WESTLAND SPORTS F.C.
In 1915 the Westland Aircraft Works was founded as a division of Petters Limited in response to government orders for aircraft for the war effort.The earliest record of the football club was in season 1925/26 when they won the Yeovil & District League under the name "Westland Aircraft", a feat that was repeated in season 1928/29. Around this time another team, "Westland Engine Works" were also playing in the Yeovil & District League.
Season 1929/30 saw Yeovil & Petters FC (who later became Yeovil Town FC) fold up their reseve team, most of whom went to play for Westlands so in season1930/31, boosted by this influx of players, the club entered a team in the Western League under the name "Petters-Westland" and also won the Crewkerne Charity Cup. It would seem the club soon reverted to Junior football and in 1936 re-entered the Yeovil & District League under the name "Westland United" (perhaps as an amalgamation of "Westland Aircraft" and "Westland Engine Works) and in season 1938/39 the Yeovil League Knock-out Cup was won.
The first affiliation to Somerset FA was in 1939 and it was at this time that the name was changed to "Westland Sports", the club being a sub-section of the Westlands Sports and Social Club, and so this is recorded officially as the year the club was founded.The club's home was the Westbourne Grove ground which was situated next to the Sports & Social Club, adjacent to the airfield.
The second world war prevented regular competitive football although their is a record of Westland Sports competing in the "Yeovil Wartime League" in season 1939/40. In season 1945/46 the Perry Street League restarted and in the first season Westland Sports entered a team and won the League title. They capped a great season by also winning the Somerset Junior Cup for the first time.
In season 1946/47 the Yeovil League restarted and Westland Sports were soon fielding two sides, one Yeovil League team, and one youth side, the latter winning the Yeovil Youth Shield in both 1946/47 & 1947/48.
The senior side also won the Crewkerne Charity Cup for the second time in season 1949/50.
In season 1950/51 Westlands won the Somerset Junior Cup for the second time but further honours eluded the club who remained members of the Yeovil & District League during this period.
Eventually some success was achieved with a Yeovil League Charity Cup win in season 1962/63.
In 1964/65 the club withdrew from the Yeovil League, due to loss of players to YeovilTown who were starting a reserve side.
The situation was short-lived, and the club reformed in 1966 and under the guidance of manager Dave Topping they entered the Yeovil League in the 1966/67 season with the intention of entering senior football as soon as possible. This happened the following year when the club was elected to the Somerset Senior league. A programme from Wednesday 30th August 1967 show the Westlands line up to play Chard Town in the Somerset Senior League as: 1.Pete Lawrence, 2.Ron Young, 3.Tony Hansen, 4.Mick Murley, 5.Mick Baker, 6.Colin Webber, 7.Mike Hann, 8.Val Woodley, 9.Hector Hamm, 10.Mike Hodges, 11.Nigel Lovett, 12.Ernie Emmonds. The club secretary at this time was Dick Coomer and the chairman Mr. G.Baynham.
In its second year since reforming (1968/69) the club, now fielding a reserve side, had an exceptional year. The Somerset Senior league was won with a record 70 points (2pts for a win), with only one defeat. The Somerset Charity Cup was won, and also the Yeovil Hospital Cup beating Bristol City 5-4 in the final. The reserves also won the Yeovil League in season 1968/69.
Somerset Senior League runners up was to follow in the next two seasons, as did the Yeovil Division One Cup in 1969/70.
Season 1971/72 saw the reserves win the Yeovil League for the fourth time in the clubs history.
In 1974 the club gained admittance to the Western League on a semi-professional basis under the management of Roy Lambden.
The club name was changed to "Westland-Yeovil" so as to distinguish it from "Westland United" a team formed from Westland Helicopters factory in Weston-Super-Mare. The club chairman was still Mr.G.Baynham but Mr.B.Athersuch had taken over as secretary.
Westlands made a decent start in their first season 1974-75 finishing 8th of 21 but the following season saw them slip to 15th of 23.
Finally season 1976/77 ended in relegation with the club finishing bottom of the table, 18th of 18.
Playing in Division One in season 1977/8 saw Westlands, still struggling, finishing 14th of 19 and the following season it was 14th of 19 again.
In season 1979/80 we finished rock bottom, 22nd of 22, and finally, at the end of season 1979/80, mounting financial problems forced the club to fold.
One highlight during this period was an appearance in the final of the Somerset Professional Cup against Yeovil Town in 1976. Both legs of the two-legged final were played at Yeovil Town's old ground at Huish where after a plucky 1-1 draw in the first leg, Westlands succumbed 4-0 in the second leg.
