Senior Reds Bulletin
Updated: Apr 7
Our Zoom meeting earlier this week went very well, and thanks go to Martin Weiler and Pete Ferlie for acting as chair and host respectively. Our guest Jamie Cureton was excellent and gave us a real insight into his career, which of course is still ongoing with his current role being that of player-manager at Enfield.
We start this week with a note from Elaine Davis concerning the defibrillator which has now been installed at the training ground. You’ll recall that the Senior Reds, together with other Grecian Groups, made a contribution towards the purchase of this vital piece of equipment.
Thank you so much for your donation which helped to make it possible. Let's hope it never needs to be used. Take care, Elaine.
Now for some follow ups from recent articles, starting with Jimmy Giles and the Wolves home game: I can remember this game well - we were playing well when the Wolves supporters broke down the fence at the St James Road end, causing the game to be held up while the police sorted it out. We were leading 2-1 at the time and I think it definitely affected Exeter afterwards allowing them to equalise near the end of the game. I can’t remember too much about the replay except we lost 3–1. I think. My memory of the game was affected because as a boy I supported Wolves and often went to watch them, so I was a bit star struck playing at Molyneux !! Also, while playing for Charlton, I played at Millwall a few times and the crowds there definitely affected the away team with their behaviour. Take care, Jim
Dave Phillips follows up his own Wolves article by sharing a conversation with fellow Senior Red Stuart Board: WOLVES FOLLOWERS - I'm reluctant to call them fans. At least one person read my piece about crowd problems in the 70s. Stuart Board has been in contact to say, "I was also present at both the Exeter and Torquay matches and have no hesitation in saying the Torquay game was the most frightening experience I've ever had at a football match. I vividly remember Wolves supporters coming at us from three sides of the ground and us thinking how can we get out of this? " Dave also pointed out that Ollie Watkins has achieved even more fame:
We're all aware of Ollie Watkins' amazing season so far. Perhaps the icing on the cake is that he's been mentioned on The Archers (Radio 4). Roy Carter, a Villa fan, suggested his hat trick v. Liverpool be included as positive news in a time capsule for 2020... I own up to trying to catch all the episodes!
Next, Steve Manuel tells us about two more Dublin born players...
Like many others, I enjoy reading Ed's Quiz in each bulletin and I often learn something new because my experiences and memories of Exeter City don't go back beyond the 1980s.
However, he posed a question recently that I think I can contribute to, namely Exeter City players who were born in Dublin.
My wife is from Dublin and we've been many times, so I've always been interested in any connections between there and ECFC.
In addition to the three players Ed mentioned, I'd like to add the strangely similar sounding:
Glenn Cronin 2000-2006
Glen Crowe loan spells in 1997 and 1998
Ironically, after leaving Exeter both turned out for Dublin club Bohemians and on one of our visits, we saw Glen Crowe play for them at their home ground, Dalymount Park. He subsequently went on to win two full caps for the Republic of Ireland only four years after his second loan spell with Exeter.
1. Ollie Watkins was recently called into the England squad and played against San Marino. Name two other ex-City players who previously played for the England first team? 2. Which ex-City player was included in an England World Cup squad as a reserve player but didn’t travel to the tournament or play any matches for England? 3. Name four ex-City players who’ve played for the England Under 20 team? 4. Name six players who played for both Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers? 5. Name three City players who were born in Exmouth?
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF SUPPORTING THE CITY
My home was a good goal kicks length (give or take a yard or two) from St James’ Park. My earliest recollection of the City is as a very young boy lying in bed and hearing the noise of the crowd attending evening matches. I cannot recall the first match I attended but at a young age, and without the benefit of pocket money, a friend and I would stand outside the big gates at the St James Road end waiting for them to open up 15 minutes from the end of the game.
Thankfully there was no crowd segregation between home and away supporters back then as, apart from local derbies, how many supporters travelled to away games back then? Goodness knows how long it would have taken you to travel to the likes of Hartlepool, Darlington and Barrow back then!
So as some supporters were making their way out of the ground we would walk in and make our way through the crowd to the front railings to see out the end of the game, having the luxury of being back home within a couple of minutes of the game ending. Eventually with the benefit of pocket money I was then able to start attending matches on a regular basis from the late 1950s, seeing the likes of ‘Grandfather’ Dale running up and down the left wing.
