1949 – 1950: THE END OF THE ALEC STOCK ERA
The 1949-50 season saw the gradual break-up of the team that captured the country’s hearts with their F.A. Cup exploits the previous season.
Early in the season Alec Stock moved to take up the reigns at Leyton Orient (going on to become arguably one of the most successful managers in post-war football). Centre forward Eric Bryant moved to Plymouth Argyle for a fee of £2,750 and – by the end of the campaign – Les Blizzard, Nick Collins, Keith Francis and Ken Whitlock had all joined Alec Stock in London’s East End.
Appointed to take Stock’s place as Player-Manager in October 1949 was George Patterson. Patterson, a half back, was a Master of Arts and came to the club from Brentford.
New faces in the playing squad during the season included goalkeeper Turner from Swansea Town, full back Don Haines and his brother Mervin, a forward, both from Bournemouth, Albert Faulds and Cliff Mansley came from Chester and Joe Rae from Celtic. In addition to these a number of promising local players were taken on.
Yeovil Town started the season with a real bang, defeating visitors Kidderminster Harriers 8-0. In fact, they scored a further 13 goals in the next three Southern League games. Later in the season they demolished struggling Chingford 9-0, the irony being that, at that time, Chingford
were in dire financial straits and the cost of their coach was met by Yeovil – what a good investment!!
Yeovil were exempt until the First Round Proper in the F.A. Cup, where they received a home draw against Romford – beaten finalists in the 1948 F.A. Amateur Cup – for the second season in succession. A crowd of 11,878 saw goals from Ray Wright, Cliff Mansley and Albert Faulds (2) put Yeovil into the Second Round with a 4-1 win. Drawn at home against current Southern League champions, Gillingham (destined to return to the Football League the following season) the same three players scored again to give Yeovil a 3-1 win in front of 13,034 spectators.
So Yeovil had reached the Third Round of the competition for the second season succession, but this time they had to travel to Chesterfield – then a good Second Division team. Yeovil were no match for the Derbyshire side, losing 3-1 before 24,288 people. Town’s goal came from a Cliff Mansley penalty just before half time.
The Yeovil team that day was Dickie Dyke, Arthur Hickman, Ralph Davis, Don Haines, Les Blizzard, George Patterson, Joe Rae, Cliff Mansley, Albert Faulds, Ray Wright and Bobby Hamilton.
The matchday programme in the 1949-50 season cost 2d and consisted of twelve pages. The advertisers included the Green Lantern Restaurant, Sheppard’s Travelling Shops, The Comfy Hire Car Service, Lock’s Garden Seeds, .Seabright’s Pen Mill Steam Bakery and Harry Hebditch Ltd. (Hebditch’s ‘Marvel’ Henhouse).
Southern League Cup Winners the previous season, Yeovil did not defend the trophy very well. They went out of the competition in the preliminary round losing 3-0 at Gloucester City. However, Yeovil finished in a creditable third position in the League, scoring 104 goals. Merthyr Tydfil, with 143 goals, won the first of their three successive championships.
An extensive ground improvement scheme was put into operation in 1949. Over the next five years the top bank of clinkers, earth and railway sleepers was removed and a concrete terrace was installed. This work continued to the Brutton’s End and the covering at the Queen St. End was removed and then that terrace was concreted. The final part of this project was to cover the North Terrace. The cost of this massive ground improvement was in excess of
£5,000. To provide this money a appeal was made to the traders of the town and a special fund, known as the Ground Development Fund, was set up. The future looked promising and nobody could have predicted the barren spell that was about to fall upon the club on the playing field.