. Cup Results:
Preliminary Round: Yeovil 11, Wadebridge 1.
1st Qualifying Round: Yeovil 4, Dartmouth 2.
2nd Qualifying Round: Street 1, Yeovil 4.
3rd Qualifying Round: Lovells Ath 0, Yeovil 1.
4th Qualifying Round: Llanelli 0, Yeovil 1.
5th Qualifying Round: Yeovil 4, Salisbury 2.
1st Round Proper: Yeovil 3, Hayes 1.
2nd Round Proper: Fulham 0, Yeovil 0.
Replay: Yeovil 2, Fulham 5.

Even though the season was such a success, the Directors of the Club were very worried about the falling off in attendances. At the A.G.M. it was reported that they were to appeal to the townspeople of Yeovil, as it was felt that they were not supporting the Club to the same extent as the people from the outlying districts. It was also intimated at the A.G.M. that the Club had been able to acquire the freehold of the Huish field and to provide increased accommodation.

The Company also secured additional land at the Brewery end of the playing pitch. It was not possible at the time to say how the purchase was to be financed, but the Chairman was able to say that a substantial amount had been loaned to the Club at a nominal interest rate for the period that football was carried on at Huish.


Having made a triumphant return to the Southern League by winning the Western Section in the 1931-32 season, Yeovil travelled to Eastern section winners, Dartford in August 1932, only to lose again in the championship play-off by the two goals to one.

This defeat set the pattern for the 1932-33 season which, after the success of the previous season, was a little like “After the Lord Mayor’s show”. Yeovil dropped to fifth position in the Southern League (Western Section), but had more success in the London Combination, finishing in third place.

The season saw the introduction of the Southern League Cup, in an effort to create additional fixtures for the nineteen clubs remaining in the Southern League. In the Preliminary Round, Yeovil drew 2-2 against Bristol Rovers Reserves at Eastville, winning the replay 4-3. In round one, Yeovil defeated Bournemouth & Boscombe Reserves 4-1 at Huish, but went out in the next round, losing 1-3 to Somerset rivals, Bath City, again at Huish.

In the FA Cup, Yeovil turned the tables on Bath City, winning 4-2 at Twerton Park, they were drawn away in the First Round Proper and held Dartford to a 0-0 draw in Kent, Yeovil winning the replay 4-2. It was  another away draw in round two, Yeovil going out of the competition at Chester City 1-2.

At the end of the 1932-33 season, manager David Pratt left the Club to manage Clapton Orient. It was through his influence and his many friends in the First Division, that teams such as Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Arsenal, Wolves, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Sunderland visited Huish for friendly matches. Other notable visitors included the Czechoslovakian national side, who came to Somerset in April, 1933, only to lose by an incredible eight goals to three!

SEASON 1933-1934

During the summer of 1933, the Club appointed Louis Page as player/manager. He had spent most of his playing career with Burnley, playing in the First Division. An International, he was one of the finest outside-lefts in the country and had set up an individual record by scoring seven goals in aleague match against Birmingham City at St. Andrews.

The 1933 summer also saw the reorganisation of the Southern League. The number of participating clubs had dropped to only 19 in the two sections the previous season, and the lack of fixtures had become a problem. Three sections were created to replace the existing two – Eastern, Western and Central – with Yeovil competing in the latter two. Coinciding with this revision, the Club withdrew from the London Combination.

Yeovil finished fifth of eleven clubs in the Western Section and fourth of ten clubs in the Central Section, Plymouth Argyle Reserves winning both sections.

The cup competitions proved a disaster for the club. In the Southern League Cup, Yeovil lost 5-1 to Plymouth Argyle Reserves at Home Park, whilst Bath City won 2-0 at Huish in the FA Cup, to inflict a defeat at the first hurdle for only the second time since the Club entered the competition.


After the cup disasters of the previous season, the 1934/35 season proved to be the most successful in the Club’s history to date.

The Club reached the Third Round Proper of the F.A. Cup for the first time and also progressed to the final of the Southern League Cup by defeating Taunton TownTorquay United Reserves and Plymouth Argyle Reserves. The first leg of the final saw Folkestone take a 4-1 lead before 2,000 spectators at their Cheriton Road ground. Yeovil fought valiantly to reduce the deficit at Huish in the return leg and gained a 3-1 win, but this was not enough, and Folkestone won the trophy 5-4 on aggregate.

