Tag Archives: Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town 0-3 Doncaster Rovers: 250 word match report

Remember when we feared Yeovil? Bogey team. ‘We always lose to Yeovil’. No more. Four games, four wins. Thirteen goals to one. It’d be lovely to play them every week; that is if they were decidedly nearer and didn’t regularly pitch up at our place in the worst away kits ever conceived. Continue reading Yeovil Town 0-3 Doncaster Rovers: 250 word match report

Doncaster Rovers 4-1 Yeovil Town: 250 word match report

‘Past his sell-by date’ and ‘living off his reputation for far too long;’ just a couple of early season observations of James Coppinger that were blown out the water against Yeovil. On his 498th appearance the club captain delivered a vintage performance to spur Rovers on to a third successive win. Continue reading Doncaster Rovers 4-1 Yeovil Town: 250 word match report

Where Are They Now? Doncaster Rovers’ Conference Opponents

Amongst all the off-field wrangling and boardroom posturing it may have actually escaped your notice that Rovers have a match tonight. And not just any match either as we host our bogey team Yeovil Town in front of Sky’s many cameras allowing viewers across the nation to watch us to capitulate to a solitary strike late in the first half. This isn’t the first time Rovers have hosted The Glovers live on television though; ten years ago a Conference match between the two teams met at Belle Vue was also broadcast live by Murdoch’s satellite conglomerate.

Yeovil, celebrating a league title secured by Chester’s draw with Woking earlier that afternoon, went on to win 4-0 in that last televised fixture, but much has changed in the decade since. Via the play-offs Rovers also went up that season and the two sides have continued to grow, to the point where tonight they will meet in a fourth different division in a decade. But whilst Yeovil have followed the Rovers up to the second tier, what became of the 35 other teams Rovers came up against in Conference fixtures? As you’ll see from our round-up below, the incredible truth is that a quarter of them no longer exist.

Altrincham Crest

ALTRINCHAM

NOW: Conference North (6th Tier)

Altrincham have yo-yoed between the top two divisions of non-league for the last fifteen years and met Rovers for just one of those; 1999-2000. Reprieved from relegation from the Conference for three successive seasons between 2005 and 2008 due to other sides financial misdemeanours, they eventually dropped to the Conference North in 2011.

 

Barnet crest

BARNET

NOW: Conference Premier (5th Tier)

Barnet dropped into the Conference for Rovers’ final two seasons in non-league, but had return to the fourth tier by 2005. Having maintained their league status on the final day of the season for three successive campaigns the Bees were eventually relegated at the end of last season under the management of Edgar Davids. Having left Underhill, their home for over 100 years at the end of last season the club now play at The Hive in Edgware.

 

Barrow AFC crest

BARROW AFC

NOW: Conference North (6th Tier)

Thrown out of the Conference in 1999 Barrow worked their way up from the Northern Premier League to return to non-league’s top division in 2008. Despite an impressive Cup run that saw them backed by 7,000 fans at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium Barrow couldn’t quite replicate form in the league and were relegated to the Conference North at the end of last season.

 

Boston United crest

BOSTON UNITED

NOW: Conference North (6th Tier)

After their murky promotion to the Football League under Steve Evans in 2002, Boston lasted five years as a League club before relegation in 2007. Having been entered onto a Company Voluntary Arrangement just before their final game of that season, The Pilgrims were relegated not to the Conference, but the Conference North. At the end of 2007-08, with the club still in a CVA they were demoted another division to the Northern Premier League.  They returned to the Conference North in 2010.

 

Burton Albion crest

BURTON ALBION

NOW: League Two (4th Tier)

Conference opponents for only our final season in non-league Burton continued their upward progression by winning the Conference title in 2009. After three seasons spent in the bottom half of League Two Burton finished last season in 4th place, but were beaten by Bradford City in the play-off semi-finals.

