Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll has voiced his displeasure at a small pocket of Glovers fans who criticised him following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Woking, writes Tom Howe.
The high-flying Glovers put in arguably their worst performance of the season and allowed Woking in to put paid to the recent momentum they had built up in the National League’s title race.
Although that was Yeovil’s first defeat of 2020, they were still without a National League victory since their 2-0 win at Torquay United on January 1, handing the advantage to rivals Barrow, who are the division’s runaway leaders, and Harrogate Town (ahead of yesterday’s round of fixtures).
Sarll admitted he was fully aware of the club’s commitment to putting in good performances for the supporters and, while reminding some that he and his players are only human, addressed some of the comments aimed at him and assistant Terry Skiverton.
“I have got no problem with people having an opinion,” said Sarll. “This is the beauty of football. I have got a problem with people swearing at me. If anyone wants to speak to me Monday to Friday, I am always here. I am a pretty open chap. I do not turn many people away.
“I get paid to talk about football, normally to the players, but I am happy to spend time with the supporters too. If people want to swear at me, I will give them the same they pay to come here and they can tell me where they work. I will go there and stand 15 metres away.
“I am a pretty loud chap. I have a very diverse range of vocabulary and have a certain vernacular from my origin. I have got no problem.
“I accept all of the nice stuff when we are playing well and we have that lovely moment with the supporters. I should accept it the other way, which I do. It frustrates me a little bit the way I see Terry sometimes treated. He is as good a man as any football club could want in their infrastructure. I get confused with that at times.”
Sarll went on to admit the overwhelming majority of Yeovil fans were ‘magnificent’ with around 900 of them making the trip up from Somerset.
“It was magnificent and probably 895 of them are still very appreciative of the progress we are making. It is just a shame when a few just have to be the way they are. We all think some things are right and some are wrong.
“We have just got to keep driving on. We were really disappointed last Saturday. I was really disappointed for the brilliant following that we took. The club are trying to make a real day of it for the supporters. I was disappointed for myself and in myself for certain things and I was disappointed for the players and in the players.
“You have just got to move on. I can not affect that the club got relegated last year. I can not affect that we lost to Woking last week but I can try to affect things moving forward. We made sure to utilise more time this week as a bit of a wrap on the back of the knuckles of the players. We have made sure that focus is at an absolute premium and we will definitely see the fruits of that labour.
“Woking last week was a poor defeat because of our performance. I do not think it is anything Woking did. Everytime you let the fans down you have to reconnect. Reconnecting with fans is an easy thing to try and do but a very hard thing to execute. They are looking for so much now and quite rightly so, I am looking for a lot.
“We are always looking at different ways in which to play and formulate our system. Maybe we will see a couple of tweaks to that.”
He added: “The compensation for a poor performance is nothing and the outcome is a loss. I thought the goalkeeper (Ted Cann), Luke Wilkinson and Lee Collins were really excellent. They handled the ball very well but that is an indictment on a different department when your two centre-halves are handling the ball better than anyone else. That is not normally why you play a centre-half.
“It is important that the other departments know that is not going to be good enough for us to create and score. (This kind of performance) comes around every season. There is probably only one club in this country at the moment that has been able to escape that type of pattern and that is Liverpool.
“I look up and down the country, teams that are on top lose. How do they manage the expectations of the supporters? How do they get their performance levels back up? We are absolutely no different.
“That is the fun bit, the peaks and the troughs. If I know the players the way I do, I know they will be absolutely adamant of putting in a response.”
If anyone was in doubt as to Sarll’s dedication to the cause, how about his response to another point for Barrow, coming in a goalless draw at Solihull Moors earlier this week, one which took them seven points clear of third place Yeovil with a game in hand and, crucially, strengthened their hold on the sole promotion place.
“Well done Barrow but I could not care. I did not even see the score come in. All that I can affect is Yeovil and that is all I care about. If Barrow ever appoint me as manager, I will worry about them then.”
With Sarll at the helm, expect the Glovers to come back fighting. The National League promotion race is just getting started.