Success also came in the Southern League, the Club winning the Western Section again, but, as a contradiction, finished only tenth of eleven in the Central Section. However, they were destined to lose the Southern League Championship play-offs, which were playedin the early part of the following season.

At the end of the season, Yeovil lost in the Southern League Championship play-offs, they drew 2-2 at Huish in the first match, but were crushed 7-2 at Carrow Road by the Eastern Section winners, Norwich City Reserves.

F.A. Cup results:
1st Qualifying Round: Tiverton 1 Yeovil 5.
2nd Qual. Round: Yeovil 8 Wells City 2.
3rd Qual. Round: Glastonbury 1 Yeovil 2.
4th Qual. Round: Yeovil 6 Weymouth 2.
1st Round Proper: Yeovil 3 Crystal Palace 0.
2nd Round Proper: Yeovil 4 Exeter City 1.
3rd Round Proper: Yeovil 2 Liverpool 6.

In such a fine F.A. Cup season, the pay for most of the Club’s players was £2 per week. The top man was on £4. The First Round victory over Crystal Palace was rated “The biggest triumph in Yeovil’s history”. The ‘gate’ was 8,762, a new record that lasted only until the Second Round, when the visitors of neighbours Exeter City attracted over 10,000 people – 3,000 of them coming up from Devon.

When the Third Round draw was made, Yeovil’s chairman, George Fox, said ‘No’ to playing the game at Anfield. Once again, all records were broken: The ‘gate’ was 11,830 and takings £1,360. In an effort to provide additional seating, a small stand was built in the corner at the Queen Street end to hold 100 people – this was at a cost of £250. This stand acted as the Directors’ Box and Boardroom until the new stand was built in 1963.

Over 1,000 travelled with the First Division club, whose team included both of England’s full-backs. Yeovil went ahead after five minutes through McNeil, the score at half-time being 1-1. In the second half, Yeovil were no match for Liverpool – despite a second goal from McNeil – who ran out winners by 6-2.

The club was in financial difficulties before the Cup run, so this timely good fortune enabled things to be put right. Louis Page played the entire game against Liverpool with a broken collar bone, an injury sustained in pre-match training at bracing llfracombe. News of the injury was kept a secret.

A consequence of the tremendous run in the F.A. Cup was exemption the following season until the 4th Qualifying Round – a status that was maintained from that time right up to the 1975/76 season, over forty years later!

Another was the departure of Page the following summer to take over as manager of Newport County, one of several clubs interested in acquiring his services.

And so started another great Yeovil tradition… as a fine training ground for management in the Football League.


Following the departure of Louis Page to manager Newport County, Yeovil started the 1935/36 season with a new manager – centre-forward David Halliday, who moved West from (Clapton) Orient.

Halliday’s first season in charge proved a disaster: Yeovil finished seventh of nine in the Western Section of the Southern League, bottom of the Central Division and departed in the First Round of the Southern League Cup after losing 3-0 at Plymouth Argyle Reserves. Earlier in the season, Yeovil had been involved in the 1934/35 Championship play-off with Eastern Section winners Norwich City Reserves. After a 2-2 draw at Huish, Yeovil crashed 7-2 at Carrow Road in the second leg.

Further disappointment came in the FA. Cup. After a 2-1 win at home to Barry Town in the 4th Qualifying   Round, Yeovil crashed out of the competition at the hands of amateurs Newport (Isle of Wight). The only thing of note about the game was the fact that Yeovil forced 26 cornerswithout finding a way of wiping out the one goal scored by the Islanders.

During the 1935-36 season, steps were taken to reform the Southern League. One of the leading negotiators being Bill Farthing, The Yeovil Chairman and a member of the League Management Committee.

At a special general meeting in December 1935, it was agreed to form a competition to cover the whole Southern League area with a mid-week section for those clubs needing extra fixtures.

SEASON 1936-1937

Four clubs dropped out of the league prior to the 1936-37 campaign, however, new boys Ipswich Town created considerable interest. Their opening game of the season against Tunbridge Wells was watched by a crowd of 14,211 and the Christmas games against local rivals Norwich City Reserves, attracted over 25,000 spectators. In mid-April, before a crowd of 10,238 at Portman Road, they clinched the title by beating Yeovil 3-0.

Yeovil went out in the Second Round of the Southern League Cup, defeating Exeter City Reserves 4-1 in the First Round and losing 6-1 at home to Torquay United Reserves in the Second.

Once again it was the FA. Cup that brought most success and publicity to the Club.