 

Cheltenham Town crest

CHELTENHAM TOWN

NOW: League Two (4th Tier)

Another side who Rovers faced in only one non-league season, The Robins won the Conference title in 1999 to progress to league football. Since becoming a Football League side Cheltenham have had two spells in the third tier, the first of which was infamously prolonged when The Robins defeated Rovers on the final day of the 2007-08 season to salvage their place in League One and deny Rovers automatic promotion to the Championship.

 

Chester City crest

CHESTER CITY

NOW: Dissolved (Reformed as Chester FC, in Conference Premier (5th Tier)

Beaten by Rovers in the 2003 Conference play-offs, Chester regrouped to win promotion back to the Football League in 2003. After a number of seasons of struggle Chester City were relegated back to non-league in 2008 and entered administration shortly after. Things did not improve and the club were back in administration again in 2009, and a subsequent season beset with troubles and mismanagement came to a head in February 2010 when the club failed to fulfil a fixture at Forest Green. The club were duly expelled from the league and dissolved. In their place came the supporter-owned Chester FC who began life in the Northern Premier League in 2010 and following three successive title wins are now back in the Conference Premier.

 

Dagenham & Redbridge crest

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE

NOW: League Two (4th Tier)

After being pipped to the title by Boston in 2002 and then beaten in the play-off final by Rovers in 2003, Dagenham had to wait until 2007 before finally making it to the Football League. Victory over Rotherham in the 2010 play-off final took the Daggers to the third tier, but their time here lasted just one season and they were relegated back to League Two in 2011.

 

Dover Athletic crest

DOVER ATHLETIC

NOW: Conference South (6th Tier)

Relegated from the Conference in 2002, Dover found themselves in the seventh tier Isthmian League after the reorganisation of non-league in 2004. They dropped a further level in 2005, and almost ceased to exist in January that year before a consortium led by former director Jim Parmenter saved the club and wiped out an existing CVA. Successive promotions in 2009 and 2010 have lifted the club to the Conference South.

 

Farnborough Town crest

FARNBOROUGH TOWN

NOW: Dissolved (reformed as Farnborough FC, in Conference South (6th Tier)

Relegated in Rovers’ first Conference season Farnborough Town returned for Doncaster’s final two years as a non-league team. After dropping to the Conference South in 2005 the club hit financial difficulties and entered administration in 2007, befor being dissolved that summer. Phoenix club Farnborough FC were established in Southern League Division one, and the reformed club have since won two titles to reach the Conference South again.

 

Forest Green Rovers crest

FOREST GREEN ROVERS

NOW: Conference Premier (5th Tier)

FGR arrived in the Conference at the same time as Rovers, and there is something pleasing in knowning that the only team to have been ever present in the fifth tier since. Tipped for relegation in most of their fifteen seasons at the top level of non-league, they looked to have finally succumbed to the drop in 2010, but Salisbury City’s financial misdemeanours saved them at the eleventh hour. Now owned by green energy tycoon Dale Vince the club infamously don’t sell red meat at their New Lawn home and have installed solar panels on their roof and the world’s first organic pitch.

 

Gravesend & Northfleet crest

GRAVESEND & NORTHFLEET

NOW: Conference South (6th Tier) (renamed as Ebbsfleet United)

Renamed as Ebbsfleet United in 2007 the club were taken over by MyFootballClub later that year in which members to the MyFC website had a say on Ebbsfleet’s transfers and player selection. The club were relegated to the Conference South in 2010 where they remain, though in April this year MyFC’s remaining members (membership had dropped from 32,000 to under 9,000) voted to hand over two thirds of their shares to the Fleet Trust.

 

Halifax Town crest

HALIFAX TOWN

NOW: Dissolved (reformed as FC Halifax Town, in Conference Premier (5th Tier)

Following their relegation from the Football League The Shaymen met Rovers in the Conference during the 2002-03 season.  In 2007, the club was placed into administration and though they avoided relegation they  failed to secure a CVA and were  wound up in 2008 more than £2million in the red. Though the Supporters’ Trust had led a breakaway group, the club was reformed by the same directors as FC Halifax Town and began afresh in the Northern Premier League Division one North in 2008. They were promoted back to the Conference Premier in the summer.

