I love Weymouth!
In the early days of Yeovil Casuals, a rivalry was formed between clubs to the North. Teams such as Radstock and Midsomer Norton. Flirtations of rivalry were also made with Wells City who found any excuse to go running to the Somerset FA with an objection if the Casuals had the audacity to beat them.
Then there was Bridgwater after their infamous behaviour after the Casuals had won the Somerset Challenge Cup against them in 1899. Ending with the humiliation of Yeovil having to hand the cup back.
All these minor rivalries slowly died away after a few seasons. I doubt there is a Glovers fan alive that sees those teams as just a nice easy trip away on a Tuesday night in the Somerset Professional Cup.
One rivalry was a slow burner, it smoked away for a few years until fans on both sides readily accepted 'we hate them, they hate us'.
Now, let me say this from the off. I love Weymouth, great sandy beach, nice se although I once swam head first into a full nappy there , great old tradional pubs, easy distance for a nice day out. Even as a child some of my fondest memories apart being at Huish is having lovely caravan holidays at Bowleaze Cove.
However, even on those wonderful holidays, it was there lurking like Dracula's Castle sitting on top of a beautiful snow capped mountain! Taking a pedalo ride on the Swannery, you could see it in the distance. The side of a small horribly blue like coloured stand with just six letters in an equally disgusting shade of red. W.F.C. LTD It was enough to turn my face away as soon as my eyes caught sight, Even on the brightest and hottest days, it always looked a cold place with dark clouds hanging over it. I hated that place, the people connected to it and all it stood for.
Now that hatred is without doubt irrational. I consider myself a very easy going logical thinking friendly individual. I am sure that many who frequented that place were decent friendly people like myself. However I knew, that irrational and illogical thinking was with them also, them hating my beloved Yeovil Town and hating me for daring to support them.
So, how did this rivalry start? What was the catalyst? I thought it was time to delve back in history for a very biased look.
Weymouth football club were formed in 1890, roughly the same time as Yeovil were. Turning up for the first ever Yeovil v Weymouth match on the 19th December 1891. Only a friendly, as all games were in those early days. It wasn't the best start, Yeovil losing seven-nil.
The following season a 1-1 away seen as a very good result for the Glovers Even then the arrogance shinning through with the press praising Yeovil for the draw as Weymouth partisans had predicted a seven or eight goal victory for Weymouth.
It wasn't long before Yeovil gained their first victory over 'them' a 2-0 victory at West Hendford on the 23rd December 1893. Aided by Paul Reid, the first ever Yeovil fans hero. It was also the first controversial match between the two teams. After the second goal, Weymouth called for offside which was refused. Like a petulant child their captain, Newport, took his players off the field and refused to return. Thus causing Yeovil fans to remonstrate 'forcefully'.
Yeovil had set up home in the Pen Mill stadium in 1895, and on the 4th January 1896, Weymouth were invited to play in a friendly. In what must have been one of the most surreal games ever between the sides. At 5-0 up at half-time the Glovers fans must have thought they were in dreamland. It turned into a nightmare by the end, Weymouth crawling back to draw 5-5!
These were all friendlies though, however it wasn't long before they met in their first competitive match. In the FA Amateur cup in 1896 at Pen Mill. Weymouth turned up at Pen Mill Station with two surprises. Firstly they had taken advantage of the laxed rules and called in the best players all over Dorset to compete for them . The second surprise being that that they had turned up probably for the first and only time with a "large body of fans".
The ringers in the Weymouth side were still not good enough, the Casuals running out winners by two-nil. Eighteen stone striker Bob Wyatt scoring the first. The Yeovil fan Well wisher writing in his Western Chronicle column
"Didn't Weymouth look blue after the Second goal and didn't their partisan fans keep quiet, they knew they were up a tree"
|Yeovil Casuals v Weymouth 1896|
Now there isn't an easy way of saying this, however over the next few years Weymouth became good. Very good in fact. Winning the Dorset league, the Junior Cup and considered the best amateur side in the area. Although, Yeovil still gaining the odd good result against them. Weymouth also obtaining a reputation for arrogance. At their AGM in 1900, they half jokingly voiced the idea of losing some matches deliberately as no team wanted to play them knowing the result would always be a Weymouth victory. Although, questions were also starting to be asked over their finances and how they seemed to attract the best players from all over Dorset in a strictly amateur league.
Slowly we managed to get the better of them, sure there were some relapses like losing 8-3 at their place in 1907. In January 1909, Yeovil and Weymouth were placed first and second in the Dorset League as the battled again at Pen Mill. The whole day didn't start well for Weymouth. Firstly two of their best players, Mabb and Wood missed the train to Yeovil by a minute. In a state of panic they commendeared a car. It broke down just past Dorchester. Eventually arriving at Pen Mill Station on the later train just as the second half was starting. They ran on the pitch from the Hotel End, just as Johnny Hayward was completing his hat trick to put Yeovil 5-0 up. When they did get on the field their presence made no difference. Eventually Hayward netting five in a 9-1 victory!