Apart from the old Grandstand, it was an open ground then and I used to take the opportunity to switch ends at half time to be at the end where City were attacking. Sadly, in my first few years of supporting the City, apart from season 1958/59, they were at the wrong end of the table.
However, I and no doubt many other supporters, approached each new season with great enthusiasm and optimism (this being a prerequisite of supporting the City) that this was going to be our year. After perusing the retained list, it was a case of seeing how many new signings we would make before venturing up the Park before the new season started to see them in the Probables against Possibles game. Then into the new season!
I recall one opening game of the season in August 1962. My cousin was a Torquay supporter and we went to the match together on a glorious day and stood behind the goal at the Big Bank end. There was a crowd of just under 10,000 in the ground and my optimism for the new season was soon brought back to earth with a large bump as their left winger little Ernie Pym scored a hat-trick for Torquay in a 3-0 win!
At least back then the line ups were straightforward with shirt numbers only going up to 11 and no complicated playing formations just 1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - would our younger fans of today know where a right half or an inside left forward played?
Furthermore, the only people on the bench were the Manager and his trusty trainer, the man with the magic sponge and bucket full of cold water, not the entourage you have nowadays. In those days you knew if someone went down injured, they really were hurt. No rolling around or Tom Daley action dives and as there were no substitutes the injured player often ended up having to play up front just making a nuisance of themselves.
I used to buy the match day programme and it had a page on which there was alphabetical lettering and against each letter was a match being played that day. Just after half time two gentlemen went to either end of the pitch where there was each a set of the lettering against the perimeter railings and they manually began to fill in the half times scores. It seemed to take an age to complete this task! They must have had a good supply of 0’s and 1’s!
At that time the City had a number of Club houses one of which was situated in St Sidwell’s Avenue. In 1961 City signed Brian Jenkins from Cardiff and he went to live there. My friend and I were chuffed to bits to think we had one of the City players living in our midst and he was always prepared to spend time chatting to us about football when we saw him out and about.
Living so close to the ground my friend and I during school holidays would wait outside the Well Street entrance waiting for the players to emerge after training and then pounce on them for autographs. It didn’t matter how many times you had an autograph of say, Alan Banks, as there was always some new photo of him from the Express and Echo which required his endorsement. As the main wooden gate that used to be in St James Road was often open, we used to wander in and take a look around and meet up with Sonny Clarke, the groundsman, and the apprentices, Barry Redwood and Bruce Stuckey (pictured) are two names I fondly recall.
However, we showed great respect to Sonny Clarke, as he was not a man to be crossed, and would offer to help out doing odd jobs around the ground. If we behaved, and providing it was not in use, he would then allow us to take a football to the practice area behind the Big Bank.
You had to be careful on the slope leading down to this area and the playing area was often not in the best of condition. It had a full-size goal and we would take it in turns to be in goal. However, in view of its size against ours, a lot of goals were scored unless you hit it straight at whomever was in goal at the time! After attending so many games up the City, including reserve games, in 1963 I had the first of what turned out to be several appearances at St James’ Park over the next few years.
That year my school St Sidwells (a name City fans should be familiar with) primary school made it through to the final of the Exeter & East Devon Schools competition. The opposition were Ladysmith School who were going for a hat trick of cup wins. My team mates met up at my house and we made our way up to the Well St entrance where we were met and escorted into the ground.
My first experience of the inside of the old grandstand! Luckily, we had been given the home dressing room and words cannot adequately describe the feelings/excitement of being in the same dressing room where your heroes came and changed. The game was very much a David v Goliath situation but we held out and scored a late goal to win the game 1 v 0 albeit that the Express and Echo credited the goal to the wrong player!!!
And then came season 1963/64 and the signing of Alan Banks in October that year who played such a pivotal role in gaining our first ever promotion that season. My friends and I would stand on the wall at the St James Road end (no H&S issues back then) cheering the team on, including banging the soles of our shoes against the corrugated sheeting which thankfully held firm!
The team virtually picked itself week in week out and for me their names are as familiar now as they were back then. There followed a creditable first season in division three. The following season (65/66) we started it off with a thumping 4 v 0 win over Oldham with big George McLean scoring two goals on his debut with myself and many others running onto the pitch to celebrate this convincing win. Surely this was the start of another promotion year. Sadly, the reverse was the case and the season ended in relegation.