 

Hayes crest

HAYES

NOW: Dissolved (merged with Yeading United to form Hayes & Yeading United, Conference South (6th Tier)

Hayes were relegated in 2002 and in 2007 merged with Yeading United to form Hayes & Yeading United who continue to play in the Conference South. The new club left Hayes’ Church Road ground – scene of the infamous mid-match segregation of 2000 and subsequent snack-bar related sing-a-long  – in 2011, with the stadium demolished for housing soon after. Whilst Yeading United’s old ground is refurbished the club have been ground-sharing with Woking in front of understandably meagre crowds.

 

Hednesford Town crest

HEDNESFORD TOWN

NOW: Conference North (6th Tier)

Relegated from the Conference in 2001, Hednesford dropped further, falling into the seventh tier in 2006. Their geographical location has led to The Pitmen being shunted between the Northern and Southern Premier Leagues for the next six seasons before victory over FC United of Manchester in the 2013 play-offs saw Hednesford return to the Conference North.

 

Hereford United crest

HEREFORD UNITED

NOW: Conference Premier (5th Tier)

After three successive Conference play-off failures, Hereford eventually won promotion to the Football League in 2006 after defeating Halifax Town in the final. In 2008 the club finished third in League Two to secure promotion to League One though they lasted just one season in the third tier. Despite the best efforts of former Rovers’ Assistant Manager Richard O’Kelly, the Bulls dropped back to the Conference in 2012.

 

Kettering Town crest

KETTERING TOWN

NOW: Calor Southern League Division One Central (8th Tier)

Long-time Conference stalwarts Kettering Town soldiered on in the fifth tier until 2011-12. Hit by financial difficulties Kettering left their Rockingham Road ground, and saw it repossessed by bailiffs. Playing first at Rushden’s Nene Park and then at Corby Town’s Steel Park Ketetring struggled on the field too, the club announced they were unable to pay their players in November and were eventually relegated in a CVA agreement in 2012. Things did not improve the following season with The Poppies only able to field ten men in one game and having to forfeit a number of following games. The club are now based in Burton Latimer.

 

Kidderminster Harriers crest

KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS

NOW: Conference Premier (5th Tier)

The Harriers lifted the Conference title in 2000, but after five seasons in League Two they were back in the non-league top-flight by 2005 and have remained there since. Beset by financial difficulties in 2011, the Harriers’ Supporters Trust were instrumental in keeping the club afloat and now hold a seat on the board.

 

Kingstonian crest

KINGSTONIAN

NOW: Ryman Premier League (7th Tier)

The other red and white hoops, despite Ian Duerden’s cup heroics Kingstonian were relegated to the Isthmian League in 2001, before suffering further relegation to Isthmian Division One in 2005. Now sharing their Kingsmeadow home with AFC Wimbledon, who purchased the lease in 2003, the club are back at the seventh tier after winning Ryman League Division One South in 2009.

 

Leek Town crest

LEEK TOWN

NOW: Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South (8th Tier)

Rovers met Leek Town during the second of their only two seasons at non-league’s top table. Such was the Southern axis of the Conference in that season that Leek were considered Rovers ‘local opposition’ with The Blues defeating Rovers 1-0 at Belle Vue on Boxing Day 1998. I can still see David Penney’s late penalty cannoning back off the crossbar all the way back to halfway. Since leaving the Conference in 1999 Leek have remained in the Northern Premier League, shuffling between the division’s two tiers.

 

Leigh RMI crest

LEIGH R.M.I.

NOW: Dissolved (reformed as Leigh Genesis, South Lancashire Counties Football League (Sunday Football)

After five seasons in the Conference Leigh RMI fell to the Conference North in 2005, and dropped a further division to the Northern Premier League in 2008. In June that year the Club were renamed Leigh Genesis with plans to move the club to the 11,000 capacity Leigh Sports Village – an ambitious project for a club who had their crowd noise piped through speakers when Rovers visited in 2002. The ‘new-beginning’ failed to materialise and after two further relegations the club was dissolved in 2011. It has since been resurrected in Lancashire Sunday football.

