THE GLOVERS, DON T FIT

SHERI­DAN ROBINS looks at the fall from grace of her beloved Yeovil Town over the last couple of years and asks whether the highs were worth the lows…

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - YEOVIL TOWN -

SUP­PORT­ING a foot­ball club en­graves both eu­phoric and dev­as­tat­ing mo­ments into your mem­ory. But would any­one sac­ri­fice the ec­stasy in or­der to avoid the dark days? Many would say: “Of course not.” How­ever,Yeovil Town have suf­fered such a mon­u­men­tal fall from grace af­ter be­com­ing the fairy­tale story less than three years ago that it’s some­thing I’ve of­ten thought about.

“Ten years ago Yeovil Town were play­ing in the Con­fer­ence – next sea­son they will be play­ing in the Cham­pi­onship.”

Those were the words that the Sky com­men­ta­tors ut­tered as the Glovers se­cured pro­mo­tion af­ter a 2-1 Wem­b­ley win over Brent­ford in 2013.

This was an achieve­ment that was ad­mired by many and shocked even more due to the lack of funds at Huish Park.

The fol­low­ing sea­son was, ad­mit­tedly, dis­ap­point­ing. We fin­ished bot­tom, seven points from safety, but no one was too sur­prised tak­ing into ac­count the size of the clubs we were up against.

Yeovil even cel­e­brated their Cham­pi­onship jour­ney when they of­fi­cially went down, at Brighton, live on Sky Sports.

Cel­e­brat­ing drop­ping a di­vi­sion may seem alien but “Lit­tle Old Yeovil” won hearts and went down with pride.

Yet now the Glovers are the butt of jokes, sit­ting pre­car­i­ously in the depths of League Two.

Cyn­ics will say that suc­cess comes at a price and had they not reached the Cham­pi­onship, they may still be a com­pe­tent League One side.

So why is it so hard to get back to win­ning ways?

Man­agers, play­ers and fans’ at­ti­tudes no doubt play a part but so too do fi­nances and ex­pec­ta­tion.

The foot­ball world is full of clichés. Per­sonal favourites in­clude: “a game of two halves”, “goals change games”, “con­fi­dence is key”. But there is an el­e­ment of truth in all of th­ese no­tions, es­pe­cially the last one.

As I write this in early Novem­ber,Yeovil have won just 20 league games in two-and-abit sea­sons. The play­ers have for­got­ten what win bonuses are, con­fi­dence has drained away.

The man­ager has changed. Fol­low­ing Gary John­son’s sack­ing, new gaffer Paul Stur­rock re­cruited 19 new play­ers for League Two so a los­ing men­tal­ity clearly edges deeper than per­son­nel.

The fear of the next rel­e­ga­tion will haunt Yeovil Town deeply as they boast a ground with a 9,000 ca­pac­ity and have spent 13 years in the Foot­ball League fol­low­ing a 108-year history out of it.

With just 3,000 fans making their way to South Som­er­set each week in League Two, it is un­likely the sup­port would in­crease, or even stay the same, if they were to face the drop this sea­son to com­plete the most un­wanted hat-trick.

Let’s face it, we’re still get­ting used to be­ing back in the Foot­ball League’s base­ment. A trip to the King Power Sta­dium of an evening has been quickly re­placed by a Tues­day night 552-mile round trip to Ac­cring­ton.

The stark re­al­ity of a los­ing men­tal­ity has hit Yeovil as hard as that 6ft 5ins cen­tre-back that fouls your star striker and puts him out for four to six weeks.

How­ever, is it bet­ter to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Mem­o­ries may fade but are, cru­cially, still there.

With YouTube, Twit­ter and Face­book, re-liv­ing those pre­cious mo­ments is just a search for “Yeovil Town play-offs” away.

Fans of AFC Bournemouth may read this and re­mem­ber their own dark days, and re­as­sure ev­ery foot­ball fan that it does get bet­ter as they set­tle into the Premier League. This would have been unimag­in­able just a few years ago as they faced bank­ruptcy.

We can­not all be as lucky as Cher­ries fans but we can all be op­ti­mistic for no other rea­son apart from the fact that it is our team.

And, you know what, de­spite all the mis­ery we’ve suf­fered over the last couple of years, I’d still take the ad­ven­ture that we had over mud­dling along in mid-ta­ble.

The lows may be very low, but we had some great highs – and, as a fan, you al­ways be­lieve there are more to come.

Now if we could just learn how to de­fend cor­ners…

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