First Team Star
May 12, 2019, 11:14 PM
Team(s): Taunton Town
Post #1 of 2
Alan Skirton has died, aged 80, details below
Alan Skirton (Bath, Arsenal, Blackpool, Bristol C., Torquay)
(This post was edited by John Treleven on May 13, 2019, 6:42 AM)
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May 13, 2019, 6:53 AM
Post #2 of 2
We're sorry to hear that former Yeovil Town commercial manager Alan Skirton has passed away at the age of 80.
The former Bath, Arsenal, Blackpool, Bristol City and Torquay United winger had a 21 year association with the club at both the old Huish and the current Huish Park grounds, and was the main voice that fans heard over the tannoy during that period.
Alan joined Yeovil Town on 14th September 1981. Chairman David Hawker and Director Bryan Moore had heard of his work at Bath City and persuaded him to make the move.
On his arrival he found the club's lottery in a poor state and introduced a door to door sales team that proved to be very successful. Years later the introduction of the National Lottery meant that changes had to be made, but the lottery still continued to raise important funds for the club.
Through various advertising and sponsorship schemes several million pounds were raised for the club. But his most successful scheme was the Patron Scheme that allowed businesses large and small to become involved with the club. Alan has often been given the credit for introducing the Patron's Scheme, however he was always quick to point out that it was spawned from an idea raised by Tony Williams, a director of the club at the time, who came across a similar scheme at Bognor Regis and thought it would be beneficial to Yeovil Town. Alan's hard work ensured this to be the case, and it was influential in the club's cash flow, particularly during the summer months, up until the point when the club surprisingly dropped it during the mid-2000s.
Alan was born in Bath in 1939 and it was at Bath City where he started in football, a career that would fill his working life. His early days at Bath City had the scouts flocking to Twerton Park, a short spell working for Bath Council, followed by National Service delayed his entry into professional football.
When Arsenal made him an offer a 19 year old Alan headed for the capital. Unfortunately tuberculosis halted his Arsenal career before it had hardly started, but 18 months later he began 6 years in the Arsenal team which would bring 154 first team appearance and 54 goals, quite an achievement for a winger playing at the highest level. He is among a select band of wingers who have scored 100 league goals.
A £30,000 transfer to Blackpool followed where Alan stayed for 3 years, once again scoring a goal every three games. A move back south to Bristol City, and then Torquay United followed before Alan ended his playing days at Weymouth. He even managed to fit in a short spell winning the league title in South Africa playing for Durban City with Johnny Haynes and "Budgie" Byrne.
Alan's discipline on the field was excellent, in fact he was never booked when playing for Arsenal, although many Yeovil fans will recall an incident with Yeovil goalkeeper Tony Clark that should have seen a 'veteran' Weymouth winger being reprimanded by the referee!
As Alan's playing career was coming to an end he saw how the then Weymouth Commercial manager, Alec Jackson, earned his living and felt that this could be his own future, and he assisted in the commercial department at Weymouth during the latter days of his playing career.
He then moved back to his hometown club Bath City to become the Commercial Manager and stayed for 10 years, even reviving his playing career playing a few games for them in the Southern League. When Yeovil Town stepped in he could see the potential in South Somerset and set about a task that would lead to him being one of the most successful Commercial Managers in non league football.
For 21 years Alan was the face, and voice, of Yeovil Town. Businesses near and far were persuaded to sponsor the club or advertise in one way or another. Matchdays saw Alan on the microphone, although the power in his voice meant that the assistance of amplification was not always necessary in the Vice Presidents lounge!
He officially retired from the club in October 2002, just before they entered the Football League, although he acted as a consultant for some time after that, as well as taking his seat in the main stand, where he watched his team take the Conference title.
Alan's retirement saw him stay in Somerset, meaning that he kept in touch with those who he had established friendships with, throughout his life. He was particularly popular with club sponsors and atrons from the 1980s and 1990s, who he treated not only as business partners, but as friends. As such he was always spoken about highly at the club by those of that era.
Our sincere condolences to his wife Jane, his son Andrew and all of the Skirton family. He will most certainly be missed.
SKIRTON, Alan Frederick Graham
Born 23rd January 1939 Bath, Somerset
Died May 2019, aged 80
West Twerton Youth Club, Bath
Bristol City (amateur)
1956–1960 Bath City 144/44
1960–1966 Arsenal 145/53
1966–1968 Blackpool 77/25
1968–1971 Bristol City 78/14
1971–1972 Torquay United 38/7
1972 Durban City (RSA)
1974–1975 Bath City
Arsenal signed him for £5,000 in January 1959 but he soon contracted pleurisy and was out of action for eighteen months. He finally made his debut against Burnley on 20th August 1960. and shared the right wing position with Danny Clapton before making the position his own the following season when he was the club's top scorer with 19 goals.
After the signing of Johnny MacLeod in the summer of 1962, Skirton was switched to the left wing, where he played for the next four seasons, albeit irregularly, as Arsenal manager Billy Wright preferred to field only one winger. The emergence of George Armstrong also meant Skirton's place was under threat, and Skirton shared duties with Armstrong for his final two seasons at the club.
Skirton became the first Arsenal player to score a goal in a European match at Highbury, against Danish club, Staevnet on 22nd October 1963. However, Wright's successor, Bertie Mee, was looking to youth and after playing the first two matches of the 1966–67 season, Skirton signed for Blackpool on 12th September 1966 for £65,000.
Skirton scored on his debut for Blackpool five days later, ironically at Highbury in a 1–1 draw, but his goals couldn't save them from relegation.
In 1967–68 Blackpool missed out on promotion on goal average. After 17 games of 1968–69 manager Stan Mortensen replaced him with Ronnie Brown on the right wing and this allowed Skirton to return to the West Country where he joined Bristol City for £15,000 on 20th November 1968.
He went on to play for Torquay United, South African club Durban City, Weymouth and Bath City.
(This post was edited by John Treleven on May 13, 2019, 7:12 AM)