SEASON 1934-1935 : FIRST DIVISION LIVERPOOL COME TO HUISH IN THE F.A. CUP
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 Town, Torquay 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.