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  • Nick Hawker

How the Exeter City Supporters' Trust works and what it does...

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

In a recent article for Devon Live, Chairman Nick Hawker explained that the club is run by the supporters for the supporters...



Since the announcement and subsequent collapse of the European Super League there has been an increased interest in our ownership model. Most people want to know – ‘how does it work?’


From opposition directors to commentator John Motson, away fans, and, remarkably, one

popular TV company, who even asked if we vote on what players we sign – I might mention that to Matt…


We’ve come a long way since 2000. From a small group of dedicated folks doing whatever they could to benefit the club, to becoming majority shareholders in 2003, and today, holding a majority voting position on the club board.


Despite these step changes one thing hasn’t changed. The ‘Trust’ should always exist to ensure that the club is operated and run for the benefit of our members and supporters, and for the community we reside in.


And that is how it works – supporters at the heart of the club’s decision making, volunteers who constantly demonstrate the distance people will go for something they believe in, and a team of people at both St James Park and the Clifford Hill training ground who buy into our ethos. Run by the supporters for the supporters.



The Trust will ensure though, that the club will always put the supporters first, balancing the desire for success with a sustainable financial model to prevent us from becoming the next team in crisis.


In recent years the performance of our Academy, in producing incredibly talented youngsters that grace all levels of the English leagues, and even our national team, have helped enormously in allowing us to compete with opposition teams, while still improving conditions around the business, at both SJP and the Cliff Hill.


It may not seem that interesting, but as examples, we have recently created bore holes to significantly reduce the cost of watering our pitches at both venues, we have purchased a big screen scoreboard that supporters will see erected soon, and Matt Taylor has his best playing budget during his time as manager. There’s more…


Decisions on the use of income are made carefully and fulfil what we believe to be our obligations to our members – looking after their investment, improving its performance, making a bit more of match-day, and of course, pursuing success.



Whatever happens at Exeter City Football Club, be it in the boardroom, on the pitch, or on the terraces, we must never neglect our core ethos.


Because our members must have the opportunity to have a say in the running of their club, we have to be a broad church that appeals to people on many different levels.


Ultimately though, we really do own our football club, and with that comes all of the responsibilities that any club carries.


This can mean making changes that may not always be welcome, but that offer us the best chance of success. It’s always a balancing act and I can only assure people that any decision that impacts on our supporters is carefully and thoroughly debated.


The members may not get an individual vote in which centre forward we sign, but the Trustees that are elected do get to approve the overall playing budget via representation on the club board, so as an organisation, we certainly have a say.


Every year the Trust commits £100,000 to the club, often more through sponsorships, gifts and loans. To put this in perspective, this might be the cost of an established centre forward, or several first-year professionals.


In addition to this we sponsor the Exeter City Community Trust through the Exeter City Women’s team and the Junior Grecians, and we support local charity Exeter Community Initiatives.



Our members’ contributions make a significant difference to the team, but also to the local community, of which we’re part. At present the Trust boasts a membership of around 3,500 but we’d love it to be more.


Annual membership costs a minimum of £24, and you get a great deal – 10% off purchases in the club shop, 10% off club bar purchases on non-match days, plus 20% discount from our friends at RGB Building Supplies (Marsh Barton, Exeter branch) and 10% off purchases from front of shirt sponsors Carpetright.


If you’d like to find out more contact our membership secretary at trust.membership@ecfc.co.uk, we’ll happily answer any questions you have.


An additional 1,000 members could put another first year professional on the pitch.

Finally, I would like to thank all of our members for the support they show year in and year out, but especially this year, when there has been so much else to concern ourselves with.


I really hope they’ve enjoyed returning to St James Park, and I look forward to speaking to many of them soon.



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