The Westlands line up for the first leg of this historic match on Saturday 8th May 1976 was: 1.Miller, 2.Read, 3.Beadle, 4.Smith, 5.Wilkins, 6.Bertram, 7.Briggs, 8.Hodges 9.Wookey, 10.Kingsmill, 11.Masters, 12.Rideout.
Also during this time Westlands entered the FA Trophy for the first time in season 1975/76 and had a good run:-
Pre-Qualifying round, beat Bridgwater Town 5-2 at home.
1st Qualifying round, beat Taunton Town 3-1 at home.
2nd Qualifying round, lost 0-1 to Dorchester Town away.
In the following two seasons 1976/77 and 1977/78 we went out in the Pre-Qualifying round first to Alton Town 0-1 away then to Bridport 0-1 away.
For the 1978/79 season the FA ruled that entry to the FA Trophy would be restricted to clubs with floodlights, and so Sports were forced to enter the FA Vase.
In season 1978/79 Westlands participated in the Vase and did quite well:-
Rnd 1, beat Sharpness 2-1 away. Rnd 2, beat Keynsham Town 1-0 home. Rnd 3, lost to Almondsbury Greenway 0-2 home.
The following season saw an early exit in the first round to Ottery St Mary, 1-2 at home.
In 1981 the club reformed once again in the Yeovil League, reverting again to the name "Westland Sports".
After one season the club was elected into the Dorset Combination League and after a couple of lean seasons, in 1983/84 the Dorset Combination Cup was secured with a memorable victory over Parley Sports.
With improving finances, by the mid 1980’s Sports were fielding five teams. The Youth teams in particular had great success, sweeping all before them in the Yeovil Youth League with 10 league and cup wins under Tony Pounder, who was with the club for many years.
The Youth team were league champions in 1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1985/86, 1987/88 and 1989/90 with cup wins in 1982/83, 1983/84, 1986/87 and 1989/90. In 1985 the first team was under the management of Ken Lees and on 6th September fielded the following team for a Dorset Combination League match at Portland: 1.I.Nairn, 2.E.Carvill, 3.G.Muir, 4.A.Cottle, 5.R.Russell 6.C.Isaac, 7.C.Sayers, 8.K.Mahan, 9.S.Hall, 10.M.Middleditch, 11.N.Mitchell.
In 1987 Sports senior team reached the Somerset Senior Cup final under the guidance of Stuart Housley, and improving league performances saw Westlands finish third in seasons 1986/87 & 1987/88. Season 1987-88 also saw Westlands re-enter the FA Vase for the first time in 9 years. In the Pre-Qualifying round we beat Patchway 4-1 at home but lost 0-6 away to Yate in the 1st Round. In season 1988/89 we lost to Wellington 3-4 away in the Extra-Preliminary round.
After this the FA extended their floodlights requirement to the FA Vase so Westlands were no longer able to enter the tournament.
The reserves were Yeovil League Division One champions in 1987/88 and gained Les King Cup victories in 1986/87 & 1987/88.
Phil Chant took over the reins in season 1988/89 and guided the team to a Dorset Combination runners up spot that season.
The team continued their good form in season 1990/91 finishing in third place in the league under the chairmanship of Mr R Hall, with Dave Hewitson as secretary. On the 6th October 1990 we lined up against Dorchester Town Reserves as follows: 1.D.Coombes, 2.M.Burfield, 3.R.Parsons, 4.D.Shepherd, 5.S.Hall, 6.A.Shephard, 7.A.Ashton, 8.W.Woollard, 9.T.Bastable, 10.B.Ashton, 11.D.Trapnell, 12.I.Monk, 14.M.Stephens.
Another third place in the Dorset Combination League followed in season 1991/92 before in 1992/93 Sports swept all before them to win the elusive double of both the Dorset Combination League title and the Dorset Combination Cup.
The youth team (Under 16s) also won the prestigious Somerset Youth Shield for the first time.
This was nearly repeated the following year (1993/94) when Sports retained the Dorset Combination Cup but had to settle for runners up spot in the league.
Meanwhile the reserves won the Yeovil League Charity Cup in 1989/90 and the Yeovil Hospital Cup in 1990/91.
With the departure of Phil Chant, Bev Horley was appointed first team manager but he found it difficult to repeat his successes in Junior football and after Sports finished 16th in the table, Bev decided to move on.
For the rest of the decade the team struggled a little but held on to their position in the Dorset Combination with the reserves continuing in the Yeovil League.
Our Under 16 Youth team kept the flag flying by winning Yeovil Youth League titles in 1990/91, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1997/98 and 1998/99 with cup wins in 1995/96, 1997/98 and 1998/99. The Somerset Youth Shield was won again in 1998/99 season.
