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  • Phil Bater

Senior Reds Bulletin

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

One of the reasons we started the Bulletin twelve months ago was to encourage the sharing of memories. This issue is a good example of what we’d hoped to achieve, with significant memories being recalled by Steve Manuel, Dave Phillips and Phil Wright. We’d like to hear yours, be it relating to a memorable game, favourite player or special occasion.

We now know that Exeter City will face Leicester City in the 4th round of the FA Youth Cup, with City having home advantage. Leicester beat Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 last Friday and, at the time of writing, we wait to hear on which date the game will be played. We hope it’ll be streamed for us to watch, as previous games have been. Statistics show that Ollie Watkins has hit the woodwork seven times this season – that’s the highest by any player in the Premier League during this current campaign Things can move quickly in football. In our last issue, I mentioned that former Grecian Matt Gill had been placed in charge of Ipswich Town following the departure of Paul Lambert. Just 24 hours after I typed that, Paul Cook was appointed as the new manager. Over at Oldham, Keith Curle has become their new manager, a move which sees him become their 8th manager since 2018! Lockdowns have seen people take up new hobbies and challenges, return to old ones, learn new skills or simply catch up on those jobs that kept getting put off.

Stuart Fishleigh and Vic Morgan have both taken up energetic challenges – Stuart on his bike and Vic running. Meanwhile Dave Phillips, a top athlete himself, has derived hours of pleasure sorting through his significant collection of memorabilia, and we’re grateful to him for sharing some of those memories with us.

I've taken on a "virtual" challenge of running from Lands End to John O' Groats, 874 miles. Sue is very encouraging - I think she enjoys the peace and quiet whilst I'm out. Having completed a run, I simply go onto the appropriate website, log in my mileage that day and move along the map. Since starting on 5th January, I've covered 335 miles and, ironically, reached Walsall on 7th March, which was exactly 12 months to the day since we were there for the final City game of last season before the first lockdown. If you’ve taken up a new hobby, learnt a new skill or simply found an enjoyable way to pass the time during lockdown, please feel free to let us know. Here’s a quick question:

As I type this (on Sunday, March 7), Exeter City have scored three or more goals in eight League Two games this season. How many of those eight opponents can you name?

The answer is at the end of this newsletter, as are the answers to our regular feature, ED'S QUIZ. Here’s the latest batch of questions from Ed. 1) Which former City player made a record breaking 516 appearances for the club but no testimonial was staged for him?

2) City’s last major Cup Final win (not including the Devon Bowl) was way back in 1934. It was the Third Division South Cup. Who did they beat 1-0 in the Final?

3) Where have an entire City team been arrested after bathing in the sea?

4) Name three ex-City players who were born in Budleigh Salterton?

5) For which City player did the club receive a then world record fee when he was sold? What was the fee and which club paid it?

As I say, the answers are at the end of this newsletter.


In relation to Exeter City, I remember February 2019 fondly for two reasons. Firstly, an interesting and very enjoyable day at SJP on the second of the month. I'd booked myself onto the stadium tour (which was well described in a recent edition of this bulletin).

We heard about the history of Exeter City and St James Park, visited the boardroom, hospitality areas, museum, the recently opened changing rooms and then went into the security room for an explanation from the team there of their role on a matchday. It was really well presented by our volunteer guide and I'd thoroughly recommend the tour to anyone who's never done one before, or not done one for a while.

The main reason for the timing of me doing the tour that day was that it enabled me to take some time looking around the newly opened and impressive Stagecoach Adam Stansfield Stand (having previously spent many seasons watching from the old grandstand) before I took my seat for the first time, to watch us send Paul Tisdale's MK Dons packing on his first return to SJP. As I said earlier, an interesting and very enjoyable day. Secondly, a few days later in February 2019, I was reading Exeweb (one of the independent online ECFC fan forums) and I saw a post promoting a new podcast about Exeter City. I listened to it and thought it was really good so have carried on listening to it and now almost two years and 70 plus episodes later The Big Bank Theory Podcast is still going strong.

The podcast is presented by Jon and Dan who, as far as I know, are just supporters like the rest of us. They produce an episode, lasting about 40 minutes, most weeks. In it they chat about the previous game/s, preview the upcoming game/s but often go off on some strange and amusing tangents in the process! Just like most other football fans I suppose.

