It’s the penultimate opposing views of the season and this time it’s two Yeovil fans who share their opinions…
About the fans
The two fans are Chris Sweet, Head of Digital at the Western Gazette and supporter Ben Barrett.
Chris – “I have been a fan for more than twenty years, first watching the Glovers with my Dad when Walsall visited in the FA Cup in the early 1990s. I was sports editor at the Western Gazette for three years, covering Yeovil Town for six.”
Ben – “I’ve been supporting Yeovil since about 1999 when a school trip organised my first trip to Huish Park, but my love was cemented and the bug was caught for good during the successful 2002 FA Trophy run which culminated in winning the non league cup at Villa Park. I’m now living in Leeds, I attend more away games than home ones but I still help with the media team down at Huish Park and the obsession continues from afar.”
How is your team faring this season?
Ironically, we’re bottom of the league, guaranteed to be relegated yet we’re probably playing the best stuff of the season…
Chris – “Relegation has been nothing other than a disaster. We all accepted League One would be tough after returning from the Championship, but expected so much better. Then-manager Gary Johnson convinced the board and fans a top six finish was realistic but it soon became apparent that it wasn’t.”
Ben – “Ironically, we’re bottom of the league, guaranteed to be relegated yet we’re probably playing the best stuff of the season – isn’t it always the way? Since Sturrock has arrived and taken over, it’s like a new lease of life has come over everyone at Huish Park and we’re starting to look like a side capable of mixing it with the big boys in the league… just all a bit too late.”
Where do you think you’ll finish?
Chris – “We’ll be lucky to finish anything other than rock bottom.”
Ben – “24th. Rock bottom. Wooden Spoon. That was easy!”
Who should we watch out for?
Chris – “Sam Foley. The midfielder was superb in our promotion season, largely overlooked in the Championship, but now back at the heart of Yeovil’s play. His attitude epitomises everything that supporters demand from the team but has sadly been sadly lacking elsewhere.”
Ben – “Team selection could be interesting, Sturrock has promised to give everyone a chance over the final few games. However, we’ve had a few players to consistently perform above the rest; Sam Foley, Stephen Arthurworrey and Kieffer Moore are the stars right now.”
What are your thoughts on your manager?
His biggest challenge will come in the summer when he has to build a squad…
Chris – “We’re looking forward to seeing how he does. Sturrock has made a strong start with some encouraging results, but his biggest challenge will come in the summer when he has to build a squad.”
Ben – “A breath of fresh air. He’s a calming influence and facing the plight and recovery of Yeovil Town with a smile on his face and the balls to make a big decision or two. I don’t mind admitting he wasn’t top of my ‘wanted’ list and described his appointment as ‘uninspiring’ but I’ve been impressed with everything he’s done so far.”
What are your thoughts on your board?
This summer is probably the litmus test for the board…
Chris – “The board has again infuriated fans this season. They arguably took too long to fire Gary Johnson, gave Terry Skiverton and Darren Way control of a sinking ship with the damage already done, and then demoted the pair again when it finally sunk in that there was no hope of a recovery. They have got a lot to do to restore faith among fans.”
Ben – “Ask me again at the begining of next season as this summer is probably the litmus test for the board. During a decade of success, errors from above can all be overlooked by the on field success, but now it comes to the front as questions are asked of how the club as a whole will turn things around. Announcing Sturrock as manager looks good (if a bit late to save the season) and the return of the academy and cheaper season tickets are great starts. We now look for supporter interaction, further advances in facilities – or at least concrete plans – as well as some ambition in player acquisition are top of the to-do list.”
Any views on Port Vale?
Chris – “It’s good to see them currently above that dreaded line. Williamson and Pope need little introduction to any League One supporter.”
Ben – “I’m jealous of your natural goal scorer, Tom Pope. That kind of player is exactly what we have needed this season. Other than that, I like the blend of youth and nous, Duffy (although banned) and Michael Brown can be perfect foils for the young whippersnappers around them.”
Any views or memories of people that have been involved with both teams?
The midfielder had lots of off-the-field issues, but was actually wasting a huge amount of on-the-field talent…
Chris – “Colin Pluck/Miles is always one that stands out. He’s a bit of a legend at Yeovil Town, with his no nonsense attitude and tough tackling making him a firm favourite as the Glovers climbed into the Football League.”
Ben – “Luke Rodgers! Signed for us, from you, back in 2008 and looked like just the type of player we needed at the time. Sadly, however, just six games and two goals later it was all over – he left at the end of the season and went on to partner Thierry Henry at New York Red Bulls. Of course, we’ve both had Gary Roberts too, the midfielder had lots of off-the-field issues, but was actually wasting a huge amount of on-the-field talent.”
What are your thoughts on the earlier game between the two sides?
Chris – “It was a sad sign of things to come. Yeovil were utterly dreadful on the day and were deserved losers. It also heralded the moment the fans started turning – that was the first time I had heard the travelling faithful calling for Johnson’s sacking.”
Ben – “I didn’t attend. Useless of me, I know, but it appears I wouldn’t have missed much. Tom Pope at the double, and my ‘Northern Glovers’ friends told me it never really got going from our point of view.”
A score prediction?
Chris – 1-1. “Williamson for Vale and Arthurworrey for Yeovil.”
Ben – “A 2-1 Yeovil win, Joel Grant and Byron Webster for us, Tom Pope for you late in the second half.”