Dr Colmer gives the club the kiss of life!

So, after 1880 and the matches with Dorset Schools, all was set for lift off. However, not alot seems to have happened in the next few years. This could, of course be simply that association football had not gripped the good citizens of Yeovil and matches went unreported in the press. 

A good indication of how things were going became apparent at the AGM of Yeovil Football club at the Three Choughs Hotel on the 5th October 1881. Which was so sparesly attended that not enough people were present to elect the committee members of the club. The meeting being adjourned to a week later in the hope of gaining enough interest 'for the desire of the club to continue' 

The Yeovil club's fortunes, were in stark contrast to those across the border in  Sherborne where they recorded a handsome profit and new members wishing to join. 

A week later, it seems that sufficient interest was shown and officers were duly elected although again, it seems that rugby would be the main sport with association football a side show. The Western Gazette printed the new Committee for 1880-81 (although printing the wrong year, it should have read 1881-82) , with just one change that of the Hon sec and treasurer, Mr H Birch, a promiment member of Yeovil Cricket club, replacing Mr John Aldridge. 

The following few years are not well documented, no reports of association matches for Yeovil football club appeared, however the rugby club continued playing in far flung places such as Bridgewater.

Although, as association was catching on with teams such as Sturminster Newton and Blandford having association sides it would appear strange if Yeovil, with a population of that time of 9000 did not have a club , although this was definitely the case in 1887 when the club played no matches of any description. In contrast, Kingston school were still playing regularly though at places such as Evershot and Fosters School (Sherborne). Kingston's side littered with players who would later play for the Yeovil town team, such as Squibb and Kynaston*

One thing that definitely was occuring was that the club were falling massively into debt, by the non-competing year of 1887 it was to the tune of £17, equivalent to £2000 in today's money. A clue as to why the club became in such sorrowful financial turmoil is given in a letter to the editor of Western Gazette dated, 14th October 1887. When the writer complained of members not paying their subscriptions even though those members were financially amongst the more prosperous in the town. The letter was embarrassingly responded to by Club Captain Mr. S Baskett, a week later explaining that Dr Colmer had called for a meeting and the hope ' that enough will attend to ensure the continuation of  who for many years had been such a good club' 

Letter to the Western Gazette editor dated 14th October 1887

It was decided by the then committee that they could not continue,which of course would leave the town without any rugby or association representation.

Step forward the wonderfully named Dr Ptolemy Samuel Henry Colmer. Dr Colmer was twice mayor of the town. A physician and surgeon by trade who on occasions would perform autopsies on pub kitchen tables, although this has to be said was not by choice but through the lack of facilities at the pre-NHS Yeovil hospital.

Dr Plotemy Colmer 
His parents were encarsed in Pentoville Prison in London for the murder of two women, killed by them in what can only best be described as backstreet abortions gone very awry. 

Dr Colmer was a popular man though and much loved amongst the town folk, apart that is from the ones he sentenced when he became the Town's magistrate. 

Not much is known about Colmer's sporting interest, however he did understand the need for sport, and especially the need of a football club, be it rugby or association in the town. 

In the week leading upto the 11th November 1887, Yeovilians were greeted in the town with placards declaring 'A meeting of Yeovil football club'. To be held at the Institution Hall and presided over by the Mayor, Dr Colmer. 

The meeting was moderately attended, with about forty turning up to hear Dr Colmer's ideas of going forward and continuing football in the town. The present committee were in attendance and by the end of the meeting had all committed to paying the debt but would not pay any incurred debt beyond the £17.

Colmer also saw an opportunity of amalgamating the East Coker football club, a club that his own son, also called Plotemy, played for, with Yeovil. Yeovil football keeping the name and East Coker chosen to be the practice pitch of the players once a week. A deal, although seeming very one sided, the East Coker delegate went away to discuss with club members. A discussion that obviously went well, as later East Coker readily agreed to give up their football club, and hand over their playing field once a week for Yeovil to practice on!

However the new club would not be in operation just yet, regular association football was still to come. However, Dr Colmer had succeeded in gaining interest and the continuation of the club, he ensured that the debt would be paid by the very people that incurred it.

Some man that Dr Colmer!

Happy days!

*on the 21st January 2003, we tragically lost one of our own Bryan Kynaston. A Yeovil fanatic, who bleed green and white. His humour is sorely missed on the terraces and in the bars of away day pubs.

Whilst researching this, the name of Kynaston as a Yeovil player back in the 1880s led me to a wry smile. I wish he was still around to tell him, he would have not stopped talking about it, inbetween spoofing for the next round.

Rest in peace my friend.

The one and only Bryan Kynaston. 


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