The podcast is a great example of two fans showing their support for our club in their own way. Before writing this piece, I dropped them a line to check they were agreeable with me writing about their podcast here. They were fine about it and were interested and complimentary about the way that Senior Reds are keeping connected through our bulletins in the absence of being able to meet in person. I hope that if you weren't aware of the Big Bank Theory Podcast before, you have a look for it on anyone of the several podcast platforms it's available (be careful when you type the podcast's name though to avoid anything related to a popular TV programme with a very similar name, which I would imagine contains nothing about Exeter City!). If you do tune into the Big Bank Theory Podcast you'll be listening to what I think is a great effort by fellow ECFC supporters. The F.A. Cup 3rd round draw in January which paired us against Sheffield Wednesday gave me the opportunity to reminisce, this time a little further back and in relation to my only visit to date to Hillsborough Stadium on May 7, 2011, and to watch a win that would secure our equal highest ever league finish. When the match started and up until half-time to say it was one way traffic (and not in our favour) would be an understatement. In fact, most of us travelling Grecians were relieved and somewhat surprised that we were only one down at the break. To be honest, there wasn't much sign of improvement in the second half, but at least we stayed in the game at one nil.

Then on 76 minutes Daniel Nardiello scored an equalizer at our end and hopes of a point started to flicker. In the 89th minute, with me assuming the referee was able to hear my polite but repeatedsuggestions that time was up, Troy Archibald-Henville intercepted a pass on the halfway line. What happened next is one of my most memorable moments in 40 years of following Exeter City.

As Troy came trundling forward towards the goal that we were behind, the Wednesday defence parted like a scene from a biblical epic. As Troy got closer and closer to us, with a rapidly decreasing number of defenders in front of him, we and I think he could scarcely believe his Maradona like run. When he then coolly slotted the ball beyond Nicky Weaver to effectively guarantee us the three points, it was hard to know who was most surprised, the Wednesday fans, us or Troy himself.

But there was one further surreal moment to come just a minute after Troy's wonder goal (which by the way has a fan video of it on Youtube if you don't believe me). In the vast distance of Hillsborough, what looked to me like a shortish, bald Exeter City substitute trotted on the pitch.

For a while no-one around me could work out who it was, until someone realized that our Manager had brought himself on to help us see out a famous victory. In an after-match interview, he said that this had been his first appearance in the league since he turned out for us against Scarborough 13 years previously. Another record apparently. Sometimes when following Exeter City, you really couldn't make it up and I for one love it. Regards, Steve ANOTHER LOOK AT MT SCRAPBOOKS with Dave Phillips ALAN PINKNEY A picture, reproduced below, published in the Express and Echo a week after the Manchester United F. A. Cup 3rd round tie in January 1969 caught my eye. Alan Pinkney is standing in a rather empty St. James Park wearing the light and dark blue quartered shirt of St Luke’s College.

That season City did not have a reserve team and St Luke’s often played at St. James Park. The caption suggests he's reflecting on seven days before when he played for Exeter City v. Manchester United in front of 18 500. That day the Match of the Day cameras had recorded Alan Banks' opening goal and Johnny Corr putting the ball in the net for what could (should?) have been our second, before United went on to win 3-1. In those days, if I remember correctly, only highlights from one or possibly two matches were shown. Alan Pinkney was a bright prospect who'd already played a few games for Exeter, as an amateur, when St. Luke’s did not have matches or special permission was granted. His first was away at Darlington in February 1968. He made a total of 7 league appearances, five in '67/68 and two the following season and two FA Cup matches. He scored once, at Lincoln in a 1-1 draw, April '68.

He played in the FA Cup 1st round reply at Newport, on the Monday, after a 0-0 draw at St James Park just two days earlier. Both Alan Banks and John Mitten were injured, leaving only 12 available players. According to the Echo he was called up at short notice that day after racing for a mile against a rugby player in a challenge to show footballers are fitter than rugby players. The report says he won the race by 50 yards and had a good game having a part in one of the goals. He was called up v. Manchester United, as City were still having problems with many injuries. Alan Banks' fitness was in doubt all week. As far as I can remember Alan Pinkney had a decent game. Although, it has been suggested Dermot Curtis should have played as he had more experience. Perhaps manager, Frank Broome preferred the energy of youth. Tony Phillips' City Notebook in the Express and Echo Football Final, published in the evening after the Manchester match, featured a piece about Alan who was due to finish his three years of teacher training at St Lukes that June. Tony Phillips said he has two alternatives: either go back to London and look for a job and see what happens with football or make football a priority, stay in Exeter and try to find a job in or around the City.

Alan Pinkney is quoted as saying, "I love football, but I do not want to make any decision that means I will struggle for a career once I finish football". A quick check of the records show he signed for Crystal Palace in July 1969. I don't know if he combined that with teaching in London and would be very grateful to anyone who is able to fill in any of the gaps in this story. Soon after starting college at nearby Eltham, I made the effort to get to Selhurst Park and see him play in a F. L. Cup match v. Aston Villa. At the time Crystal Palace were in the First Division, Villa in the Third. I thought he played well. According to a newspaper cutting I kept with the programme, he was brought down, winning a penalty, which was converted by Tambling to put them into a two goal lead. However Villa fought back and earned a reply.