1999 was a time of change for the club. Pete Watts took over as manager, and the rumours were confirmed that Westbourne Grove had been sold for redevelopment. The Club moved to the old rugby pitches in Bunford Lane and in season 1999-2000 achieved a respectable 9th in the league table. On the 2nd May the first team entertained Weymouth Sports at Bunford Lane and the side that day was: 1.Wayne Lewis 2.Ian Catton 3.Justin Thomas 4.Dean Vincent 5.Matt Turner 6.Matt Buckley 7.Paul Watts 8.Steve McDaid 9.Stacey White 10.Craig Platt 11.Rich Lindegaard 12.Jon Ritchie 13.Rich Gillard. The Chairman at this time was Mike Murley and the secretary was Alan Fisher.
The new century began with the club continuing at Bunford Lane before moving to its present home at Alvington Lane in 2003/04. With the building of new changing rooms and with three pitches available the club looked forward to an exciting future. With the availability of the new pitches the emphasis was put on youth development and this bore fruit with the youth teams continuing from strength to strength during this period under the guidance of Pete Hockin, Rick McQueen and Phil Wells. Yeovil Youth League and Cup doubles were won in 2001/02 and 2002/03 and the Somerset Youth Shield was won again in 2002/03 making it a treble winning season.
The success of the youth teams soon began to filter through into the first team and in season 2004/05 the club again reached new heights. A great cup run culminated in Sports winning the Somerset Senior Cup for the first time in their history, wiining 2-1 in the final against Hengrove Athletic.The reserves were also successful in 2004/05 season winning the Yeovil League Division One title and Cup.
Our youth sides, who had now transferred to the Dorset Youth League to provide more of challenge, were also successful in season 2004/05 with the Under 18’s taking the league title in their first season. They followed this up by lifting the Dorset FA Under 18 Youth Cup in season 2005/06.
At the start of the 2006/07 season Neil Waddleton and Pete Tutton were appointed as joint managers for the new season and what a season it turned out to be with Westland Sports taking the Dorset Premier League title for the first time in over 25 years.
The reserves picked up the Yeovil Hospital Cup, and the under 16’s won the Somerset Youth Shield under the management of Kevin Montacute.
In season 2007/08 the reserves won the Yeovil Hospital Cup for the second year in a row and in 2008/09 they made it three years in a row.
The 2008/09 season saw some significant changes taking place in the running of the club. The recently formed Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust took over the management of the football facilities at Alvington Lane, owned by AgustaWestland and home of Westland Sports FC.
With Stuart Smith becoming joint manager with Neil Waddleton we again won the Somerset Senior Cup in season 2009/10 beating Cheddar 3-1 in the final at Street. We were also runners-up in the Dorset Premier League Cup and finished third in the League.
The reserves also had a good season in 2009/10 winning the Yeovil League Les King Cup and the Yeovil League Premier Division Cup.
In season 2010/11, a new manager, ex-Westlands player Kevin Leigh, was appointed with Neil Waddleton staying on as assistant manager.
Under Matt Turner's management the reserves lifted Yeovil League Premier Division Cup for the second year in a row and also picked up the Yeovil League Charity Cup. Also in 2010/11 Shaun Kitto's Under 18s lifted the Dorset FA Youth Cup.
The following season 2011/12 proved to be a memorable one in the history of the club when we won a unique 'treble' of Dorset Premier League Championship, Dorset Premier League Cup and Somerset Senior Cup. During the whole season we only suffered two defeats and won every competition we entered, a remarkable achievement and one that may never be repeated. This season also saw our Reserve team leave the Yeovil & District League and enter the Dorset League for the first time. Playing in Division 1 the team finished as runners-up and were promoted to the Dorset Senior League for the following season.
In June 2011 the Community Sports Trust, who managed the Alvington ground, decided that Yeovil Town FC would have exclusive use of the two top pitches at Alvington as a training facility. Westland Sports were to use the bottom pitch which did not meet the ground grading requirements for membership of the Dorset Premier League. The club had no option but to withdraw from the League after 30 years unbroken membership and it was decided that we would run with only one adult team and one youth team for season 2012/13. The adult team (last season's reserves) would play in the Dorset Senior League and the Under 18 youth side would continue as before. Ex-manager Stuart Smith was appointed manager of the team with brother Andy assisting.
Season 2012/13 was a season of consolidation for the club and under Stu and Andy Smith's guidance we finished a creditable 6th in the Dorset Senior League. The following season 2013/14 saw Sports win the Dorset Senior League to gain promotion back to the Dorset Premier League after a gap of 2 years. In season 2014/15 the reserves were re-formed under the management of Harry Gibbs and they were admitted to the Dorset League Division 1 which they won and were promoted to the Senior League. In the Dorset Premier League, after a steady 11th place finish, Stu Smith felt he had completed the job of re-establishing the club and Harry Gibbs, who had been successful with the reserves, was appointed first team manager.