A local sports journalist gives OVF viewers his opinion of how Yeovil will fare on their return to League One.
Thanks to Chris Sweet, Sports Editor at the Western Gazette Media.
1. Best player last season?
Joe Edwards. The former Bristol City youngster was Yeovil’s stand-out Championship player, featuring in every game in a number of positions. He played across the midfield as well as right back, proving his second tier quality with whole-hearted, committed and high-standard displays wherever required.
2. Highlight(s) of last season on the pitch?
Never in 20-plus years of following the Glovers would I have dreamed of Yeovil reaching the Championship, playing some of the country’s biggest clubs on a level competitive playing field…
It sounds a cliché, but the entire season was a highlight. Never in 20-plus years of following the Glovers would I have dreamed of Yeovil reaching the Championship, playing some of the country’s biggest clubs on a level competitive playing field. Away days at the likes of QPR and Wigan Athletic will live long in the memory, as well each monumental home victory.
3. Worst moment(s) of the season on the pitch?
Defeat to Middlesbrough in the final home game of the season. Relegation was not a shock, but it was disappointing to go down in the manner that panned out. Having battled so hard to give Yeovil a fighting chance of staying up entering the final two games, the Glovers’ performance in defeat to Boro was lacklustre to say the least. The fight, character and spirit so evident throughout the rest of the season was nowhere to be seen.
4. Sum up the season in a sentence or two?
Relegation came as no real surprise, but hardly sweetened the pill. But the Glovers can hold their heads high, having regularly battled and matched opposition that often had one player earning more than the entire Yeovil squad combined.
5. Your view on off-field affairs last season?
The 2013-14 season had to be a learning experience for Yeovil and those lessons must be put into use, rather than act as a nostalgic reminiscence on when ‘little old Yeovil battled the big guns’. Although no fault of the band members, the Viva Pitch girl band episode was an unnecessary and somewhat embarrassing distraction. You would hope that Yeovil’s off-field dynamic closed the gap on their on-field performances and only time will tell if that is the case.
6. What are your expectations for next season?
Fans want Yeovil to show the heart, passion and attacking desire synonymous with a Gary Johnson team. Ideally, a top half push for the play-offs would be great, but I expect most would be satisfied with a mid-table finish.
7. Where do the club need to strengthen on the pitch?
They’ve had to strengthen all over, such is the turnover of players. They have certainly achieved that, but doubts over where goals are coming from probably still linger from last season. The Glovers have a talented attacking group, although without James Hayter they lack experience.
8. If you could take one Port Vale player for next season who would it be?
Tom Pope – even more attacking firepower and someone with an eye for goal.
The Championship experience will not be wasted by those on the field and on the touchlines, and the same has to apply behind the scenes….
9. What do the club need to do off-field to improve?
Make sure that lessons from last season are learned. The Championship experience will not be wasted by those on the field and on the touchlines, and the same has to apply behind the scenes.
10. If you were granted one wish for next season, what would it be?
That Yeovil’s talented new group gels quickly and hits the ground running. A strong start can maintain the positive atmosphere around Huish Park currently.