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Exeter City
Exerter City Club Badge
Full name Exeter City Football Club
Nickname(s) The Grecians
Founded 1904 (or 1890 as Exeter United F.C.)
Ground St James Park,
(Capacity: 8,830 [1])
Manager Paul Tisdale
League League One
2008–09 League Two, 2nd
Home colours
Away colours

Exeter City Football Club (pronounced /ˈɛksɪtər ˈsɪti/) is an English football club, based in Exeter, which was a member of the Football League from 1920 to 2003, and rejoined the league for the 2008–09 season after five seasons in the Conference National. They achieved automatic promotion to League One for the 2009–10 season at the first attempt.

Exeter City was founded in 1904 and began playing on an old field used for fattening pigs, St James Park (not to be confused with the homes of Newcastle United or Brackley Town). Exeter remain at St James Park to this day. The club is nicknamed "The Grecians". For the 2009-10 season City's home kit is supplied by Carbrini Sportswear and it consists of red and white shirts, white shorts, and white socks[2].



The match against Brazil

Early history

Exeter City FC was formed from two predecessor clubs: - Exeter United and St Sidwell's United. Exeter United was a football club from Exeter, Devon, that played between 1890 and 1904. In 1904, Exeter United lost 3-1 to local rivals St Sidwell's United and after the match, it was agreed that the two clubs should become one. The new team took the name 'Exeter City' and continued to play at Exeter United's ground, St James Park, where Exeter City still play today. The team was formed from the cricket team of the same name and were one of the first football teams with the moniker 'United'. St Sidwell's United (which had also been known as St Sidwell's Wesleyans and St Sidwell's Old Boys) was a club that had formed from the regulars who frequented the Foresters Inn in Sidwell Street, Exeter; although the public house was always known as the Drum and Monkey. The team played in St Sidwell's old colours of green and white.

On 10 September 1904, Exeter City played its first ever competitive match: - a 2-1 victory at St James over 110th Battery of the Royal Artillery, in the East Devon League. The attendance was 600, and the winning goal scored by Sid Thomas, who was to serve the club in various capacities for 70 years. City topped the East Devon League with 11 wins, 2 draws, 1 defeat in its 1st season, and transferred to the Plymouth & District League for next 3 seasons.

In 1908, Exeter City AFC became a limited company. City became a full-time professional team, and applied successfully for membership of the Southern League, replacing Tottenham Hotspur. A wooden grandstand was erected, and the club entered into a leasing arrangement over the ground.

On 3 October 1908, City got its record highest FA Cup win: - Exeter City 14 Weymouth 0. The match was in the 1st Qualifying Round. James ("Daisy") Bell scored 6 goals, and 10 of Exeter's 14 goals came in the first half.

City changed to its current colours of red and white in 1910. This was after having had a poor start to the season (only 2 wins out of 11). City abandoned its supposedly unlucky green and white kit, and turned out for the first time in red and white striped shirts at home to West Ham United on 12 November. The result of the game was a 0-0 draw, but 5 consecutive League wins came for the club in December.

City made an historic tour of South America in 1914, during which time it played 8 matches against teams in Argentina and Brazil. The Brazil national football team is believed to have played its first ever game against City on 27 July, at the Laranjeiras stadium, Rio de Janeiro, home of Fluminense Football Club. The result of the match is disputed[3], with some sources claiming City lost 2-0[4][5], whilst others claiming a 3-3[6][7] draw. That was the last match of the tour, which yielded 5 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats. The only other loss was in a match that kicked off 12 hours after the players got off the boat.

Exeter City was invited by the Football League to become founder members of the Third Division in 1920.

Exeter City vs Altrincham, a Conference National fixture played on 19 August 2006.

Football League (1920-2003)

City's historic first match in the Football League took place on Saturday 28 August 1920, when Brentford was the visiting team to St James Park. Exeter won 3-0.