He stayed at Crystal Palace until 1974, making 24 appearances. While there, he had 12 games on loan at Fulham, from January 1973. No goals for Palace or Villa in the league, but he got a number in the Football Combination for the reserves. On leaving Palace he played 6 games for Wimbledon in 1974, scoring 3 times. Senior Reds' Selwyn Rice was at Wimbledon then and remembers him joining for a short while. After leaving Palace, Alan went to South Africa where he played for Cape Town City. Unfortunately, I've not found any details of appearances for them or anything about his teaching career. As mentioned earlier, I'd be pleased to know if anyone can add details. He was born on January 1st, 1947 which makes him 74. I hope he's well and offer best wishes should he become aware of my "jottings". Dave Phillips.

Alan Banks recalls Alan Pinkney "While here, he scored one goal away to Lincoln City. He made 7 league appearances and had 2 cup games. It was a shock to the players when he was picked for the Man Utd game and Dermot Curtis was left out. He was an amateur studying at St Luke's College, I think he was training to be a teacher. The one thing I remember about Alan is that he was very quick on the field and it was him who crossed the ball for me to head the first goal in the Man Utd game. I don't really have personal memories of Alan, he did not train with us I think he trained of an evening, he may have come in a couple of days before the Utd game. His time was mainly associated with his degree of course".

Dave supplied the above cutting, taken from the local newspaper. It shows “a despondent” Alan Pinkney playing at St James Park for St Luke’s just 10 days after facing Manchester United in front of 18,500 people. At the moment this picture was taken, the referee was threatening to abandon the game against Frome Town due to a lost ball! Fortunately, another ball was found and St Luke’s went on to win their first win of the season, 5-2. ON MY BOOKSHELF – with Dave Phillips

My review of Football's Black Pioneers prompted me to get Steve Stacey's book back off the shelf and read it properly. After the brilliant evening he gave us at St James Park which seems like an age ago, I confess to only "dipping in" and checking out the chapter on Exeter City before now. He writes some nice things about being in Devon. He was signed by John Newman from under the nose of the John Charles at Merthyr Tydfil. He'd been released by Bristol City who had picked up his contract from Ipswich Town. He gives John credit for not playing him "all around the park" and says the training was "interesting and thoughtful". When numbers were an indication of position, during season '66-67, at Wrexham, he wore 8 different shirts: 2,3,4,5,6,7,9 and 10. He was a good goalkeeper too, more about that in the book. An excellent read, interesting social history of growing up immediately post - war as an African - American and of football before academies, any real coaching, mobiles, agents and proper discussions with players about transfers and contracts. I'm left feeling very sorry that he didn't fulfil his full potential as a player due to persistent injuries - his hamstring gets a chapter of its own! But, what a life he's had?! He says being the first African-American to have played professional football in the UK. "may not mean anything to anybody, but it does to my family and I." Adding, when he was playing it was not an issue, but after "contemplation", he's now proud of this fact. Something else he should be proud of is his work for football in Western Australia and efforts to trace his roots in Mississippi. I found that section very moving, a bit uncomfortable to read, but glad he wrote about it. It had been an honour to meet Steve and hear some of his story from his own lips. After reading the book, I'm now in even more in awe of him. Dave Phillips.

THE 'UPS AND DOWNS' OF A FOOTBALL SUPPORTER… by Phil Wright Part Nine | Season 1977/78 concludes and I return to Devon.

I arrived back in Devon for good on 29th October 1977, still feeling delicate after the send-off I received by work colleagues the day before, and smarting from a 4-0 thrashing at Swindon on the way home.