 

Margate crest

MARGATE

NOW: Ryman Premier League (7th Tier)

The Gate reached the Conference for the first time in 2001, but having ground-shared with Dover Athletic from 2002 they were relegated in 2004 after failing to upgrade their own Hartsdown Park ground in sufficient time.  Now back at the palce they have called home since 1929, Margate remain in the Conference South.

 

Morecambe crest

MORECAMBE

NOW: League Two (4th Tier)

Under the guidance of Sammy McIlroy Morecambe won the Conference Play-Off Final to earn promotion to the Footbal League in 2007. Though they reached the League Two play-offs in their third season, they have remained at the fourth tier ever since, and moved to a new home at Globe Park in 2010.

 

Northwich Victoria crest

NORTHWICH VICTORIA

NOW: Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division North (8th Tier)

After going into administration the Vics were relegated from the Conference in 2005. Though they returned at the first attempt, a second spell in administration saw them relegated back to the sixth tier in 2009. With the club’s financial situation not improving they were further demoted to the Northern Premier League in 2010. Homeless following the sale of their Victoria Stadium, itself a replacement for the Drill Field which they left in 2005, Victoria were dropped a further division for financial issues in 2012. Though the Vics remain in operation in 2012 Northwich’s Supporters Trust formed a breakaway club 1874 Northwich who began life in the North West Counties League Division One (10th tier) this season.

 

Nuneaton Borough crest

NUNEATON BOROUGH

NOW: Dissolved (reformed as Nuneaton Town, Conference Premier (5th Tier)

Relegated from the Conference on the final day of the 2002-03 season, Nuneaton Borough continued in the sixth tier, but left their long-standing Manor Park Ground in 2007. A year later, having been forced into administration the club was dissolved, and reformed as Nuneaton Town, beginning life in the Southern League Division One Midlands. Now based at Liberty Way, the club reached the Conference Premier in 2012.

 

Rushden & Diamonds crest

RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS

NOW: Dissolved (reformed as AFC Rushden & Diamonds, United Counties League Premier Division (9th Tier)

Conference champions in 2001, Max Griggs’ play thing lost in the play-off final in their first season as a League club, before winning the League Two title in 2003. They lasted just one year in the third tier, and by 2006 were back in the Conference. By then Griggs had handed over control to the Supporters Trust, but in 2011 the club were expelled from the Conference Premier  due to their unstable financial position, and subsequently dissolved. In 2012 Supporters created a new phoenix club, AFC Rushden & Diamonds, in the United Counties League. Their impressive Nene Park stadium remains vacant and unused since Kettering’s brief tenure.

 

Scarborough FC crest

SCARBOROUGH

NOW: Dissolved (reformed as Scarborough Athletic, Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South (8th Tier)

Relegated by Jimmy Glass’ infamous goal in 1999 Scarborough were our main county rivals in the Conference. The 5-2 win at the McCain Stadium on Boxing Day 2002 remains one of my favourite ever games; it had everything except sadly a Christmas tree, after a Rovers fan was prevented from taking one through the turnstiles by staid stewards despite his protestations “but it’s the only game it’s relevant”. Sadly with four years of playing Rovers in front of 4,000 fans Scarborough were playing in front of a tenth of that figure at nearby Rossington Main. Dissolved at the end of one season in the Conference North in 2007, the club reformed as Scarborough Athletic in North East Counties League Divison One (football’s 10th tier) playing at Bridlington Town’s Queensgate after the demolition of the McCain Stadium. After winning the NCEL Premier title last season Athletic are now up to the 8th tier and have had further good news this month, with a new ground – as part of a sports village in Scarborough – approved by the council.

 

Southport FC crest

SOUTHPORT

NOW: Conference Premier (5th Tier)

Relgated to the Conference North in 2003, The Sandgroudners have yo-yoed between the fifth and sixth tiers ever since, enjoying a brief return to the Conference Premier under Dino Maamria in 2005. They have been back in the Premier since winning the Conference North title in 2010.

