The elevation of Yeovil to the Championship today marks a new high water mark for the benefits of ending the old re-election system in favour of automatic promotion between League and non-League. Not since Wimbledon and Wigan gained League status in the late 70s has a club from traditional semi pro ranks made it as high as the second tier. Part of me therefore wants to celebrate. A larger part of me (the bitter 98%) wants to say BLOODY HELL WE USED TO PLAY THEM.
It really doesn’t seem that long ago that Yeovil were a yo yo club between Conference and the division below. They were generally good for at least 4 points a season, never travelling very well and being vulnerable at home. Three seasons running we won at their place without conceding a goal, spanning their move to from the old Huish with its famous slope to the New Huish and its comatose crowds. In those days there was a cheesy magazine called Team Talk co-produced by an ex Poppies programme editor and not an issue went by without a lavish photo feature on Yeovil or a gushing profile of whatever deadbeat was their current manager. This wurzel-centric view was perhaps explained by the fact that the mag was based just up the road from Yeovil, but no one cared – Yeovil weren’t a threat to anyone apart from the occasional lower division League side they ritually knocked out of the cup every few years.
Then Yeovil made what may have seemed a risky decision to appoint someone whose CV boasted international experience with Latvia but before that an undistinguished spell in charge of us. We’d like to say now that we always saw the potential in Gary Johnson. We’d like to say that, but truthfully we thought he was a busted Benny the Ball lookalike who would never manage more than a youth team again. The first Patgod after his sacking painted a picture of him sitting alone in his living room, cracking the seal on another bottle of scotch. But fair play to him, he has managed to reinvent himself as some sort of Shankly of the HTV West region. Take him out of Deliverance country and he flounders, but so long as he’s surrounded by rosy cheeked Zummerset farmers, cider and haystacks his mojo is intact. Much like Trescothick, but without the tearful episodes at airports.
So next season Yeovil will host QPR, Derby et al. Meanwhile we look forward to trips to Dibley Rangers, Chigley Athletic and Trumpton Rovers. But it’s ok, that’s football. All part of the rollercoaster of clubs rising whilst others fall. Now where’s that bottle of scotch?
Cheer up Gary you're going up again
(it can't just be me surely?)