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First Base is the equivalent of an 'Editorial'. It is the opportunity for S & A to provide comment and provoke discussion on topical issues relating to leisure and tourism. This will be provided each month and we would welcome your feedback on the matters raised.

First Base 23: Success in Soccer

Date: 27/7/2004

It has taken 108 years, but at last Yeovil Town have made it into the Football League. In a season that has seen them break all the records in winning the Conference Championship they have now taken their rightful place within the league structure.

This success has been based on a clear strategy shaped by Chairman John Fry and implemented over the past ten years. Yeovil are the most famous of all non-league teams and the most renowned of all giant killers in the FA Cup.
Since the Championship celebrations of 26 April, many journalists have praised the free flowing, fast and stylish nature of their play … a style that has netted 100 league goals this season. Their odds to gain immediate promotion to Division Two next season shortened from 16-1 to 10-1 as they put away 18 goals in their last four games, against three of the sides competing for the play offs to decide the other promoted sides (here’s hoping its not Chester).

Yeovil’s strategy is a model for other, smaller league and non-league clubs. The strategy is based on five key factors:

(1) The development of a modern stadium designed to meet the requirements of the Taylor Report, built on 25 acres of land owned freehold by the Club and, in theory, capable of further development with tenants producing enhanced revenues;

(2) The investment last year of a new playing surface allowing the side to play the type of football Manager, Gary Johnson, demands;

(3) The compilation of a young squad all based in the Yeovil area and with a supportive youth policy to bring through local talent, thus re-enforcing the community links;

(4) Harnessing an already strong loyal fan base by creative ticketing and admission policies, off-the-field community programmes and a close relationship between the playing and coaching staff with their fans;

(5) Careful financial planning and organisational structuring throughout the club including consistency in backroom staff, modern lifestyle advice for the players and the encouragement of open dialogue at all levels.

S & A wish The Glovers every success with their new status. Have a bet on them before the odds shorten even further! Good luck, and ‘on to victory’.

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