Now the record books show that Tony Kellow made his first appearance at St James’ Park at the start of the 1976/77 season. However, he made his first appearance at the ground on the 1st November 1966. He was playing for West Cornwall schools and I was playing against him representing Exeter & East Devon schools in the second round of the English Schools Trophy. We won convincingly 5 v 1 however the Express & Echo match report stated that ‘in Streat and Kellow they had probably the most skilful players on the field’. Matches against teams from the then 1st division were obviously not a regular occurrence for the City but for the fans there was a ‘glut’ of them in season 68/69 with three matches, two of the games being played at St James’ Park. The first game being against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup, and I recall that was the night that Johnny Corr tore the Wednesday defence to shreds in a 3 v 1 win. It is a shame we did not see more of the Johnny Corr that played that night in other games for the City. Next came Tottenham Hotspur away and a 6 v 3 loss, which to their credit, aside from the money made, City were the only team to score three goals at White Hart Lane that season! Then came the big one when City were drawn against the European Cup holders Manchester United in the FA Cup 3rd round. Obviously, this was one of those games which every football supporter in the city wanted to see which meant that the demand for tickets was easily going to exceed the tickets available.
If I remember rightly the tickets were put on sale on a Saturday and my friend and I walked up to the ground that morning to see a queue stretching from outside the ticket office in Well Street back up to and along St James Road to Old Tiverton Road. At that point my friend and I feared the worst and thought there was no chance of us getting tickets.
We walked back to Well Street and stood opposite the entrance to the ticket office. I happened to look up and see a friend standing by the ticket booth. I beckoned him down and asked whether he was able to get two tickets for us. I gave him the money and he went back into the ground and duly returned with two tickets.
Off we went chuffed to bits having avoided queuing for tickets. It was only when walking down Sidwell Street and looking more closely at the tickets that we realised he had given us two tickets for the Big Bank, the end that had been allocated to the Manchester United supporters!
On the day the atmosphere in a packed capacity St James Park was amazing. The chance to see international players who ordinarily you would watch on tv! However, we had to be very mindful of our surroundings and once the game started, against the odds, City took the lead through Alan Banks. Our celebrations were rather subdued standing on the Big Bank amongst all the United supporters. Eventually United got back into the game and ran out 3 v 1 winners. At the time I thought it was going to be one of those once in a lifetime experiences for a City supporter little knowing that 36 years down the line the same illustrious opponents would make a return to SJP, with a certain Ronaldo having taken on the mantle from George Best!
Sadly, my ability to regularly attend matches in the late sixties was impeded by my schooling! I attended Hele’s school, a rugby playing school. Although football was and always has been my first love I did adapt to rugby and was selected for the school team from Under 15 upwards.
Matches against other schools were played on a Wednesday afternoon and Saturday. Depending upon the locality of the opposition matches on a Saturday were played either in the morning or early afternoon. If it was a home game in the afternoon it was a matter of a quick shower, catching the bus and then hopefully arriving in time for the gates being opened 15 minutes from the end of the game.
So, the manner in which I had first attended matches as a young schoolboy returned at the end of my school days.
THE 'UPS AND DOWNS' OF A FOOTBALL SUPPORTER…
Phil Wright I started the 1980/81 season playing for Woodbury Salterton again and missed City’s first five home matches. However, I hung my boots up at the end of September and came back to SJP as a full time cowshed resident. Forty one years on, I am not sure what the catalyst was, but City were doing very well in the 3rd Division and I was missing some good wins at the Park. I had also bought my first flat, money was tight and I had moved the metropolis of Exmouth. It may also have been that the Woodbury Salterton had found better players and it was a time when the future Mrs Wright was getting more of my attention. I chose a great game to make my return on 27th September 1980 when Charlton were the visitors. Not only was it Jimmy Giles 300th City league game, it was against the team he left 3 years earlier. There were still six of his former team mates in the Charlton line-up that had played when I saw Charlton beat Brighton in October 1977 a couple of months before Jimmy re-joined City. I also witnessed a Tony Kellow hat trick as City won 4-3. This was the 6th of 18 City hat-tricks I have witnessed! After a 0-0 with