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  • The Senior Reds

The Senior Reds Bulletin

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

One of the must reads for any City fan of any age, we are delighted to bring you the Senior Reds Bulletin, which features contributions from Gary Rice, Dave Phillips, Phil Broom, Phil Wright, Ed Lee, and of course Phil Bater, who compiles each bulletin for the members of the group.

Life as a young City professional in the 90’s

Gary Rice

Gary, joined City in 1990 as an associate schoolboy, signed professional forms in 1994 and went on to play 44 times in defence for the Grecians in his two seasons at the club.

Good to hear from you and trust you and all the Senior Reds and keeping well and staying safe at this time?

Thanks for the copy of the bulletin it certainly brought back some memories but unfortunately not very clear on the Charity Match I am afraid. I do remember we released a charity record with Andy Ford called “Supporting the City” (I think) and recording a music video in the Old Centre Spot behind the Big Bank whilst BBC Spotlight filmed us. Don’t think it went to number one though???

The season started ok but as the club’s financial issues started to show itself there seemed to be more drama occurring week after week which resulted in unrest within the playing staff.

Away games that would usually have included an overnight stay at hotels etc were changed to travelling on the day and eating pre match meals on the coach consisting of Microwave pasta dishes and a piece of fruit, other luxuries at the training ground were cut back and I know Mickey Chapman the physio at the time was buying medical supplies himself to keep us going. I think the fans even stumped up on a couple of occasions to pay for the hotels for us which was the start of what we now call the trust I suppose.

We were worrying whether contracts would be honoured, whether we would get paid, we were not on great money, even the more experienced pros, so there was no nest egg to sit back on whilst we waited for the financials to sort themselves out there were still mortgages to pay and families to feed.

Players were having discussion with the PFA in regards to where we stood in regards to contracts and whether we could contact other clubs to try and get deals elsewhere as City were in breach of contract. All of this was driving a wedge between the players and the club hierarchy and It was hard to remain focused on playing to be honest, even when the PFA stepped in and paid our wages for six-months or so.

As the season came to a close and the club’s position was looking very bleak, Terry cooper was leaving his post as manager, so even more uncertainty began to unfold.

Peter Fox and Noel Blake were always good to me as a young pro and I remember a conversation I had with Foxy on the way back from playing our final game at Northampton Town (a team that included ex ECFC players Scott Daniels and Andy Woodman).

He said to me that I didn’t have to worry as there was some light at the end of the tunnel, he was confident that things would be sorted and that he was going to be taking on the managers position for the next season and I would be part of his plans. He was true to his word and I’ll always be grateful for the faith he showed in me. Although some might say it showed poor judgement on his part 😊

Thanks to Dave Phillips, who made contact with Gary and to Gary himself for producing the above article.

Players who ran pubs

Phil Broom has sent in the following:

In last weeks’ bulletin you asked if we could add to the players and pubs list;

Reg ‘Nobby’ Clark ran the Kings Arms in Seaton.

Not a player, but Alan Ball was landlord of a place called Winagins near Maidenhead when he got the call to be City’s boss.

And I’m pretty sure Cliff Bastin was at the Horse and Groom in Heavitree.

The Cream of Devon

On the 8th February, THE TIMES published a short article with the above title, which referred to Ollie Watkins becoming the first Devonian to reach a double-figure goal tally in the top league since 1981/82.

So – who was that Devon born player who scored ten or more goals in 1981-82 in a top flight season?

Only three other Devonians have scored ten or more goals in the top league? Can you name them?

Just for fun – answers at the end of this newsletter.

Ed’s Quiz

Staying with the quiz theme, here are five more questions sent in by Ed Lee. You may not know the answers, but when you see them they always throw up some interesting facts. Answers at the end of this newsletter.

1) In which year was the first known football match at St James Park – was it 1874, 1884, 1894 or 1904?

2) Henry Dyer, former City player, lost his life in which 1912 disaster?

3) What was the name of the entrance to St James Park in Old Tiverton Road, opened in 1951?

4) Which City Club Secretary of the 1960’s had a father who was an ex City player?

5) Who was known as “The Manager who never was”, because he was only manager for eight days and only oversaw one match?