The underhand actions regarding Weymouth football club finally caught up with them in October 1909. Questions had been asked for years at how they had managed to obtain the best amateur players from all over Dorset to play for them. After requesting to see the club's financial books, the Dorset Football Association were surprised when a month went past and nothing was forthcoming. An extensive enquiry was called for into Weymouth. What they found shocked all football fans in the South. In a totally amateur league, where professionalism was the worst crime imaginable, Weymouth over the years had been paying all their players and labelling the payments as ' petty expenses ' also running a secret turnstile where all the admission fees went straight into the pockets of the players. They were suspended with a fine of £15 and all their players suspended until the end of 1910. In effect, they had their team taking away from them. They crawled back into the woodwork for a few years. Returning a few years later as a semi-professional club in the Western League.
After the First World War battles again commenced between the two sides in November 1919, at the Recreation ground. Yeovil coming away with a 3-0 win after Weymouth ended up starting the second half with nine men through a player receiving a broken leg and one other being concussed. The Weymouth fans 'hooting' the Yeovil players for their rough play.
By this time Yeovil and Weymouth matches were nearly a monthly event. Both competing in the same three leagues. Highlighted in April 1927, when in the space of eleven days, three matches took place. All won by the Glovers, 7-0, 4-2 and 4-0. Seventeen year old Yeovil striker Harry Scott seemingly enjoying the encounters by scoring seven of the Yeovil goals. For the Weymouth away match 2 Shillings and 6p would have got you to the match from Pen Mill.
However two years later, with debts rising Weymouth returned to amateur football, returning to the Western League Division two. Without a doubt looking on with envy whilst Yeovil continued growing. For the next ten years, the only match being the FA Cup 4th qualifying match against 'them' in November 1934. Yeovil winning easily 6-2 in front of 4500 fans. The Weymouth keeper, Hollear keeping the score under double figures.
It stayed that way up until the outbreak of the Second World War. Yeovil slowly beggining to rise, Weymouth left to play our reserve side!
So, for over twenty years there was just one derby match. We'd almost forgotten about them. However, it was the beauty of the FA Cup that ignited the rivalry again. In 1948, Alec Stock's great side were drawn away to play Weymouth, again in the 4th qualifying round. To say Weymouth and their fans were excited would be putting it midly.
When the tickets for the match went on sale in four shops in Weymouth town centre, Weymouth fans were queing at 7.00am. So upset when some fans couldn't get hold of a ticket, police were called in to calm their excited fans down. The police raised the capacity to Weymouth's tiny little ground to 11,000, so more people could get to see Alec Stock and his team in their town. Their team so thrilled they all went to Studland and Swanage to practice and play golf to stem the nerves and excitement.
What was described as a 'Yeovil invasion' happened on the day, with Glovers fans filling every train seat down 'South' from the early morning. Others travelling by car and any transport possible. 3000 Glovers managed to get tickets with 100's of Yeovil fans locked out. The attendance of over 11,000 still to this day remains a record for Weymouth. On the day Weymouth were completely outclassed by the fast Yeovil attacks, Eric Bryant scoring a couple in a 4-0 victory. A victory that set Yeovil on the way and finished with a visit to Maine Road, Manchester to take on Manchester United. The match with Weymouth finished in an absolute downpour. Which resulted in many Yeovil fans unable to return home until the next morning. An extra opportunity, one guesses, to rub it in at night time in the pubs of Weymouth.
|Action from Weymouth v Yeovil FA Cup December 1948|
Now, in all fairness over the next few years, Weymouth got their act together a little. Eventually joining Yeovil in the Southern League. In 1951, a crowd of nearly 12,000 turned up to see a 2-2 draw against the old enemy.
|Yeovil v Weymouth Boxing Day 1950|
In the 1950-51 season they for the first time in living memory managed to finish higher than the Glovers in the league. The following season even managing a Runners-up place in the Southern league. Also gaining revenge for the 1948 FA Cup defeat by knocking Yeovil out after a reply in the 4th qualifying round.
It couldn't last though, the 1954-55 season seeing one of the most exciting seasons for the two. Yeovil travelled to Weymouth in a October and returned with a 2-1 which set them on a fine run right into 1955. However, Weymouth also having put in a fine run of their own. In March, they turned up at a jamp-packed Huish. After a match that was non-stop action from the first minute to the last, Weymouth came out on top 4-3. The two sides played musical chairs with the top spot right until the last match of the season. Weynouth had finished all their matches and finished on 55 points. Yeovil had one game to play, against Hastings at Huish. Hastings also laying in third spot. Yeovil were on 54 points a draw would see the Southern League going to the Glovers.