 

Stalybridge Celtic crest

STALYBRIDGE CELTIC

NOW: Conference North (6th Tier)

Celtic met Rovers just twice in the Conference, enjoying a solitary season in the non-league top flight in 2002-03. Founder members of the Conference North they have remained at the sixth tier for the last ten years.

Stevenage Borough crest

STEVENAGE BOROUGH

NOW: League One (3rd Tier) (renamed as Stevenage FC)

Conference mainstays Stevenage Borough won the division in 2010 to progress to the Football League for the first time. Once in the League they didn’t hang about with a play-off win over Torquay in 2011 securing a successive promotion to the third tier. Stevenage reached the play-offs again in their first season in League One but were beaten by Sheffield United in the semi-finals – a fate which prompted them to remove the Borough from their name in embarrassment.

 

Sutton United crest

SUTTON UNITED

NOW: Conference South (6th Tier)

Like Altrincham Sutton United were Rovers opponents in only the 1999-2000 season, having returned to the Isthmian League after just one season at non-league’s top table. Placed in the Conference South following its creation in 2004 Sutton were relegated to the Isthmian League again in 2007, but after lifting the 2011 title they are now back in the sixth tier.

Telford United crest

TELFORD UNITED

NOW: Dissolved (reformed as AFC Telford United, Conference North (6th Tier)

Founder members of the Conference in 1979 Telford United were wound up in 2004 after chairman 100% shareholder Andrew Shaw’s business empire went into administration. The Supporters’ Trust moved quick to establish a phoenix club with AFC Telford United beginning life in the Northern Premier League Division One. Still playing at Bucks Head AFC Telford United reached the Conference Premier in 2011, winning the Conference North play-offs at the third attempt.

 

Welling United crest

WELLING UNITED

NOW: Conference Premier (5th Tier)

Relegated from the Conference on the last day of the 1999-2000 season Welling became founder members of the Conference South in 2004 after finishing in the top half of the Southern Premier League. A fundraising drive by supporters in 2010 staved off a HMRC winding-up order to keep the club alive and at the end of last season they won the Conference South title to return to the fifth tier.

 

Woking crest

WOKING

NOW: Conference Premier (5th Tier)

The Cards remained in the Conference until 2009, when a calamitous season ended with them relegated to the Conference South. Now run by a Supporters’ Trust Woking returned to the Conference Premier ahead of last season after beating Dartford to the title.

 

Yeovil Town crest

YEOVIL TOWN

NOW: CHAMPIONSHIP (2nd Tier)

Last but definitely not least, the team it has been easiest to keep track off, not least because they keep bloody beating us. Champions in the year Rovers won the Conference play-offs, but had to wait a year longer than Doncaster to lift the League Two title. Beaten in the 2007 League One play-off final, The Glovers finally exorcised that demon last season to beat Brentford at Wembley and reach the second tier.

Glen Wilson

From the Archives: Great Things Gary Johnson Has Done

Earlier this week we were admonished on twitter by fanzine reader and Yeovil fan Seb White who was none too impressed with a reference in Issue 60 to the “hot air boasts” of Glovers manager Gary Johnson. There is, we replied, much more where that comes from; most notably a whole double page feature penned by our now editor of popular STAND from back in February 2004. So here is that very article, which initially appeared in issue 25 of the fanzine, where Glen Wilson celebrates Great Things Gary Johnson Has Done.

Great Things Gary Johnson Has Done

Back in mid-January The Observer carried an article about the current lack of English managers in football. Accompanying this piece was a table of ‘the highest rated English managers outside the top flight’, and amongst the eighteen names listed was that of Gary Johnson. Here is a man who has attracted a lot of attention recently, firstly for Yeovil’s promotion and secondly, as anyone who watched the BBC’s coverage of Yeovil versus Liverpool in the FA Cup 3rd round would have noticed, for Latvia’s qualification for Euro 2004.