From my Scrap Books

Frank Broome and More, with Dave Phillips

A couple of photos from May 1967 (I believe) caught my eye. I headed them Departure and Arrival. Jock Basford saying farewell in Well Street and Frank Broome with players in the changing room after taking over from Jock.

The players say farewell to their former manager Jock Basford. Ken Jones shakes hands and looking on are, left to right, are George Ley, Bobby Nash, Ray Elliott, Mike Balson, Cecil Smythe, Alan Goad, Dixie McNeil and Colin Buckingham.

Frank Broome takes over again, as he meets – left to right: Ernie Wilkinson, John Smout, Alan Goad, Ray Elliott, Ken Thompson and Jimmy Blain.

An interesting aspect of the photo outside the gates of the Jungle Path are the Ground Admission charges. My half a crown weekly pocket money just covered my expenses, two shillings as a junior, leaving sixpence for a programme.

I remember Graham Rees talking about the bank, we now call the Big Bank, saying it was known as the Bob Bank, because it cost a shilling to stand there at one time. Anyone remember admission prices from days gone by?

Frank Broome had just been tempted back from Australia to take over for the second time. His achievements are well summarised in Exeter City, A Complete Record. But it doesn't mention something I only found out recently.

According to Graham Betts (England Players' Records 1872-2000) he made his England debut in Berlin on May 14th, 1938. That was the infamous occasion when the players were instructed to give the Nazi salute by the British ambassador of the time.

He was an Aston Villa player at the time and they were also touring Germany. The day after the England match, he played for Villa at the same stadium. Betts says the Villa players kept their arms by their sides.

Three Memories of the '89/90 Season

Dave Phillips

I was working at the American International School of Luxembourg at the time, so didn't get to see many matches. However, three memories stand out from matches I did get to.

The cheeky quick free kick to Steve Neville putting him in to score the only goal of the opening match of the season at home v. Doncaster. Brilliant.

I got into Plainmoor at Eastertime using my Torquay United identity card. Had to remember to keep quiet as Angus McPherson got our second, we looked so much in control.

En route to Luxembourg, a week later, we made a stop in Gillingham to stand behind the goal and see us take a well deserved point. Big Richard Young was a huge presence up front and scored a brave header. It was my step daughters' first experience at a match, what stands out most is their reaction to some of language and the "cheer" the goalkeepers got when taking goal kicks!

My Favourite Ground

After the photographic extravaganza in the last issue, we’ll limit the suggestion to one this week. It’s supplied by Andrew Long, and for Andrew his favourite ground is/was Gay Meadow, the former home of Shrewsbury Town.

Situated on the banks of the River Severn, it was the home of the Shrews for 97 years, finally closing at the end of the 2006/07 season.

The ‘ups and downs’ of a football supporter

Phil Wright

Season 1977/78 – my time in London ends and how will city fare in Div 3?

My season did not start in London, but at St James Park for the league cup encounter with Argyle, my first Devon Derby since 1968. I was drawn back to Farringdon on two weeks leave to get a bit of country air, visit the beach and probably help with the straw harvest.

I remember also watching the 4th Ashes test on the good old BBC when they were allowed to show test cricket. After Boycott had ground the Aussies into submission with 191 at Headingly, a young Somerset debutant took 5-21 which saw the emergence of Ian Botham.

Of course, the trip home was also planned to take in the cup game and City’s game with Bury on 27th August. Two Lammie Robertson goals earned City the replay, and I went down to Home Park 10 days later to see a late Alan Beer goal give City victory. Before I headed back to the smoke, I saw City squander a two goal half time lead with goals by Bobby Hodge and Tony Kellow as Bury came back to draw the match.

I was not to return to sunny Devon for over two months as my time in London came to an end. I must have tired myself of London travel as I spent most of the remaining two months south of the Thames watching Division 2 games (Championship now). I was not able to get back to watch City lose 3-1 to Aston Villa in the 2nd round of the league cup, but saw a feisty encounter instead between Crystal Palace and Southampton.