Round Match Gate Takings
4th Qualifying Round Yeovil 4, Cheltenham Town 2. 4184 £220
1st Round Yeovil 4, Worthing 3. 4281 £237
2nd Round Walsall 1, Yeovil 1. 3924 £207
Replay Yeovil 0, Walsall 1. 5308 £283

The achievement in forcing a 1-1 draw at Walsall in the Second Round was an amazing performance and hopes were high that Yeovil would reach the Third Round again and a home match against Barnsley. In the replay, Yeovil dominated the play but disaster overtook them in the last minute, when Walsall scored the only goal of the match.

The ups and downs of Cup Football saw Yeovil lose 4-1 to Glastonbury in the final of the Somerset Professional Cup later in the season!!

The season ended with a friendly against Arsenal, who won by 7-3 and Yeovil had taken a step forward to regain former glories in a season in which they found it difficult to keep their heads above water financially.


The 1937/38 season was yet another that will be best remembered for Yeovil’s exploits in the F.A. Cup, the Third Round being reached once again.

In the Southern League, the Club rose to fourth position in the League and reached the final of the Southern League Cup before losing to Colchester United 4-3 on aggregate.

After defeating Radstock Town and Ipswich Town in the previous two rounds of the F.A. Cup, Yeovil entertained Gainsborough Trinity in the 2nd Round. After clearing snow from the pitch and gaining a narrow victory, the news came through that manager David Halliday had been appointed manager of Aberdeen. However, he would stay in charge until after the next match in the F.A. Cup – away to Manchester United, then a Second Division team.

The attendance at Old Trafford was 49,000, the second largest ‘gate’ in the country that day. Yeovil held them until ten minutes into the second half, when three goals in twenty minutes put Yeovil out. Consolation, however, lay in a share of the gate money (totalling £3,035) of £1,283. After the match, winger Charlie Smith was transferred to Aberdeen for £350.

Halliday’s departure saw Bill Kingdom take over at Huish. A half-back, he had spent nine seasons with Aston Villa and two with Southampton.

SEASON 1938-1939

The 1938/39 season marked the growth of the Southern League to 23 teams, even though Ipswich Town had departed for the Football League leaving their reserve side to take their place. The other newcomers were Gillingham, Arsenal Reserves, Cardiff City Reserves, Chelmsford City and Worcester City.

At a board meeting held on 7th February 1938, the first of many plans to level Huish was discussed – the pitch sloped six feet along the halfway line and eight foot from one corner to another but, as happened so many times afterwards, the practicality and cost of such a scheme made this impossible.

The Southern League Cup proved to be an anti-climax after reaching the final the previous season, Yeovil going out in the 1st Round to Swindon Town Reserves at the County Ground. The F.A. Cup was another story, however, for the Third Round was reached for the second season in succession.


Round Match Gate Takings
4th Qualifying Round Barry Town 2, Yeovil 5. 3452 £180
1st Round Yeovil 2, Brighton & Hove 1. 8177 £444
2nd Round Folkestone Town 1, Yeovil 1. 2480 £97
2nd Round Replay Yeovil 1, Folkestone 0. 5825 £326
3rd Round Sheffield Wed. 1, Yeovil 1. 24466 £1472
3rd Round Replay Yeovil 1, Sheffield Wed. 2. 14329 £914

The meeting between Sheffield Wednesday (already three times F.A. Cup winners and six times League Champions) and Yeovil on Saturday, 7th January, 1939, was the tie that all the country was talking about that day. The game was almost called off, but scores of men worked on the Hillsborough pitch throughout the previous day and on the morning of the match shovelling snow away. Fifteen tons of sand were used and – happily for the 300 supporters who travelled to Sheffield – the game went ahead.

With the score standing at 1-1 and time running out, Yeovil could have won the game. Jimmy Graham, the Yeovil centre-forward, raced through Wednesday’s defence and – when he was expected to shoot – he crossed the ball to outside-left Dave Laing, who was standing unmarked in front of goal. To the horror of the Yeovil team and their supporters, the ball stuck in the mud between the two forwards and was then cleared. The crowd of 24,466 gave the Yeovil team a standing ovation at the end of the game and the Press was full of admiration for the way Yeovil had played.

