More encouragement needed during bad times at Huish Park


Yeovil Town owners John Fry and Norman Hayward are coming under pressure from fans to sell the club

Manager Darren Way worked hard in the summer to assemble a squad good enough to challenge the top teams in Sky Bet Two but some recent performances have a section of fans calling for him to be sacked

Defender Tom James has impressed since joining Yeovil at the start of the year

It is time everyone with the interest of Yeovil Town at heart took a good long look at the motto on the club’s logo – “Achieve by Unity”.

The sad truth is that in this season of goodwill there is an undeniable air of negativity hanging over Huish Park despite the fact that an appearance in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup is imminent.

In the good old days the rare appearances in the top knock-out competition was the signal for local newspapers to provide supplements, and crowds lined the streets to buy tickets.

Admittedly, the impending appearance of Bradford City does not inspire the same sort of enthusiasm as the arrival of Liverpool and Manchester United, but it means that if the Glovers can add another League One scalp to their collection, a big pay day could be around the corner.

Instead, the dwindling number of fans continue to produce their “Fry out” banners in a bid to persuade co-owner John Fry that it is time to go, and manager Darren Way has to endure the sort of abuse that no-one should have to take.

Mr Fry has never been the most popular of chairmen but he has, and still is, working hard to bring back brighter days.

The root of the problem is a lack of money and, sadly, the club are suffering from overspending in the days when they wanted to prolong life in the Championship beyond one season. Years of relegation battles have followed.

Recently there has been talk of a consortium waiting to take over including businessmen and supporters, even suggesting talks had been opened with the directors. This was rubbished by the Board who “categorically denied” any such talks were taking place.

Mr Fry, who keeps his head below the parapet these days, issued a statement reiterating that the club was intent on building and had employed Mark Palmer of the proven Insight 63 Ltd to report on ways forward. The promise was that everyone would be put in the picture when that report was forthcoming.

In the meantime Mr Fry and co-owner Norman Hayward sit tight, and who can blame them? How far they personally are committed financially has never been revealed but Mr Hayward, once top man at Bournemouth, left Dean Court with a million pounds allegedly owing to him. Any consortium must realise that they have to talk money, not peanuts.

And what of Darren Way? If he was sacked tomorrow how many of the “Way out” brigade consider the fact that on the April 6, 2016 he signed a three-year contract?

That would have to be paid up – and have the club finished paying off Way’s predecessor Paul Sturrock, who was axed after just 25 matches in charge?

Way, like the rest of us, no doubt has limitations, but even after the most bruising criticism he has always faced the media calmly and without rancour.

Like most recent managers he has pointed out that his playing budget is one of the lowest, but he has never, to my knowledge, spoken one word against the chairman and his colleagues. He appreciates they, like himself, are doing their best.

And what of the players? Way worked hard in the summer to assemble a decent squad. He wanted to keep Kevin Dawson (now with Cheltenham) and Matty Dolan, who scored twice for Newport County last weekend. Both moved on to better deals.

However, new signings included some experienced players with good cvs, and some youngsters such as Tom James, who signed a two-year deal and looks capable of making an impact at a higher level in due course.

Yeovil fans have thrown some of these youngsters to the lions and players’ heads have noticeably dropped when things have started going wrong. It is time for more encouragement in those bad times. After all, is there any one of those fans, or anyone of us, who doesn’t react to enthusiasm ourselves?

It is time to act before the undertakers come to take us to the Vanarama National League!

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.