Although it was goalless, my programme scribbles show Jim Cannon and Phil Bowyer were sent off, and George Graham and Peter Osgood were booked. Future Grecians on display were Vince Hilaire, Alan Ball and Steve Williams. Next up was another ‘home’ game for me as Sunderland drew 2-2 at Palace. That day my trusty trannie would have told me City beat Port Vale 4-1 (with Harry Holman who we recently lost, getting his first City goal.)

Next up, it was along the South Circular to see Millwall see off Southampton 3-0. Amongst the scorers was Ian Pearson who would be joining City 12 months later. My final two Palace games were against Bolton and Fulham. Bolton’s team included future top flight managers Sam Allardyce and Peter Reid, but Palace edged the game 2-1.

My Palace swansong was an exciting London derby v Fulham which ended 3-2 to the visitors. It was the last time I saw George best play. He did not get on the scoresheet, but Teddy Maybank score twice for Fulham, a player whose career ended at the age of 24 with a knee injury. Injured in that game was Palace’s Ian Evans who broke his leg according to my scribbles. Grecian Archive confirms he was out for two years. He came to SJP on loan in 1983/84 and played just four matches.

I said goodbye to the Valley three days later and saw another goal fest as Charlton beat Brighton 4-3. Charlton had started the season well with just one defeat in seven matches (7-1 at Luton) but Jim Giles cannot be blamed for that one as he missed three games in a row – not sure if injured or suspended! He was back in the team, but not for long as he was destined to follow me back to Devon two months later when he resigned for City. He was the ‘player profile’ in the evenings programme.

My 85th and final game on my stay in London was a 3rd round league cup tie at White Hart Lane. Spurs were doing well having dropped into Division 2 and had just demolished Bristol Rovers 9-0. Colin Lee scored four of those having just signed a week earlier from Torquay. I am afraid my jinx on Spurs went right to the end as Coventry won 3-2, with Lee ineligible after playing for the Gulls in the first round. In the team for Coventry was Donato Nardiello, the father of Daniel! Donato won two Welsh caps compared to Daniels three.

My spell in London ended too well as my work colleagues gave the boy from Devon a good send-off. It would be an understatement to say I was feeling a little delicate the following morning.

I had to pack my mini with accumulated stuff from my two year London stay and make my way down the M4 to Swindon where City were playing. After 43 years I think it is safe to admit I should not have been driving. Unfortunately, City’s performance was just as bad as Swindon ran out 4-0 winners.

In the two months since I had last seen City play, they had sold my hero Lammie Robertson to Leicester and Alan Beer would have followed him had he not suffered the career ending injury in the 3rd game of the season.

In their line up was John Trollope, a great example of a one team player who played 770 times for Swindon over 21 season. Also present was Chris Kamara who is now better known as his punditry on Sky Sports.

So not only under the weather, I was now depressed as I made my way gently back home to Devon.

Next time…I would now be able to concentrate on giving my full attention to supporting City. .. or would I?

The Cream of Devon answers:

It was Plymouth born Trevor Francis who was the last Devon born player to score ten or more goals in the top league in a season. He achieved that feat four times with Birmingham City and once with Nottingham Forest.

The other three Devonians who’d achieved that feat are Arsenal’s Cliff Bastin (born in Exeter), Bolton Wanderers’ Harold Blackmore (born in Silverton) and Middlesbrough’s Ralph Birkett (born in Newton Abbot).

Ed’s quiz answers:

1) The first known football match played at St James Park took place in 1894.

2) Former City player Henry Dyer died in The sinking of the Titanic in1912. Henry Dyer was working on the Titanic as Senior Assistant Fourth.

3) The entrance in Old Tiverton Road which was opened in 1951 was known as the Norman Kendall Gate (pictured below). Norman Kendall was a Director at the club and played an important role in City turning professional.

4) The club secretary of the 1960’s whose father played for the Grecians was Dick Miller. His father, Charlie Miller, played from 1926 to 1936.

5) It was Tim Ward who became known as the manager who never was.

Tim Ward became manager of City on 4th March 1953, taking charge of the Grecians for their next game at Ipswich. However Barnsley recalled him, as he hadn’t been released and they subsequently appointed him as their manager shortly afterwards.

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