1880 and the Committee.

If the first recorded match in the town was in 1863, what happened in the next seventeen years, with regards to Association football is anyone's guess.

However, roll forward to 1880 and a Yeovil football club was up and running, combining mainly rugby and association as an afterthought. For any fledging football fans at that time, it must have been very confusing as the sport of rugby was commonly labelled 'football'. An association match came with the very smallest  (a) next to the fixture to indicate its association rules in the local press. 

The Committee in 1880 were made up of various characters from the more upmarket society in the town. Some more inclined towards the rugger and some advocates of what we call today 'football'

Yeovil Football club committee in 1880 as announced in the Western Gazette 

The President in 1890 was W.H Mayo, a definite association man. He had played association football for his school (Bruton) and had obviously obtained a taste for it. Like Mr John Aldridge, the owner of Kingston school, in 1863, he was a big promoter of the game in Yeovil. In later years, Mr Mayo would form his own team playing friendlies in the area, under the guise of Mr W. H Mayo's X1. Interestingly his 'team' would comprise of players who would later play association for Yeovil.

In fact, in August 1885, Mr Mayo placed an advertisement in the local press calling for a meeting for those interested in starting a football team in the town. 

However, it would appear his meeting was not well attended. Unperturbed, a month later he was back again advertising and finally a meeting took place in September 1885. This time being better patronised, with the club to play 'under association rules, as well as rugby', meaning association was to be the main game. Although, after this meeting his club seems to have died a death without a  ball ever being kicked in anger. 

Returning to the 1880 committee meeting if Mr Mayo was an association man, then he had a good ally in Alfred Aldridge ( Hon sec and treasurer). Alfred was the son of John Aldridge, and had taken over the running of  the association game loving, Kingston school from his Father. In a few years Alfred would be a regular in defence for the association side.

Other committee members were :

Mr E.C Henning was part of the Henning family who had a brewery in the town which eventually went bankrupt, the family also owned the Pall Mall tavern.  He also on occasion played association football for Sherborne. Henning also represented Somerset at Rugby.

Mr William Tayner Maynard was the captain of the Rugby team, an all round sportsman who also played for the town cricket team. He was a committed baptist who arranged various sporting occasions for the children of the town. His business was in catering, owning Maynard's cafe and restaurant in Yeovil next to Tabernacle Lane opposite the Borough. Later in 1903 he would become the President of Yeovil Casuals.


Mr John Milborne was a prominent tailor in the town, his shop was in Princess Street, close to the Mermaid Hotel.

Mr John Raymond and his Brother were Glove manufacturers with their factory located in Vicarage St, they also owned extensive property. John later became the town's magistrate.

Mr John Tyte was a bank manager and also deputy chairman of the Athletics club. On occasion he would play rugby.

Mr E J Damen although not confirmed, is likely to be Mr Edmond Damen, three times mayor of Yeovil and a wealthy draper in High St, Yeovil . He was predominantly a rugby man, a county player and also a member of Dorchester Cricket club. However, Mr Damen also played in the first association match of Yeovil ever recorded.

On the  29th October 1880, a report appeared in the Western Gazette of a Yeovil side playing away to Dorset County school in Dorchester. It is the first report of a Yeovil match ever recorded - well, that has been found so far.

It didn't go well for Yeovil, they lost 9-0! With special mention of the performances of Damen and Newton, who could possibly have been Arthur Newton, a chemist and keen sportsman in the town and later President of Yeovil Casuals.

The first report of a Yeovil match under association rules in October 1880

The drumming did not seem to put off the Yeovil lads though, as a month later on the 20th November 1880 a return match was organised at Ram Park in Yeovil. Ram Park was a triangle shaped stretch of land that covered all the way from Clarence Street to Preston Road in Yeovil. Mainly used for the fencing of rams - hence the name. It was also used for sporting events and where previously the rugby team played and met once a week for training. It can also legitimately lay claim to be the first original ground of Yeovil football club, even before Hendford.

An ordanamce survey map showing Ram Park in 1889
The return match with Dorset County school fared a little better, losing by just 1-0. The report noting that the Yeovil players were 'Still getting used to Associated rules as they nearly always play rugby'

The team being, 

T. Maynard, goal-keeper: S.N. Walters and Yorke, backs; A. R. Aldridge, J. L. Aldridge, J. S. Aplin, S.R. Baskett (captain), Birch, C. Miller, Parry, and Pet(t)ers, forwards.

The first recorded home match at Ram Park, 20th November 1880.

So, in 1880, we have a football club, more inclined and used to rugby, however putting their toes in the bath to test the new association game. We also have a committee, that is littered with association loving members.  Things could only move forward for Yeovil football club, or could it?

Happy days.


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