Brentford came a hat-trick at the wrong end by Steve Kindon (ex-Wolves) as Huddersfield won 4-1. Len Bond was beaten again 4 times in the next game, this time by Swindon although Tony Kellow & Ray Pratt scored late goals to make the score 3-4. Then, when we lost 1-0 to Barnsley so I was wondering if I had made the right decision in stopping playing. However, a 5-1 away victory had warmed City up for their FA Cup 1st round match v ‘Kelly the lips’ Leatherhead and beat them 5-0 aided by a Kellow brace and set us on our best ever cup run. Before the 2nd round Carlisle were beaten 2-0 with goals by Peter Rogers and Dick Forbes. In the Carlisle team as an unknown 19 year old youngster called Peter Beardsley. Apart from admitting his favourite group was the Nolans, he said his ambition was to play at Wembley in a cup final or for England. He would achieve the first of these in 1986 with a cap v Northern Ireland and the cup final appearance in 1988, the season Liverpool lost to Wimbledon. In the 2nd round of the cup, City escaped from the Lions Den with a 1-0 win. Not being an away traveller in those days I missed out on Boxing Day wins at Argyle and the 3rd round cup win at Maidstone 4-2. At the turn of the year, City were handily placed in 8th position, but were handed a reality check by Walsall when I witnessed goal machine Alan Buckley score one of their goals in a 3-0 home defeat. As we know from events yet to take place in the cup, City seemed to play better under the lights and beat Portsmouth 2-0 a few days later. Ian Pearson andDave Puller scored the goals, whilst Pompey had future Grecian Keith Viney at left back. Two weeks later, I was back at SJP to witness the great victory against Leicester City after we had drawn 1-1 at the top flight side. Yet another Kellow hat-trick in front of a crowd of 15,268 witnessed the 3-1 win, which included Kell’s 100th city goal. Incidentally, in the Leicester squad at that time, but not yet established in the first team was a 20 year old Gary Lineker.
Three days later City came down with a bump as Hull City ran out 3-0 winners. One of the goal scorers was 19 year old Steve McClaren. His playing career ended early at Oxford due to injury and he became a coach, including being no.2 to Alex Ferguson. He was a successful manager at Middlesbrough but cannot be said that his future appointments matched this as he rarely stayed anywhere long enough to get to know the stadium cat, including at England HQ if there was one. Preparations for the long trip to Newcastle in round 5 did not go well as we had a 5-0 stuffing at Portsmouth just 4 days before. Not being at the other SJP on valentine’s day 1981 along with 2000 other City fans in a crowd of 37420 is one of my life’s regrets. I was not able to witness the goal 6 minutes from time by Lee Roberts which forced the replay 4 days later which became one of City’s best victories of all time.
It was Peter Hatchwho was the star who shone brightest in this match. It was his corner in the 14th minute that delighted most of the 17668 crowd as the ball sailed straight into the net. Spookily, from the same corner flag from which Lee Holmes repeated the feat 35 years later against Liverpool. Then, Hatch’s trademark long throw was nodded on by Lee Roberts for Ian Pearson to hook home. Before half time, a cross by Hatch was turned in by Peter Rodgers and it was cousin Martyn Rogers who added the gloss with the 4th two minutes from time. City now had three London opponents in a row. Defeat at Charlton 1-0 was followed by beating Millwall 2-0 at home, then came the big one, FA Cup quarterfinal at Tottenham. I am still trying to work out why I didn’t go, but in my absence, City were unlucky to lose 2-0. On reflection, I was entering a period in my life that for the first time I had to make decisions testing my ability to juggle romantic involvements with sport. Spoiler alert – I do not fare well. After the joy of that cup run, there was still two months of the season left for City to try and close the gap on the leaders, but sadly there were only two victories in the final 12 matches so we had to settle for 11th place. The last 3 home games were drawn including the Argyle match which ended 1-1. After Tony Kellow had given us the lead, John Sims unsportingly scored the equaliser in the 81st minute. Oh well, time to get out the cricket whites as Farringdon Cricket club were growing and there were plenty of fixtures arranged for the summer of 81…
Ed's Quiz | The Answers 1. Cliff Bastin and Dick Pym both played for England. 2. It was Maurice Setters who was selected as reserve for an England World Cup squad. 3. Lee Sharpe, Matt Grimes, Christy Pym and Matt Oakley all played for England at Under 20 level. 4. The following all played for Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers – Craig Woodman, Scott Golbourne, Tommy Doherty, Sam Parkin, Sean Devine and Chris Vinnicombe. 5. Graham Lear (1950-52), Alan Hooker (1974-75) and Jack Sparkes were all born in Exmouth.
That’s all for this week. A big “thank you” to all who’ve contributed to this issue, as without them there wouldn’t be a newsletter.
Take care and best wishes.