Mob Rule, old cyclist and United - 1919-20

Yeovil & Petters United 1919

The club may have now become a new entity, however some things never changed. The season opened with a trail match at Pen Mill with a Mr May's XI and Mr Nutland's XI which was a trial match in front of a fair few spectators. One team playing in the new dark navy and white and the other in the Amber and black colours of Petters United.

The season opened properly for the senior team with a home match Western League (2) with foes of old Trowbridge Town- it was a disaster! The Glovers lacking cohesion with virtually a new side were carved apart at Pen Mill going down 5-1. Meanwhile at Glastonbury the junior side of the club were fighting out a 1-1 draw at the Abbey ground. A match that Yeovil should have lost.

The opening Senior team for the 1919-20 season being

Gregory, Abbott, May, Stylis, Vincent, Francis, Rouse, Nutland, Hayward, Webb, Garrett. 

Stan Abbott in defence would have a good career in the game throughout the West Country and would later become Yeovil's trainer. Vincent and Francis had played for the Dorset Yeomanry during the war. Rouse had previously turned out for Petters United before 1914.

After a 2-2 for the Senior team away to Frome, a match where Yeovil virtually had a different side to their opening defeat, the English Cup came round, a hard trip to Bath City. A remarkable game saw the Glovers or as the press named them occasionally 'The Lily Whites' return with a 4-4, Johnny Hayward grabbing his first brace of goals since the war. The reply was at Pen Mill on the Thursday afternoon, the Bath team, choosing to travel by motor turned up late. In front of 1500, Yeovil pressed all the way however succumbing to a goal ten minutes from the end to lose 2-1. The result meant that the Glovers had gone through the whole of their first month with their new club name without recording a victory! 

October started with a bizarre occurrence both sides playing away, the senior team at Trowbridge in the Western League and the Junior team at Holt, just four miles, apart A charabang was hired, first dropping off one team and then the other. The juniors having the better day, recording the first league win for a Yeovil & Petters United side, 3-1. The Senior team again torn apart by Trowbridge 5-1.

The games were coming thick and fast, in October the Somerset Charity cup pitted thr Glovers against another Yeovil side, Yeovil Discharged and Demobbed soldiers and sailors Federation FC. A national  charity set up for unemployed Soldiers after the war. The Glovers showed little charity by winning 4-3,Webb and Hayward scoring twice each. Interestingly playing for the demob side were several players who had previously played for the Glovers before the War. 

The results that followed were pitiful, four defeats in a row, each time with the opposition scoring 4! Frome, away, lost 4-3, Devizes away lost 4-1, Street away lost 4-1. Even the Westland Works band couldn't drum up a win when Timsbury arrived at Pen Mill. The attendances were starting to reflect the football on offer when only a moderate crowd saw the Glovers again defeated 4-0. Moderate attendances were probably an even more worry than the results, with extra revenue needed for match expenses and travel. 

Mid-November saw the start of the Dorset League campaign, and with it also saw a small change of fortunes. Poole St Mary turned up at Pen Mill to play in a match in front of 900 spectators who couldn't see a thing through the fog that had engulfed the ground. With the scores at 1-1, Hayward scored the winner at the Hotel End with only those stood yards from the goal knowing he had scored. A week later, the Recreation Ground, Weymouth was visited, in a pitch that was 'only fit for horses',   the Glovers ran out 3-0 winners, the Terras being reduced to nine men in the second half through a broken leg and a player  not being able to return after a blown to the head. On the same day the Junior team beat Holt, 7-0 at Pen Mill in a one sided match, Nutland gaining a hatrick.

Devizes arrived at Pen Mill a week later and dished out a 2-0 defeat to Yeovil. However the match was remembered for a bizarre incident involving the Yeovil crowd. Percy Nutland, challenged a Devizes back just failing to get there before the Devizes player played it down the line. As he did he was seen to punch Nutland to the ground, Nutland on recovering laid two quick punches to his opponent, seen by the ref who in turn ordered him from the field. With the Devizes player escaping punishment, the crowd invaded the pitch to remonstrate with the referee. To save a riot the Devizes captain ordered his own player from the field. An action, the Somerset League would see later as a match refereed by mob-rule. 

If the crowds were falling, one thing that was guaranteed to get the crowds in was a cup match. Minehead arrived, accompanied by a fair few of their supporters for the semi-final of the Somerset Charity Cup. Over 1000 packed the ropes and Grandstand. With Yeovil having only one match on the day they were afforded the chance to pull a full and strong team out. It showed! With goals from Webb with a brace, Hayward and Winzar the Glovers ran out 4-1 winners, lining up a final against Timsbury Athletic. 

It had been seven years since the Glovers had won the Somerset Charity Cup causing much celebration throughout the town. The visit to pay Timsbury Athletic in the final at Welton Rovers didn't quite stir the emotions of the town, few travelled to see a 1-1 draw. 

The club showed that their social conscious was still in tact, when playing a friendly against the Discharged and Demobbed Soldiers and Sailors on Boxing Day. All proceeds going to give amputeed ex-service men a day out, 600 attended, raising  £15 to the cause. Winning 7-1, the charity was left off the field. 

1920 arrived and so did Street to Pen Mill in the first match of the new decade. Local watchmaker's son Fred Hicks had fleeted in and out of the Senior and Junior teams. Against the Cobblers from Street he was unplayable, scoring four in a 7-2 victory, with Hayward helping himself to a couple. A week later it was Haywards turn has netted four against Glastonbury at Pen Mill in a 5-1 hammering. 