Before I resume my tale of a long- suffering City supporter, I shall mention an event that would seriously affect the number of City games I would watch in the future. My friend Phil (the very same one I was responsible for detaining in Brixton police station, meaning we would miss the first half of Arsenal v Manchester Utd, who later got retribution by taking me to his home town Southend to watch a City defeat) convinced me it would be good idea to get contact lenses. The London Refraction Hospital at Elephant & Castle was a teaching establishment so if you didn’t mind having 5 students staring into your eyes each time you had an appointment, you could get them at a reduced rate. So after about 10 appointments I was able to see without using glasses for the first time in 15 years. I had a cunning plan that I could start playing football again when I returned home and actually see who was on my team. From the bustle of London I returned to living with my parents in Farringdon, farming country where the nearest pub, The White Horse, was a mile away. It was not too inconvenient as I only normally walked to it 5 nights a week. When I took my place on the railway sleepers back in the cowshed, City were in 17th place in their first season back in the 3rd tier… and that is where they finished up. I am happy to say that my jinx had worn off as I only witnessed one defeat in the 14 games I saw during the rest of that season. A Bobby Hodge penalty was enough to see of Bradford City in my first game back. Unusually for that time, Bradford had two black players in their ranks, both hailing from the West Indies. Ces Podd was a loyal servant to the club and holds the record for his 574 appearances and he also played for and later managed St Kitts & Nevis. The other was Joe Cooke who hailed from the Leeward Islands. He was to join City during 1981 for £10k from Oxford, but played just half a season before going back to Bradford. I witnessed a couple of FA Cup games. Newport were beaten 4-2 in a 1st round replay. In those days, I rarely travelled away, and obviously thought Minehead was too far so I missed the 3-0 win. Top flight Wolves were held to a 2-2 draw. Lee Roberts and Harry Holman had put us in front, but a goal 5 minutes from time denied us a scalp. We lost the replay 3-1. As the season drew to an end, Woodbury Salterton were obviously getting short of players No doubt a chance encounter one evening in the Diggers Rest with some of my team mates from earlier times had encouraged me to make a comeback and try out my contact lenses. So City had to do without my support for a few games although I was still able to witness evening matches, including a fine 4-1 against Tranmere with goals from Peter Hatch, John Delve and two from Keith Bowker. Well, that was due to be the end of my memories of watching football up to the time I returned from London, thinking we would be all back at SJP watching City and having monthly Senior Reds meetings. How wrong could I have been! I had better keep going. The summer of 1978 witnessed the start of another sporting career, Phil Wright – cricketer, and this is still going strong 42 years later. During the 1977 jubilee year, my village Farringdon had played neighbours Aylesbeare in a mixed cricket match as part of the festivities. Encouraged by this, inhabitants of both villages were keen to play a ‘real’ game of cricket against each other, so the following July brother Tim and I conscripted 9 more able bodied players, some having never played before. It did include two other brothers but we were unable to use Bob the sheepdog (see below). Having been given permission to use the field at the Farringdon House approved school for ‘wayward girls’, battle ensued.

I had not played in a cricket match since school, but the family were often to be found playing in the nearest field where the grass was not too long. With the farmer’s permission, the petrol lawn mower was taken for a ride in a wheelbarrow to ensure we had a reasonable wicket. With sometimes only a couple of fielders, Bob my Dad’s sheepdog became a valuable fielder and you could not start another run once he had the ball in his mouth. Bowling with a slobbery ball was a trifle difficult though.

I digressed…. Back at Farringdon House in this first game, Aylesbeare were dismissed for 50 (with Phil Wright taking 2-6!) In reply, Farringdon lost wickets regularly, but 16 year old brother Tim held the innings together with 19 not out as Farringdon reached 51-7. Sadly, we lost the use of the field when the school closed in 1984 but the team limped on as nomads for a few more years. The good thing was that cricket did not interfere with watching City as I was not only captain, but also fixtures secretary so ensured we did not have games on Saturdays! With the summer of 1978 to get fit, I was back playing football at the start of the next season so my appearances at SJP for 1978/79 would be limited to mainly evening matches, but how long would my playing career last this time?

Quick Question Answer: Three or more goals have been scored by Exeter City in League 2 this season against: Scunthorpe (h), Colchester (h), Grimsby (a), Cheltenham (a), Tranmere (h), Stevenage (h), Bradford City (h), Leyton Orient (h). ED'S QUIZ - The answers:

1) It was Arnold Mitchell who played 516 games for City but didn’t get a testimonial. 2) City beat Torquay United 1-0 in the Third Division South Cup in 1934. 3) It was in Santos, Brazil during the 1914 tour that the City team were arrested for bathing in the sea, as they were unaware it was banned. 4) John Wingate, Nicky Marker and Frank Howarth were all born in Budleigh Salterton. Does anyone know of any other former City players born in Budleigh? 5) The world record transfer fee was £5,000, and it was paid to City by Bolton Wanderers for Dick Pym. Finally, this weekend we’ve seen the Final of the 2019/20 EFL Trophy, (and just how close did City get in that unforgettable semi-final in the cold and wet at Portsmouth last March) and the Final of the same competition for the 2020/21 season.

Those two games featured four different teams, but in our next issue we hear how Athletic Club (Bilbao) reached the final of a Spanish tournament in both years. Also, there’ll be a feature on football violence, which will bring back a few unpleasant memories.

In the meantime, thank you to Steve Manuel, Dave Phillips, Phil Wright and Ed Lee for their contributions to this issue. All articles are gratefully received. Thanks, and stay safe. Phil

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