The Romance of the Cup
It has been a strange weekend for supporters of Yeovil Town FC. We were treated to a 1-0 win in the FA cup second round against struggling Stevenage FC. It will be remembered mostly for this moment of magic.
🛫 Liftoff at Huish. #YTFC 💚
— Yeovil Town F.C. (@YTFC) December 4, 2021
But also for the performance of this man
The bookies made us slight favorites before kick-off and the result – though wonderful for those in green and white, was not giant-killing. But for a club that has become synonymous with footballing decline, this result was wonderful. Read the fan’s match report here
More romance of the cup comes this evening when we anticipate meeting a Liverpool or Man City or Chelsea .
The muck of the cup
But the weekend has also seen a rambling update from Yeovil co-owner and Chairman , Scott Priestnall, which lays bare the parlous state of the club’s finances and the fight between the Glovers Trust and the club’s owners.
An update from the Chairman. #YTFC 💚
— Yeovil Town F.C. (@YTFC) December 5, 2021
It would seem that Priestnall has issued an ultimatum to the club’s two potential purchasers to put up or push off by the end of the week. If neither put forwards terms, the club will remain in his ownership.
For thoughts on this statement, YTFC fans should listen to the Gloverscast from minute 28 – linked to the bottom of this blog.
Yeovil is a club that has plunged from Championship status to the bottom of the National league in only six seasons. It’s current improvement on the pitch has been down to the signing of young players who have taken the team into contention for a play-off place. But it is the FA cup run that is needed to keep the club going. We need the revenues from a third of even fourth round game to pay wages through the rest of the season.
The gulf between the premier elite and the rest
Watching the game on BBC2, I compared the passion coming out of the Huish with the atmosphere watching Tottenham v Brentford in mid week. I’d been a guest of a friend who had a spare and treated me for my birthday. Tottenham won 2-0 but the after-game celebrations were more focused around Arsenal getting beaten by a Ronaldo inspired Manchester United. The Brentford fans, who’d made what little noise there was in White Hart Lane, won my heart.
Football in this country is a pyramid that supports the big London, Manchester and Liverpool clubs. Almost everyone else, from Brentford to Yeovil , struggles to compete both on and off the pitch. The communities that support the smaller clubs need competitions like the FA cup to survive and it’s great that both BBC and ITV featured the second round, the TV revenues from the game on Saturday will be a Godsend.
We need to have elite clubs that can win European honors and attract the eyes of world audiences. But we need to keep the pyramid intact, Yeovil Town is important to the pyramid and to its locality, but we said the same about Bury.
We can still dream
I am not involved in the wrangling over ownership, asset stripping and boycotting that is the stuff of Scott Priestnall’s long statement. But it saddens me, that my club is the subject of such strife, at a time when it’s players and manager are giving us some pleasure. Recent wins at Bromley, Wrexham, and Dagenham , show the Glovers travel well. We play Barnet on Saturday and I look forward to one of many local games to me.
For Yeovil, the magic of the cup is that we won’t be playing games in the second half of the season with a points deduction for financial reasons . We are still in the FA trophy with a game against Woking , in the week before Christmas, by the new year we could very well be in the play-offs and dreaming of a return to the football league proper.
But that is to dream.