There were amazing scenes in Yeovil for the replay the following Thursday afternoon, when the winners would earn the right to entertain Chester. All roads leading to Huish were choked with would-be spectators, thousands of people bringing their mid-day meals with them, and every inch of accommodation inside the ground was jam-packed long before the kick-off. Such were the scenes of enthusiasm that there might well have been a tragedy for, from the Queen Street end, came the ominous rending of timber and metal as the shelter sagged under the weight of spectators on top. Underneath were packed thousands of spectators powerless to move. Fortunately the police were able to clear the shelter without any serious injuries and it was discovered the roof had split from one end to the other!

The match was played on a heavy surface and Yeovil held Wednesday to 1-1 until well into the second half, when the visitors’ stamina turned out to be the deciding factor with Napier scoring the winning goal. The record crowd of 14,329 left the ground full of praises for Billy Kingdom and his team … and a BBC commentator said the Club should change its name to Yeovil & Peppers United as they were hot stuff!!

1939 – 1945: THE WAR PERIOD

Following their F.A. Cup heroics the previous season, Yeovil Petters opened the 1939/40 season at Huish with a 2-1 win over Barry Town. But the stormy clouds of war were gathering over the country and only two more matches were played before war was declared on 3rd September – at home to Cardiff City Reserves and, finally, away to Tunbridge Wells.

All league football suspended for two months before war-time football was introduced. The Southern League recommenced on 4th November with five teams in the Eastern Section and eight teams in the Western Section. Newport-based Lovell’s Athletic finished as champions with Yeovil in fourth place.

The last match played at Huish before the ground was handed over to the Ministry of War, to be used as an ammunition dump, was against Lovell’s, whom Yeovil defeated by three goals to one.

The player’s contracts were terminated, the ground was valued, the telephone was cut off and the shutters came down on Huish. After the war office moved out Huish was then taken over by the American Army who offered to level the pitch if they could use the ground to play baseball. Their offer was not taken up.

During the war years, when the manager Billy Kingdom and many past and present Yeovil players distinguished themselves in the service of the country on land, at sea and in the air, it was strange in Yeovil on Saturday afternoons not to find crowds of good-humoured, jostling people eagerly converging on Huish.

However, the local Police XI combined with several of the old Yeovil team still living in the town in an effort to partially satisfy the sports starved local community.

Among the fixtures were quire lively games against Exeter City and Devonport Torpedo Works, whose star turn was billed as Arsenal’s England international, Eddie Bowden. Unfortunately, he couldn’t play due to injury, but he did hobble out to the centre circle to kick off.

Then, on Boxing Day, Yeovil were to play a very strong Exmouth Marines side. Crowds of people rolled into Huish but, an hour after the scheduled start, there was still no sign of the visitors. People began to get angry, so the management tactfully gave their patrons free tickets for the next home friendly. ‘Phone calls were made, but to no avail … the Marines had set out in plenty of time but nothing else was known. The crowd thinned; just a few optimists stayed on. A few sang Christmas carols; others swore. Then, around the bend by Douglas Seaton’s, came a military lorry. The eleven occupants, who had obviously carried the festive spirit a little too far, tumbled out the back and – after virtually incoherent apologies – took the field to lose to Yeovil in a farcical game by nine goals to nil.

SEASON 1945-1946

Within a few days of the end of the War in Europe, the acting secretary of the Southern League, Mr. Hodgson, sent out a letter to all clubs asking their views on restarting league football in the 1945/46 season. The idea was that, for the first season, “two sections (Eastern and Western) would be formed in order to overcome the worst of the travelling difficulties. But many clubs were unable to return so quickly to post-war football and eventually one section of eleven clubs was formed. Yeovil’s first game after the war was at Home to Swindon Town Reserves on 25th August 1945, losing 0-3.

Billy Kingdom had returned as manager and his team included a number of outstanding ‘guest’ players from Houndstone Camp. The Southern League Cup was played in two sections, the two league winners playing off for the Trophy. Yeovil finished second to Worcester City in their section. In the F.A. Cup, the club was unable to play ‘guest’ players. Bristol City provided the opposition, the first leg finishing 2-2 at Huish, attendance 7,690, with City winning the second leg 3-0 at Ashton Gate before 13,500 spectators.

At the end of the season, Billy Kingdom retired from the game to take over licensed premises at Weymouth. He found it impossible to hang up his boots, however, and nobody played a bigger part than he in Weymouth’s revival that saw them promoted to the First Division of the Western League.

Results from 1945/46 Season


PART THIRTEEN – 1948 – 1949:  1/3 – THE 1948/49 SEASON BEGINS


PART FIFTEEN – 1948 – 1949: 3/3 – AND SO TO MAINE ROAD!