The Weymouth players joined the massive crowd to watch the match that would determine if they were to be champions or Yeovil. Many Weymouth fans, taking advantage of Hastings playing in the same colours, turned up in their scarves. In a tense match Yeovil took the lead early. Only for Hastings to come back and lead 2-1. Scotsman Jimmy Fraser scored for Yeovil with twenty minutes to go to bring the scores level . The final whistle couldn't come quick enough, but when it came it meant that the title was Yeovil's. I doubt very much anyone connected with Weymouth watched the Glovers players collect the massive Southern League shield as the fans celebrated on the Huish turf.
The sixties came, and its fair to say not a productive one for Yeovil when it came to the enemy. Weymouth again got their act together, resulting in them being Southern League champions in 1965-66. Without doubt, even with low crowds and a substandard pitch that seemed to flood even if a morning dew, they had the better of us. Even beating us 2-1 in the FA Cup at the Rec in a bloody and hard faught encounter.
It was starting to turn our way little by early 1970's. Mike Hughes putting together a great side ending up as Southern League champions again. The Glovers also turning them over in the FA Trophy second round. A 0-0 at Huish saw Yeovil win the reply with a Chris Weller goal.
By now the derby matches were at it's height. The hatred between the two clubs at fever pitch on match days. Typified in the battles between Yeovil's Terry Cotton and Weymouth's Tony Hobson who seemed have a private battle every match to see who could break the others nose first.
Again the FA Cup became the arena for another battle Royal between the clubs in the 1973-74 season. The 4th qualifying round had given Yeovil home advantage, as a crowd of over 6000 watched Tom Walker a recent signing from Burnley score only for ex-Everton cup hero, Mike Trebilcock to equalise. The match sparked battles on the terraces and in the town centre later Something that had become a common theme between the sides whenever they played.
The reply at Weymouth four days later again saw a mass gathering of Yeovil fans, many looking to stand on the Gas Works end at the Rec. Again resulting in mass fighting thst continued in and outside of the ground. On the pitch Clive Slattery and Terry Betram scored for the Glovers in a 2-2 draw. Resulting in a second reply. As no neutral ground was available, a toss of a coin decided the third match would be held at Weymouth.
The third match, five days later again resulting in a hard fault battle on the pitch and off it! With the scores 0-0 in the second half, Yeovil's legendary keeper Tony Clark came out to collect a through ball. Alan Skirton, Weymouth's striker followed through on him in what was seen a deliberate act. Clark never one to fain injury had no option but to go off. It ended a spell of 232 continues matches for the keeper. With no second keepers in those long ago days, defender Paul Smith had no choice to wear the keepers jersey. After some heroic stops, he could do nothing to stop Weymouth from scoring. That goal being enough to see Weymouth through.
The next few seasons, Yeovil recorded nine league wins out of twelve against them. However, come the first season in the Alliance league it started to go pear shaped. Despite a 2-1 FA Cup win at home with Gary Turner getting both. In the league they did the double over the Glovers.
On New Year's day 1981, Weymouth celebrated a victory that they still live on to this day. In a totally awful performance, Yeovil capulated at home to them 0-5. A result compounded with Yeovil lad Tony Pounder scoring a hat-trick. Although Weymouth seem to forget a week earlier Yeovil had beaten them on their own patch thanks to an Andy Bell goal.
1983-84 being results that Weymouth don't like to remember 3-1 and 6-3 wins for the Greens.
Weymouth decided to leave their Rec and the gas works behind in 1987 to a purpose built small stadium on the edge of town. By now the Glovers, having been relegated were plying their trade in the Vauxhall Opel league. Again despite being a league apart, the Gods of the FA Cup draw decided to bring them together again in the 4th qualifying round. Weymouth boasting that they'd never been beaten in their new stadium saw it as just a formality. In short, Yeovil ripped them apart. With a 2000 sell out in the away end, two goals from John McGinley and one from Gerry Pearson sending the Glovers through 3-1. It was one of the sweetest Yeovil victories ever over their old rivals.
|Yeovil celebrate after the 1987 Cup win|
On the 2nd January 1989 the last league fixture took place between the sides. Again a 2000 plus travelling Yeovil away support witnessing a win at the Bob stadium. This time 2-0 and equally celebrated.
A year later it was the Glovers turn to find a new home and Weymouth to slide down the leagues, and boy did they slide.
Since those days we've only played them once since 1999. An FA Trophy game that saw the Glovers win a 2-1 reply at Huish. Weymouth in true tradional being about 250 fans to their biggest match of the season.
The years that followed are well documented whilst Yeovil climbed to the second tier of English football. Weymouth were losing against the likes of Petersfield and Swindon Supermarine in the FA Cup. Infamously going bust again and having to crawl their way back. So in season 2020-21, the rivalries will be commenced.
What to expect though? Well for those that haven't experienced it, away it will be one of the best away days of the season, home derby days are different. With Weymouth always unable to bring more than a few hundred maximum it could be any league match. However, there is a fear, lose and believe me you won't hear the last of it for years from them!
However, here is the complete record over 'them' since 1891,
Yeovil wins 90
Their wins 77
Yeovil goals 324
Their goals 311