In 1931, City reached the sixth round of the FA Cup, losing a replay 4-2 to Sunderland in front of its largest ever home gate. Fifty years later, City reached the sixth round again, but lost 2-0 to eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur. Earlier Exeter had beaten Newcastle United 4-0 having beaten Leicester City in the previous round.

City's only major trophy was the Fourth Division Championship which it won in 1990. In that season, City won 20 league games at St James Park, and remained undefeated in 31 home matches, including dramatic draws against Norwich City in the FA Cup and Sunderland in the League Cup 4th round, both of which featured late equalisers for the visitors.

The end of the 1970s and the very early 1980s were regarded as City's most successful spell in the Third Division, including a finish of 8th in 1979-80 and an FA Cup run the following season. Star players included Tony Kellow, John Delve and David Pullar.

Following that promotion, City rarely shone at the higher level. The departure of manager Terry Cooper and key players such as Shaun Taylor, Richard Dryden, Clive Whitehead, Brian McDermott and Steve Neville left new boss Alan Ball to pick up the pieces. There were some successes under the former World Cup winner - including winning both games against local rivals Plymouth in the clubs' first derbies for a decade - but Ball left for Southampton and the returning Cooper was unable to stop Exeter avoiding relegation.

Back in the bottom division, City struggled for several seasons, with chairman Ivor Doble taking the club into administration and starting a chain of events which resulted in the sale of the club's ground for what was considered by many to be a very low sum.

In 2003, City finished 23rd in Division Three and was relegated to the Conference National - Exeter was the first club to suffer automatic relegation without finishing bottom of the league. Exeter won its last game but was still relegated as Swansea City's victory over Hull City left the Grecians one point short of safety.

Conference Era (2004-2008)

Following relegation to the Conference, the club was taken over by the Exeter City Supporters Trust. In May 2007 two of the Directors who had been in charge during season 2002-2003 were convicted of fraudulent trading at the club, John Russell receiving a prison sentence and Mike Lewis a community service sentence.

Several million pounds in debt and with no big investor in sight, the Trust kept the club going through fund-raising activities amongst rank and file supporters. Complex legal arguments with both Inland Revenue and football authorities meant that City's first season of non-league football was plagued by off the field uncertainty.

In 2004, a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) was put in place to reduce the club's debts. Through the club's "Red or Dead" scheme, hundreds of fans pledged at least £500 each to fund the CVA repayments, but the FA Cup proved to be the income boost the Grecians had needed, as City was drawn Manchester United away in the third round of the FA Cup. City drew 0-0 at Old Trafford in January 2005, gaining £653,511 as City's share of receipts from the near 70,000 attendance. Further income from a televised replay - won 2-0 by United - coupled with ongoing fund-raising and unpaid work from the club's supporters helped the club to repay its debts, and the CVA was cleared in December 2005.

2004 also saw the club's centenary. In May 2004 a friendly fixture was arranged against a Brazilian masters team at St James Park, a celebration of City's South American tour of 1914. The Brazilian team, containing such notable players as Careca and Dunga, won 1–0.

The Exeter team celebrates after the 2008 Conference National playoff final win.

City's first team finished the 2006–07 season in fifth place, qualifying for the play-offs. After beating Oxford United on penalties in the semi-final, City met Morecambe at Wembley in the final, where it lost 2–1 despite taking an early lead. Exeter reached the play-off final in the following season; this time Exeter looked to be heading out of the play-offs after losing the first leg of the semi-final at home to local rivals Torquay United 2-1 but came back to win the second leg 4-1 with 3 goals in the last 20 minutes. In the final Exeter met Cambridge United in front of a Conference play-off record crowd of 42,511, winning 1-0 with a goal from Rob Edwards, earning promotion to League Two.[8]

League Two (2008-2009)

The club followed on from its success in the Conference by finishing as runners up to Brentford in League Two with a goal from Richard Logan helping Exeter to win promotion to League One with a 1-0 win away to Rotherham United on the last day of the season.

