It will be all white on the night. 1890-91

The summer of 1890 passed quietly in Yeovil, many of the players names cropped up in the cricket pages for teams such as Western Chronicle and Preston. The Yeovil annual flower show also having representation by the odd player with entrants of their flowers and vegetables.

Soon the sun was heading away and winter was upon them, that could only mean one thing, football but firstly the Yeovil football club AGM, which was duly announced in the local press to be held at Mr Maynard's residence in High St.  It was actually held in his successful restaurant which he had had extended, obviously with forty or more arriving for an AGM at his premises, it was a lucrative gig!

All gathered on the 20th September 1889, to hear that the club had financially done rather well and reported a profit of £15, News greeted with enthusiastic applause  from all around the room. Yet, trouble was amidst, referring back to the the previous regime it appeared that even with promises they had not come forward and paid the £17 debt, that still hung over the club.

The chairman Mr Bradford was urged to name the dastardly debters, he refused however commented that the three Gentleman would never have anything to do with Yeovil football club again. Although, checking back on the previous incumbents it doesn't take much detective work and deduction to realise who the miscreants  were. It was decided to pay part of the debt with £7, 10 shillings from the profit to half the amount owing. 

Also, the Presidency changed hands with the fantastically named Mr George Troyte-Bullock taken over. Now it would take me an eternity to write about his life, so if you wish to learn more about him, please click Here

I will say though that he was connected to the Plantagenet Royal line and through a Royal decree changed his name to George Troyte Chafyn-Grove in 1890.

George Troyte-Bullock 1829-1913

George's grave in East Coker 

Maybe the real surprise was that the kit was chosen as all white, not a bit of green anywhere. 

How Yeovil's kit would have looked like in 1890.

With all that sorted, and after a practice match that called for any new players, Yeovil returned to action at West Hendford on the 5th October 1889 against Kingston School.

Few spectators attended on a cold wet day, although one can imagine the sight of another Yeovil v Kingston School game, hardly wetted their appetite. After being 2-0 up, Kingston came back to equalise only for Yeovil to score two late goals both by Mr. Higdon to win 4-2.

The team for the first game of the 1890-91 campaign was :} 

Petter, Pyne, Fred Bond, Jones, Palmer, William Bond, Corps, Herbert Higdon, H. Arnold, J. Arnold, Walker. 

Interesting to see one of the Petter's family in goal for Yeovil, a name that would have a major influence on the club later, first through rivalry then by an amalgamation. 

Herbert Higdon, scorer of the late goals, was nineteen years old, a keen sportsman who later opened a plumbing and electric shop in the town, with a blacksmith behind it, you had to walk your horse through his shop to have it shod He was also heavily involved in local politics. He died in 1956 aged eighty-six. 

Herbert Higdon died in 1956

 Two weeks later, Yeovil travelled over the hill to Sherborne in a match against Fosters School (Past and Present), Yeovil not particularly happy about the pupils rough tactics and were happy to return home all in one piece and a 0-0 draw. Games against Glastonbury and Street came and went, both seeing heavy defeats, both teams being seen as the top of the tree in Somerset when it came to association football.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town a new side had started up, Yeovil Juniors. Nothing unusual about this, new sides were starting up all over the town. However what was significant was the location of their pitch,, Sherborne Road, a pitch that in 1895 was to become the grandly name Pen Mill Athletics Stadium and Yeovil's home stadium until 1920.

Just before the Christmas festivities, Yeovil made their first visit to Bridport on the 20th December for a match that probably could best go down as being described as a comedy farce. The match was due for a 2.30pm kick off, however through train delays, the team didn't arrive at Bridport Station until 4.00pm. Enquiring to directions to the pitch, they were informed it was a mile away. They ran!

Arriving, panting and exhausted at just before 5.00pm the light was already fading quickly. Yet, a good crowd of spectators had waited around patiently and paid their threepence. So it was decided a match had to be played, and played it was, in the dark! Yeovil lost 5-0, with two own goals being scored by a Yeovil full back who complained he could not see in which direction he was playing.

Interestingly, turning out for Bridport  that day were the Ducat brothers who had played for a Yeovil the previous season and  had also played for Crewkerne Grammer school. It's worth noting in the days before registration, players were free to turn out for any team and at any time they wanted. Certainly a case of have boots will travel! 

Much dissatisfaction was thrown towards Sherborne when they sent a telegram, postponing a match, to Mr G. Corps the Town's a postmaster, who also on occasional Saturdays doubled-up as Yeovil's centre forward. A disgruntled fan, calling himself 'Yeovilian' vented his anger with a strongly worded letter to the Gazette:

"A  football match, Yeovil versus Sherborne, was to have been played at Yeovil on Saturday next, but Sherborne wrote on Wednesday saying that they could not get a team. Last week the Sherborne Ciub also failed to put out a team against Kingston School on their own ground. I think the sooner Sherborne gives up arranging games the better for all of us"

Obviously Sherborne, duly chastised  took note and  arrived at West Hendford a week or so later to bore out a 0-0 draw, a match that saw the Seymour Brothers appear for Sherborne, a pair that a few seasons later would be appearing for Yeovil, becoming crowd favourites at Pen Mill.

Glastonbury, was visited in the snow, minus three of the best players  , a 2-1 defeat doing nothing to warm them up. Bridport, minus train delays arrived on time for a return match at West Hendford,, Yeovil administering a 4-0 defeat to them in revenge for the fiasco earlier in the season.

Before long, it was time to wind things up on the pitch for another season, a season that had seen more highs than lows - Bridport apart!

Sherborne, again visited West Hendford on the 15th May for the last game of the season. A match played in high winds that made kicking straight impossible, Sherborne taking the bragging rights into the summer with a 2-1

Season on the pitch duly finished, all headed to the Three Choughs Hotel, for the annual dinner at that end of April. Hon Secretary, E. W Petter, later to become Sir Ernest, presented a balance sheet of £8 which all seemed sufficiently favourable. Then the toast began, a toast to the County football club, a toast to Mr P. Colmer ( a member of the County Rugby team), a toast to the Rugby team, a toast to the  association team, a toast to committee members, a toast to the President, a toast to absent friends a toast to the Queen. All consumed with pride and spirit they slurred their way through God save the Queen and stumbled home at midnight !

Happy days!

* for more seasons and stories check the archive 


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