If the Somerset charity cup final against Timsbury hadn't caught the imagination of the football loving Yeovil fans before, paradoxically the replay couldn't have been met with more excitement. A special train, eight charabancs ( a primitive bus) as well as numerous other motors headed up to Frome for the reply. They even took along the Petters Brass band for good measure. On a cold and windy day and at 1-0 down at the break, it was proving to be a bad day for the Glovers. The second half was constant Yeovil pressure until two minutes before the end May, up from defence equalised which was met with 'the tensest, enthusiastic, excited cheering'.  An extra thirty minutes couldn't seperate the two sides, the only winner being the charity that the funds would fall to. With a gate of over 2000,the gate receipts amounted to £60. The Petters band played the fans all the way back to the station. 

When the second reply came around on the 31st January, the club had a major dilema, they already had two matches that day! The Junior side were sent to Dorchester in the Dorset league a match they lost 2-0. A totally scratch side full of local league players were drafted in to play a strong Paulton Rovers side at Pen Mill, incredibly the scratch side pulled off a miracle and won 1-0. Whilst these matches were being played most fans and the first team had encamped at Street for the second reply against Timsbury. Yeovil took the lead early through Webb, however with Timsbury equalising 20 minutes from the end , the match was sent into extra time. Apparently the fitter side won, with Timsbury scoring twice more to take the Cup back to their little village near Bath. For Yeovil any chance of silverware had gone. 

Timsbury Athletic FC 1919-20

The Senior team were in a jovial mood as they sped home from Paulton Rovers, a 3-0 win against one of their oldest rivals making the return journey back home a celebratory one. However, the charabanc they were travelling back in  skidded into the path of an old man on a bike coming towards them. Seeing the 'bus' heading towards him the old man managed to jump into a hedge as the bus graced his forehead and fingers. Mr Gould the Glovers trainer, attended the injured man, who told them he was an elderly inmate at the local asylum. The charitable nature of the team came into play and they passed a hat round and collected a few bob for the man and sent him happily on his way - Good lads! 

Mr A Gould - Yeovil trainer 

For the first time, we saw transfers taking place between clubs, although the 'five mile rule' still stayed in place it was relaxed to include 'workplace' also. In February Yeovil transfered Bert Stevens to Frome as although a Yeovilian his work was in Frome. Of course, no money changed hands. 

A few hundred Weymouth fans swelled the gate to over 1500 at Pen Mill for the Dorset League match. A match that was 'hot blooded on and off the field'. Yeovil coming from behind twice to force a 2-2 draw and missing a penalty to boot. However, the real action came outside of the ground. As the fans were leaving, a vendor had set up a stall auctioning real gold watches fully working or your money back. He captured quite a crowd, however one young lad who had attended the match, became  memorised by the 'gold' watches was tempted to spend the money that his Mother had given him for groceries. Immediately after purchase he realised the watch was a dud and not working and ended up in tears when the vendor refused a refund. The sight of the young lad crying set the Yeovil fans into mob rule mode and attacked the vendor, and set about kicking his watches all over the road. The young lad got his money back! 

A week later, the Yeovil fans were again in high emotions against Branksome Gas in the Dorset league on a game taking place in torrential rainfall with the Pen Mill pitch resembling a ploughed field. The hard armed tactics of the Branksome team was not to the liking of the supporters, who after the game, a game that Branksome had won 2-1, chased them back into the hotel throwing stones and mud at them. The Branksome players being so caked in it, they had to dip themselves in a rain troughs before changing. 

Slowly but surely though, Yeovil were  steadily getting into a rhythm and pulling together decent teams at both Senior and Junior level. The Tank Corp arrived at Pen Mill however it was Johnny Hayward who came out with all guns blazing, scoring six in a 9-0 victory. 

April came, the final month of the season with thirteen games still to play! The month started with the Glovers playing four matches in five days. The first one at Melksham saw Yeovil equalise with Melksham players and fans convinced the ball hadn't passed the line. Resulting in referee, Mr Philpot from Devizes being abused non-stop until he blew his whistle for half time, with that he went got his bag and caught the next train home. A local referee finished proceedings which ended 3-3. 

Poole St Mary, Away was the next day, where nearly the same side saw the Glovers win 4-2. The third game in three days was home against Bournemouth Tramways FC, again with nearly the same side, incredibly winning 6-0 in front of over 1000 fans at Pen Mill. The games came thick and fast however of the thirteen matches, nine were won, including a 7-1 thumping of Street at home. The final game of the season saw a defeat at Timsbury, who became Somerset League champions to add to their Charity Cup. 

The season had been exhausting and logistically a nightmare, however half way positions in the four leagues and a cup final was probably seen as an adequate for the 'United'. Despite his war efforts, Johnny Hayward, now aged 33 had come in with a remarkable 52 goals in just 33 appearances. Jack Taylor, the much loved the old Captain had returned to make 15 appearances. 

Jack Taylor

Off the pitch things were happening though, Pen Mill the ground since 1895 was being replaced. As has been seen in the past, the people in charge of the club had only one aim, to progress the club as far as it could go. If they thought about money, it wasn't for their own financial interest but for the sole interest of the club. They were men with ambition, drive and integrity. Men born in the town, raised and had great pride in being a Yeovilian matched only with a pride for their football club. Men who unfortunately we will never see the likes again. 

Happy days 



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