Sunday Feature | The Senior Reds
In this, the second of our weekly Sunday features, we hear from the current chairman of the Senior Reds supporter group and former EFL League Two Supporter of the Year, Phil Bater, and learn more about the group that was founded eight years ago this month.
It had been good to get back to the Park in December, to watch live football and see some familiar faces, and I hope that it will not be too long until it is sensible and safe for us to do so again.
This month, the Senior Reds supporter group celebrate our eighth anniversary, and despite the name, there are actually no age limits to joining the group. Our youngest member is in his 40's, the oldest in his 90's.
In the "normal" world, we organise monthly meetings during the football season, at varying times and days of the week, with a range of guest speakers who have connections with Exeter City, including, Matt Taylor, players past and present, and 2010 World Cup Final Assistant Referee, Mike Mullarkey.
As we can't meet at the moment, we're producing a fortnightly newsletter which is distributed to all members who have email and includes contributions from not only our members but also other people from around the football club, such as Will Barrett and Zandie Thornton who recently provided interesting and enjoyable features about the matchday programme and the club’s SJP 360 films, respectively.
In last month’s edition, we received welcomed contributions from ECFC Hall of Fame players, Alan Banks, Jimmy Giles, and Graham Rees, as well as a message from Lewis Ward, who I am sure we were all pleased to see return safely from his recent injury last weekend.
During conventional times, the group enjoys the occasional game of skittles, holds a general knowledge quiz, and pays an annual visit to the training ground to watch the first team train, followed by a bite to eat and a drink at a local pub for those who wish to stay on.
At the Park, a small group of us plant and maintain the strip of land between St James Road and the car park, and we also get involved with the local community by helping with the regular work parties that keep the plants at St James Park rail station looking tidy.
The group also looks to support a range of initiatives, and any money that we make through our member’s subscriptions goes back into the club. Each season we sponsor an under-16s player and present the end of seaosn trophy to the team’s Player of the Year.
This season we are sponsoring Sonny Cox - who starred in the recent EFL Floodlit Cup triumph - and previous players we've sponsored include Jordan Dyer, Lewis Wilson, Max Clarke and Eli Collins.
Like all other Supporters Groups at the Club, the Senior Reds have made a donation to cover the cost of a defibrillator, which will be sited close to the 3G pitch at the training ground.
The fact that all Supporter Groups were so quick to contribute for such a vital piece of equipment, together with donations from individuals, shows how strong our club is, and we’re lucky to have people like Elaine Davis to co-ordinate such projects.
The Senior Reds have also met the cost of a gazebo, which will be used to provide shelter for players and officials on match days whilst they’re undergoing safety checks. I understand it has yet to arrive at the club, presumably because there’s been a huge demand for such items from pubs, clubs etc.
Other recent donations have included £500 to the STARS appeal and £50 towards the publishing costs of the latest book on the History of St James Park.
Annual membership of the group runs from August 1 to July 31 and, at the end of July 2020, we had 136 members - our highest ever total.
The membership fee is just £5 per year, although members can donate more if they so wish. The £5 fee hasn't increased since the group was formed.
On behalf of the group, may I end by sending our best wishes to supporters of all ages, in the hope that you are all safe and well.
To Join the group, a form can be downloaded by clicking here, or by contacting Phil directly on 07814548357 In the current situation, the membership fee can be paid by BACS (Sort code 08 92 99. Account number 65680135. Please use surname and membership as reference and email email@example.com to say payment has been made) or cheque (please ring Phil on 07814548357 for details).