• The Senior Reds

The Senior Reds Bulletin

Updated: Apr 12

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, fo