Back in early summer, Danny Greaves became the third longest serving Frome Town manager of all time, edging ahead of the four-year reign of Andy Crabtree.
Number two on the list is Derek Brain, whose eight year and three-month stint in the Badgers Hill hotseat was covered a few weeks ago.
Eclipsing him by just a single month is former Bath City captain and left back Doug Hayward who was appointed player-manager on New Year's Day 1959 in the middle of a calamitous season.
The Robins were bottom of Western League Division One with just three points and no wins while crowds, which regularly broke four figures for much of the decade, were down to the 400 mark.
His first five games in charge were all lost and after an 11-1 thumping at Dorchester, the first league win eventually came in March, but relegation was a certainty a long time before that as they finished rock bottom with just a dozen points and 140 goals conceded.
Rumours that the Western League was going to disband Division Two meant that promotion the following season was vital and although Frome lead the pack by December, they could not maintain it and finished fourth.
There was silverware, however, in the form of the Subsidiary Cup, introduced to pad out a meagre 26 league fixtures and they reached the final by topping their group where they would meet Weston-super-Mare.
The away leg was won 2-1 with goals from John McManus and Derrick Baber and three days later, before a sizeable Badgers Hill crowd, a goalless draw ensured the trophy would be presented to skipper Andy Oliphant.
But the joy was short lived for along with serious money worries and with the Western League reverting to one division, they had no option but to drop into the Wiltshire Premier League, where The Reserves had been competing.
It was a chance for Hayward to take stock and offload a number of the paid players and the new look side took rather well to county football, missing out on the 1960-61 title by a single point before finishing third the following year.
With the team built around Roy Bartlett and ex Bristol Rovers pro Tony Gough, the feelgood factor was back and the addition of Shepton Mallet strike duo Mike Butt and Terry Allen, who would notch over 80 goals between them that term, helped clinch the 1963 title on goal average and a welcome return to the Western League.
By now, Hayward’s own appearances on the pitch were few and far between and many wondered if his side could cope with the step up in class. They got there gradually, the Badgers Hill faithful having to wait until December for a first home win, but a respectable 15th place was achieved in the first year back.
The 1964-65 campaign began well with top spot briefly occupied in October and although they had to finally settle for mid table, a concerted effort to improve finances saw the club out of debt for the first time in many years.
Sixth place in a tough division was achieved the following season, the club’s highest position to date in the topflight of the Western League along with their best FA Cup run under Hayward where they fell in the Third Qualifying Round to all-conquering big-spending Welton Rovers who would win the league without losing a game.
Frome’s star player at the time was Rod Adams, a speedy left winger and he was signed by Bournemouth for the princely sum of £250 and a pre-season friendly and he would later be joined by keeper Kim Book at the Division Three club.
Hayward’s final campaign in charge, 1966-67, saw the money problems creep back and a final mid table position after an encouraging start with, unusually, just a single draw in forty league fixtures.
It did end on a high, however, in the Somerset Professional Cup (now Premier Cup) where a thrilling 3-0 semi-final victory over Bridgwater earned a two legged final against Yeovil Town.
Goals from Len Gunning and Alan Margary (penalty) gave The Robins a surprise 2-1 triumph at Badgers Hill to set up a tense second leg at Huish where Yeovil led 1-0 until four minutes from time when Barrie Simmons, signed initially as a teenager after impressing in a Frome British Legion seven-a side tournament, thumped home the winner from 20 yards, prompting a joyous pitch invasion at the final whistle.
It was a fitting climax to Doug Hayward’s lengthy time in charge which was never dull and yielded three trophies and after the early turbulence, he stabilized the club and left it in a far better state than when he was first handed the managerial reins.
Summary of his record……
Season Division Position
1958-59 Western League One 19th (Appointed 1st Jan) Relegated
1959-60 Western League Two 4th Won Subsidiary Cup
1960-61 Wilts Premier League 2nd
1961-62 Wilts Premier League 3rd
1962-63 Wilts Premier League CHAMPS Re-elected back to Western League
1963-64 Western League 15th
1964-65 Western League 11th
1965-66 Western League 6th FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
1966-67 Western League 12th Won Somerset Professional Cup
With thanks to Kerry Miller’s history book ‘The Boys on the Hill’ and Barrie Simmons.