Great Football League Teams 11: Yeovil Town, 2006-7
For our eleventh Great Team we look westwards to the Yeovil of 2006-7, courtesy of Glovers blogger Ben Barrett. Yeovil have perhaps hit something of a crossroads of late, but Ben looks back to a time when Town’s rise seemed to be unceasing.
Some clubs are blessed with great title-winning teams, some have players worth tens of millions and some are just a brilliant combination of hard working youngsters blended in with some experienced old heads. It’s the latter that applies to Yeovil Town’s 2006-7 Nearly Men.
It is also worth remembering that this Great Team belonged to a club who were still playing non-league football at the beginning of the new Millennium. The Glovers were to go on an incredible run of success: an FA Trophy was followed by the Conference title and the League Two crown, which then cumulated in a play-off final in 2007 to try to get into the second tier of English football.
In that short time there would have been many sides that would qualify as ‘Great’. The squad that got the club into the Football League included Gavin Williams, Lee Johnson and Darren Way who all went on to better things.
The play-off final against Blackpool was hardly a game to remember for the Somerset side, as they were played off the park for 90 minutes by Simon Grayson’s men.
Yet, rewinding that season by just 90 minutes is what many Yeovil fans consider their Greatest Day, beating Nottingham Forest 5-2 to over turn a 2-0 deficit in the first leg of the semi final. To achieve such a comeback will live long in the memory for everyone involved.
On the night, Yeovil used just twelve players. In goal was Steve Mildenhall, a ‘keeper with strong links to manager Russell Slade following their time together at Grimsby. Mildy was a decent goalkeeper and has since earned a move to the Championship, albeit to warm the bench at Millwall.
The defence included the versatile Andy Lindegaard at right back, a man who played in as many as ten different positions for the side that season. Alongside him were Terrell Forbes and Scott Guyett in the centre, two players who never let supporters down in terms of effort levels, even if their talent wasn’t necessarily always evident. Left back on the night was current Assistant Manager Nathan Jones who once dubbed himself the “only uncapped Welshman”.
But the main man at the back that year was Terry Skiverton, a player Yeovil fans could write an essay on, from the day he joined the club in 1999 to help bolster the numbers to his time skippering his side and now as Manager. Tough tackling and incredibly passionate about the club, Skiverton runs Yeovil with the same fervour that he played with.
The midfield was as talented as they come. Chris Cohen and Arron Davies not only orchestrated the side that defeated Nottingham Forest but together were involved in the biggest transfer in Yeovil history, a combined £1.2million deal to … Nottingham Forest. Although Davies’s path has meandered since, Cohen has gone from strength to strength and has been linked with Premier League sides.
To supplement that attacking flair was Jean Paul Kalala and Anthony Barry, who both loved a tackle. Kalala is back at the club after spending time with Oldham and Grimsby and still gets booked more times than is advisable while Barry is now in the Conference with Fleetwood.
Leading the line during the regular campaign were two well-travelled strikers in Lee Morris and Marcus Stewart. Stewart had Sunderland, Ipswich and Bristol City on his CV but it was his 87th minute goal at the City Ground that will be most fondly remembered by Glovers supporters.
That season saw the club’s usual share of loanees, the most successful of which was Leon Best. He may have only played in fifteen games, but a series of importantly-timed goals secured many of the points that sustained Yeovil’s place in the top six.
Most of the squad have now moved on, and probably recall that season as one where they managed to beat the bookmakers, but couldn’t quite kick on. Supporters hope year after year they will discover the winning blend again; maybe having one of their own at the helm might just help achieve that.
This was a group of players that hardly set the world alight, but played to a simple formula which kept games tight and created a number of scoring opportunities. Put together on a tiny budget by Russell Slade, the manager may have left the club in a cloud of mystery, but we all thank him for that season and the squad he managed to amass. That night in Nottingham will live on in the memory for a long, long time.