Apparently, the current Yeovil boss got the Latvians to stop playing their ‘traditional Soviet way’ and instead encouraged them to play ‘the Gary Johnson way’ thus completely changing the fortunes of the Baltic nation. But just how much of an impact did Johnson make on Latvia? Well, I thought I’d check.

When Johnson took over in the summer of 1999 Latvia were sitting in third place in their Euro 2000 qualifying group. Johnson’s arrival had an instant effect… they finished fourth. However, Johnson would show his true worth when he took control of Latvia’s 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign from the start. Before returning to England in April 2001 the Londoner had guided Latvia to a fantastic fourth place in group 6, with four points earned through an away win and a home draw against noted football superpower San Marino.

A fantastic and successful two years, but obviously its harsh to judge Johnson’s reign solely on Latvia’s qualification record. Instead the best measure of his success surely comes through FIFA’s World rankings. Johnson it seemed helped to propel Latvia a whopping 39 places in FIFA’s pecking order as he expertly steered them from 55th, to 94th. The facts speak for themselves. What a man. How anyone can fail to give Gary Johnson full credit for Latvia’s qualification for Euro 2004 two years after he had left is beyond me. Always in awe of true genius at popular STAND we felt we should pay tribute to Johnson’s other achievements.

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest

Johnson’s influence on the rise of all things Latvian had already come to prominence in 2002, when he single-handedly took the Baltic nation to Eurovision glory. “Well when I got involved they weren’t having much luck, they had some talented individuals like, but y’know they were still trying to sing songs the Soviet way,” Johnson told the press. “However I had a look at things and I’d seen this girl Marija Naumova singing in a Gershwin tribute thing so I brought her in on a free and then got them to approach Eurovision the Gary Johnson Way and obviously its paid off”. Johnson claims to have also implemented the name change that saw Naumova compete in the contest as Marija N. “It were just a bit more catchy y’know and that’s the Gary Johnson Way,” said the Londoner who is also believed to have written Marija N’s song ‘I Wanna’. “It’s a great result for this country,” commented Johnson at the time, “and I’m glad to have been involved.”

Finding Saddam Hussein

Having abandoned their search for seemingly mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction (or ‘Colin Sutherland’s as we know them), the Allied forces in Iraq had instead resorted to playing a nine month long game of Hide and Seek with former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. With time fast approaching Saddam’s turn to count and still no sign of the dictator things were looking bleak for the British and American governments, that is, until Gary Johnson took control. “They’d been looking around for months with no luck, but they were still trying to do things the Army way. So I went in there, got the lads together, shook things up a bit and we started doing things the Gary Johnson way, or Operation Red Dawn as we called it,” Johnson told reporters. “Anyway, they took my new approach on board like and within a couple of days he’d turned up in a hole in the ground beneath a farm-house ten miles south of Tikrit. I was getting messages throughout the search about how things were going like, so it’s obviously a great result for the boys to be fair.”

Inventing the Internet

In the mid 1990s civilization took one giant leap forward as the world-wide web finally took off; the result of many decades of research, the Internet took communication to a new level. Many prominent figures tried to take credit for its invention, notably American politician Al Gore, however the man at the forefront of a technological revolution was none other than Yeovil manager Gary Johnson. “They’d spent decades on research towards the internet, but they’d got bogged down doing things the scientific way and to be honest it was time they took a new approach,” says Johnson. “So I went in there and got them working the Gary Johnson way and y’know the results speak for themselves. Obviously the information super highway is a great result for those lads, so I’m made up for them.”

Writing ‘Imagine’

At the start of the 1970s, as the Beatles went their separate ways, John Lennon was looking to write a song with real meaning. Suffering from writer’s block he was struggling to put pen to paper; Gary Johnson takes up the story. “He’d been in the group so long he was still trying to do things the Beatles Way and obviously it weren’t getting him anywhere, so I’ve gone over there and I’ve taken John aside and said obviously y’know, things aren’t working out here lets take stock and try a different approach. So then I’ve got him doing things the Gary Johnson way. We’ve brought in The Plastic Ono Band and those lads have done a great job, and then I come up with this concept of there being no heaven, y’know, above us only sky and we’ve just gone from there.”