The club remains owned and run by its fans, through the Exeter City Supporters Trust.


The club is nicknamed The Grecians. This name has a disputed history, with many theories being proposed for its origin. No-one is sure of the definitive answer to why but one source suggests that the club voted for the name in 1908 because of its association with St Sidwells parish.[9] People living in the parish of St Sidwells in Exeter have been known as "Greeks" or "Grecians" for many centuries.[10] This is possibly due to the parish's location outside the city walls. In Homer's epic poem Iliad the Greek forces laid siege to the walls of Troy. The association possibly arose because of rivalries between city boys and St Sidwellians during the annual beating the bounds.[11] It has also been suggested that there was a group of children in St Sidwells who were referred to as the 'Greasy Un's' and another possible, but unlikely source for the name was from clock that hung outside a jeweller's shop in Sidwell Street, close to the ground, which had the word 'Grecians' engraved or painted on the face.[citation needed]

A further possible source for the name is that it is a corruption of Caerwysg, the Welsh word for Exeter (similar to the Cornish word Karesk).[citation needed] Citizens would have been called Caer Iscuns which became Grecians.

Famous players, managers and fans

Famous players who have played for Exeter City include Cliff Bastin, who went on to play for Arsenal F.C. and England and goalkeeper Dick Pym, who went on to play for Bolton Wanderers F.C. and England. Other club legends included prolific 1930s striker Fred Whitlow, Arnold Mitchell, who played 495 games for City, Tony Kellow, City's record goalscorer, Ian Main, the gifted goalkeeper from the club's most successful years who died very young, Fred Binney and Darren Rowbotham in the 1980s and early 90s. Former England winger Lee Sharpe played four games for Exeter at the beginning of their 2002-03 Division Three campaign, scoring two goals.

After managing the club to a famous F.A. Cup Third Round draw at Old Trafford with Manchester United in 2005, Alex Inglethorpe left the club in June 2006 and Paul Tisdale was appointed. Past managers include the former England internationals Gerry Francis, Terry Cooper and the late Alan Ball. A moving tribute to Alan Ball was held at St James Park before City's Conference game against Southport, when Ball's name was again sung in Devon four days after his death.

In a survey published by the Professional Footballers' Association in December 2007, Alan Banks was listed as the all-time favourite player amongst Exeter City fans.

In May 2009 Paul Tisdale became Exeter's most successful manager by winning back-to-back promotions.

Famous fans include Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, Adrian Edmondson and Noel Edmonds has also been seen supporting Exeter City


  • FA Cup
    • Quarter-finalists - 1930-31, 1980–81
  • FA Devon St. Lukes Challenge Bowl (Incomplete)
    • Champions - 1953-54, 1954-55 (Shared), 1958–59, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1973–74, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2008–09
    • Runners-up - 1936-37, 1945–46, 1957–58, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1997–98, 2006–07


  • Largest league victory[13]
  • Record home attendance[14] - 20,984 vs. Sunderland, FA Cup Sixth Round Replay, 1931.


Tenure Manager Notes
1908–1922 England Arthur Chadwick
1923–1927 England Fred Mavin
1928–1929 England Dave Wilson
1929–1935 England Billy McDevitt
1935–1939 England Jack English
1945–1952 England George Roughton
1952–1953 England Norman Kirkman
1953–1957 England Norman Dodgin
1957–1958 England Bill Thompson
1958–1960 England Frank Broome
1960–1962 England Glen Wilson
Tenure Manager Notes
1962–1963 England Cyril Spiers
1963–1965 Wales Jack Edwards
1965–1966 England Ellis Stuttard
1966–1967 England Jack Basford
1967–1969 England Frank Broome Second tenure
1969–1976 England Johnny Newman
1977–1979 England Bobby Saxton
1979–1983 Wales Brian Godfrey
1983–1984 England Gerry Francis
1984–1985 England Jim Iley
1985–1987 England Colin Appleton
Tenure Manager Notes
1988–1991 England Terry Cooper
1991–1994 England Alan Ball
1994–1995 England Terry Cooper Second tenure
1995–2000 England Peter Fox
2000–2001 England Noel Blake
2001–2002 Wales John Cornforth
2002–2003 Scotland Neil McNab
2003 - 2003 England Gary Peters
2003–2004 Republic of Ireland Eamonn Dolan
2004–2006 England Alex Inglethorpe
2006–Present England Paul Tisdale


