After being rock bottom of the league table at Christmas last season, many Yeovil Town fans feared relegation, and it took an amazing run of form in January and onwards to keep the Glovers in League One in a much more healthy position of 14th. ‘Time to push on’ we thought, ‘next stop, play-offs’, ‘all hail Terry Skiverton.’
After having finished level on points with Charlton Athletic and above Sheffield Wednesday, it would have been the most extreme of optimists to expect Yeovil to match those two sides again this time around. What we didn’t expect was more or less a repeat prescription of a lackluster first half to the season.
We have left ourselves a hole to dig out of again, but this time Chairman John Fry is not willing to rely on a miraculous set of results that saw us good last season. After all, just five of the squad remain from that which went to Plymouth at the start of last January, and the shortcomings due to the loss of Dean Bowditch, Andy Welsh and Nathan Smith have been evident, as has the lack of a regular goalkeeper – five is the count so far this season.
Something, it was felt, needed to be done. So, to the return of Gary Johnson. Idolised from his first stint as manager, Johnson holds hero status having taken the club from the Conference to League One, picking up the FA Trophy on the way as a result of flowing, passing, football.
Great! A buzz has returned to the club. Over a 1,000 more people came through the gates for Johnson’s homecoming as he is set the task of securing League One football for the eighth consecutive season.
But what of the man who’s job he took? The man who kept Yeovil in the league on a less than shoestring budget, had to rely on loans and the total overhaul of his squad every season. The guy who captained the side through all our success under Gary Johnson, and holds cult hero status in Somerset. The fella who attracted the likes of Dean Bowditch, Paul Huntington and Stephen Caulker to the club, has he just been binned?
No, and thank the Lord that he hasn’t.
The fact that we have relied on loans the last few years as well as the club allowing contracts to run out has meant that we have seen a ridiculous amount of different faces pull on the green and white stripes of Yeovil Town. This has meant, for me and many fans, it has been very hard to get behind the team. You don’t know who is going to play, you don’t know who some of the people are, you can see that, in some cases, they are not willing to fight for the club .
I remember when I used to watch Yeovil play, I knew who was going to start. Chris Weale would be in goal, Lee Johnson and Darren Way would be in the centre of the park, Michael McIndoe and Kevin Gall would provide pace and width and at the back, week in, week out would stand Terry Skiverton, skipper.
Skiverton has been appointed assistant manager to Gary Johnson, and his decision to stay just underlines his commitment and love for the club. Yeovil Town need people like Skivo at the club, someone to relate to, someone to get behind and someone to fight of the club. A big part of Yeovil staying up last season was the overriding passion that he showed to the players, supporters and the board.
To my mind, he still has a huge part to play in where the club will be in the future. Gary Johnson will provide a more professional, experienced head to set the specific wheels in motion to get Yeovil going again.
However, what if Johnson keeps us up, betters Skiverton’s previous best finish of fourteenth, takes us to the play-offs next season, as Russell Slade did? I have very few doubts in my mind that if a bigger club comes sniffing, as Bristol City did the first time round, Johnson could be easily lured away with the offer of potential Premier League football, taking our prized assets with him.
Johnson has recently talked of his desire of managing in the Premier League, ‘be it with Yeovil Town or another team’. The latter, I presume, is the most likely.
Where do Yeovil turn to then? I have a prediction, Terry Skiverton.
Skivo is not yet done taking this club forward, he is a young manager who was thrust into very difficult circumstances and I believe the next two or three seasons working with Gary will help him no end in learning what things need to be done, and how, in order to manage a successful team.
A lot of this is hypothetical, of course, but I believe that the move by the board to team Gary and Terry together, as apposed to one or the other, is the right decision and one which will see us move on positively as a club.
And if the time comes when Yeovil need Skivo again, I have no fears he will answer that call.
But for now it is time for our new/old manager to put points on the board, bring people through the turnstile and take Yeovil Town up the league.
And I, for one, cannot wait.
Viva La Gary Johnson revolution part II.
Written by Ryan Peasland, We Are Going Up’s Yeovil Town Blogger
Ryan tweets at @rpeasland