Front cover of Issue 25 of the fanzine

Go Away! #2 Yeovil Town

Tell me more about Yeovil

Yeovil, short for ‘All Up In Yeovil’, is a town in Somerset, made infamous by its prevalent gang culture. For decades the town has been the setting of a prominent gang war between the Pen Mill Crew in the Eastside and the Westsiders from the Preston Plucknett Ghetto, making it the gun crime capital of the UK, and the go-to setting for many gritty urban films and video shoots. The original Grand Theft Auto video game used the town as its basis, and Yeovil has also been the setting for countless Spike Lee films.

What’s it famous for?

Gloves. Apparently a town can become prosperous on the back of making your hands warm, or given it’s gangster past, more likely, avoiding leaving prints on your fire-arms. However, Yeovil’s prominence in the world of glove means that to this day it remains a popular hang out for magicians and snooker referees alike. Up until his death in 2009 celebrated glove wearer Michael Jackson also often frequented Yeovil, indeed his 1975 hit ‘We’re Almost There’ was penned whilst waiting for a delayed connecting service to Yeovil Pen Mill.

How does one blend in?

Gloves. Stick on as many gloves as possible. Wear your jeans halfway down your arse, perfect your best gangsta roll and hang out near the Radio Shack on the corner of Franklin and 4th. You get me bro.

You’re Just a Small Town in…

Somerset. If you’re fond of accurate football songs then that’d be the ideal ending. Given the lack of large towns in this part of the South West then actual mock endings to the popular refrain are short in supply, so we suggest ending with ‘the grand scheme of things’.

What’s the Stadium like?

Yeovil’s Huish Park is the only ground in the England named after the noise a bus makes when it stops. A relatively modern football ground it was built in 1990, and is situated on the edge of town so visiting fans don’t get caught up in the town centre turf wars.

The modern-day Huish Park replaced Yeovil’s old Huish ground which gained notoriety for its famous sloping pitch, which would often give visiting goalkeepers altitude sickness, and was used in the close-season for Cheese-rolling contests. The site of the old Huish is now a Tesco Extra supermarket, where in certain aisles you don’t have to push the trolley, but it’s quite a long arduous slog back to the check-outs.

Away supporters are housed on the Copse Road terrace behind the left-hand goal, or the right-hand goal if you’re standing on the other side. The terrace is open to the elements, so make sure you’ve memorised the periodic table before setting off.

How do I get to the Stadium?

By Car.

I’m not a driver, so forgive these slightly vague directions. Head towards Birmingham, once you get there, go past it towards Bristol. Once you get there head south on the A37 to Yeovil. Just before Yeovil, take the 3rd exit on the roundabout for Thorne Lane and then keep going along there looking out the window for floodlights.

By Train

Yeovil has two train stations, only one of which, Pen Mill, is actually in Yeovil, so head towards that one. From the station you can get a number 68 bus into the centre of town if you dare, or you can take a taxi straight to the ground.

Lastly, any familiar faces in the Yeovil side?

James Hayter should be familiar enough, and if he’s not now, the inevitable goal he scores this afternoon should help jog your memory. Yep, that’s the fella. Also at Yeovil is ex-Rover Byron Webster, the  central defender having joined the Glovers in the summer after spending last season at Northampton Town. Manager Gary Johnson should also be familiar, he being the man who took the credit for everything any football club ever achieved in the early 2000s during his first spell at Huish Park.

Hayters Gonna Hate

James Hayter has gone. Released at the end of the season, he this week joined Yeovil Town amidst generally wistful clattering from Rovers fans; tweets and forum posts wishing him well and commenting on how he’ll always be remembered for THAT goal. Because James Hayter didn’t score a goal at Wembley against Leeds, he scored THAT goal. His place in Rovers’ folklore seemingly defined by randomly deployed capitalisation.