As of 12 March 2010.[15]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Wales GK Andy Marriott
2 England DF Steve Tully
3 Wales DF Richard Duffy
4 England MF Alex Russell
6 England DF Matt Taylor
7 England MF Ryan Harley
9 England FW Adam Stansfield
11 England DF Scott Golbourne
12 Republic of Ireland FW Barry Corr
14 France MF Bertie Cozic
15 Wales DF Rob Edwards
16 England FW Marcus Stewart
17 England MF Paul Tisdale (manager)
18 England MF Neil Saunders
No. Position Player
19 England FW Ben Watson
20 England FW Richard Logan
21 England MF James Dunne
22 England MF Liam Sercombe
25 England MF Chris Shephard
26 England DF Scott Bennett
27 England GK Paul Jones
28 England MF Joe Burnell
29 England DF Troy Archibald-Henville
30 Scotland MF David Noble
31 England FW James Norwood
45 Wales FW Stuart Fleetwood (on loan from Charlton Athletic)
48 England MF George Friend (on loan from Wolverhampton)
50 Canada FW Marcus Haber (on loan from West Bromwich Albion)

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
8 Scotland MF Manny Panther (at Morecambe)
10 Scotland FW Craig McAllister (at Rotherham United)
23 England DF Lewis Tasker (at Bridgwater Town)
24 England MF Elliot Frear (at Tiverton Town)


Traditionally, Exeter City's greatest rival is Plymouth Argyle, although it also has a friendly rivalry with local League Two side Torquay United.

Exeter City's last competitive game against Plymouth Argyle was held in 2002 at Home Park in a Division 3 fixture that Exeter City lost 3-0. The difference in leagues between the two clubs is now less than it has been in recent years (Argyle are currently only one division above Exeter) Exeter City's last competitive games against Torquay United were in the Conference play-off semi-finals. The first leg was held on Thursday 1 May 2008; Exeter lost to Torquay 2-1 at St James Park in front of over 8,200 fans. However, on Monday 5 May 2008 in the return leg at Plainmoor, Exeter beat Torquay 4-1 to clinch a 5-3 aggregate win for a place in the Conference National final for the second year in succession.

See also


  1. ^,,10436~1333645,00.html
  2. ^ "Exeter City 09/10 Carbrini Home Kit". Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  3. ^ "Spoonbender who took Michael Jackson to Exeter City is lining up Brazil for his next trick". The Independent. 31 August 2002. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Magic of Brazil comes to a corner of Devon". London: The Times. 31 May 2004. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "Grecians paved way despite kick in teeth". The Guardian. 31 May 2004. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  6. ^ "Exeter fix dream date against Brazil". The Daily Telegraph. 23 April 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  7. ^ "Brazil's past masters out-samba Exeter in 90-year rematch". The Independent. 31 May 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  8. ^ Report | Exeter City | Match
  9. ^,,10436,00.html
  10. ^ Southey's Common-Place Book. 4th Series. 21 July 1669. Exeter. (p380.)
  11. ^ Exeter Memories - St James' Park and Exeter City FC
  12. ^ English Auto Windscreens Shield 1999-2000 : Southern Final - retrieved 20 April 2009
  13. ^ a b "Football 1 - Teams - Exeter - ITV Sport". ITV. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "Exeter City - Club - FAQ's - FAQ". Exeter City FC. 9 March 2009.,,10436,00.html. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  15. ^ "Profiles". Exeter City F.C..,,10436~1740720,00.html. Retrieved 1 August 2009. 

External links


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