There are some footballers whose spell at one club, or perhaps even their entire career can be defined by a single goal. Roy Essendoh is one. Theo Streete another. Whatever else they have gone on to achieve in the professional – or in Theo’s case semi-professional – game, their respective careers peaked in one unexpected goal, an FA Cup Quarter-Final winner, the last goal at Belle Vue. James Hayter does not belong in this group. And so let us not wedge him ungraciously into the same pigeon-hole, because his five years at Rovers were far from a fleeting moment.

The chief issue I have with folk saying “he’ll always be remembered for THAT goal”, is that his play-off winner is only  third on my own list of goals to remember James Hayter by. When it comes to the play-off final, I remember the occasion and the significance before I remember the goal. Indeed, had I not watched it multiple times since then I’d have struggled to describe Hayter’s winner. I knew Stock crossed it, but only because it was a corner and Stock took corners, and I knew Hayter headed it home, but in the euphoria of reaching the second tier I’d have been hard pressed to have offered any greater detail than that. No, instead I remember two other Hayter goals with more fondness and much greater clarity.

I have only ever seen one bicycle kick scored by a Rovers player; James Hayter scored it. At home and struggling to break down the League leaders Leyton Orient in November 2007, Sean O’Driscoll threw on Jason Price at the break and Rovers romped home to a glorious 4-2 victory. Hayter’s goal put Rovers 3-2 ahead; a scramble in the South Stand penalty area saw Paul Green drill a shot goalwards, it bounced back off the Orient ‘keeper and in a split second Hayter managed to react to execute a perfect overhead bicycle-kick to send the ball into the roof of the net. It’s perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing overhead you’ll ever see, and it’s scored from just four yards out, but the speed of reaction to recognise the opportunity and then execute the volley perfectly is genuinely stunning, and perhaps encapsulates Hayter’s opportunism as a forward. Before Billy Sharp arrived he was our opportune fox in the box, with an intelligence to find a half second or half chance, and the strength and composure to turn that into a goal.

I have never seen a braver player than James Hayter in a Rovers shirt. I have seen harder men (Colin Sutherland), I have seen players who displayed significant physicality (Mark Albrighton, Darren Moore), but there have been none braver than Hayter. He will throw his head at absolutely anything; awkward bouncing balls in a penalty area that you’d struggle to get a toe at, become, in the eyes of James Hayter and he alone, heading opportunities.

The standard line amongst our group in the stands should Hayter ever miss the target with his feet is “He should have put his head on it”, and it’s often meant with greater sincerity than we perhaps let on. He is capable of the sort of headers only previously scored in comic strips; thunderous, unstoppable, flying horizontally to meet the ball, Exocets beyond the capability or even the comprehension of us mere mortals. His finest demonstration of this skill came not at Wembley, but at Victoria Park. Rovers broke forward, from the right edge of the area James Coppinger stood up a cross, and Hayter, charging at full-speed somehow made up ten yards during his flight to hurl himself inhumanely at the ball. No care for the looming boot of the Hartlepool centre-half, all that existed in Hayter’s mind was his head, a football and a goal. No other Rovers player in my time watching could have scored that goal.

In five years with Rovers Hayter was rarely the main man, the majority of his 170 appearances coming in the shadows of Paul Heffernan or Billy Sharp, but when given half a chance, be it in the box, or in the team, he rarely failed to deliver. He brought determination, an intensity, and as mentioned, bravery which we would truly have struggled to find in any other Championship striker over the past four years, all assets which helped him become the first Rovers player to pick up the second tier Player of the Month Award in November 2010.

Perhaps now was the right time for Hayter to move on, time for a new challenge, time to be closer to family, and so I join those in wishing James Hayter well for the future. But remember that Yeovil have signed a thirty-three year-old striker rather than a four-year-old goal, and so let us not define five years of commitment and service by a single header, no matter how satisfying or well taken. Hayter may have scored THAT goal, but he gave Rovers much, much more.

The two personal Hayter highlights I’ve picked out above can be found in the video below; his bicycle-kick against Leyton Orient 33 seconds in, and his Roy-of-the-Rovers-esque diving header against Hartlepool after 1min 23 seconds.