Next up for County, On The Road, is a relatively short hop down south to Devon where we visit the Grecians – Exeter City. After a poor start in the league this season, Exeter have been on a fantastic run of form and are challenging for a play-off spot as we reach the business end of the season. With both teams very much with something to play for, this game promises to be a spectacle.
Founded 112 years after forming with St Sidwells United, Exeter have spent most of their history in the Football League. In fact, afterthe first club to suffer automatic relegation without finishing bottom of the league. Exeter were the club to fall to the Conference instead of Swansea City, who famously escaped relegation out of the Football League on the final day of the season, beating Hull City. After spending five years in the Conference, Exeter saw off Cambridge United in the play-off final at Wembley with a crowd of 42,511, beating them 1-0. The Grecians then went straight up to League One after getting promoted back to the Football League but after a three-year stay were relegated back to League Two, City were relegated with one of the worst away records League One has ever seen with only two away wins all season. The highlight of City’s last five years, amongst failed play-off promotion bids would probably be a memorable 2–2 draw against Premier League Liverpool in the FA Cup, in the 2015-16 season.City became a full-time professional team in 1908, they applied successfully for membership of the Southern League, replacing Tottenham Hotspur. In 1920 the Grecians were invited to be one of the founding members of the Third Division and it wasn’t until 2003 until they were relegated. City were
The Ground – St James Park
Built in 1904,In 1654 the landowner, Lady Anne Clifford, rented it out for fattening pigs. The ground has been refurbished in some parts but still has elements of its old past. Of the four main stands at the ground, ‘Big Bank’, aka the Cliff Bastin Stand, holds the most fans with up to 3,971 being able to cram in, followed by ‘Cowshed’, aka the IP Office Stand, which holds 2,116, followed by ‘Old Grandstand’, aka the Stagecoach Family Stand, which holds 1,401. Last but not least, it’s where the County fans will be situated. St James Road Terrace holds a maximum amount of 1,053 fans. Even if we are in the smallest stand, hopefully it will be the Amber Army making all of the noise next Saturday..the current capacity of St James Park is 8,541. The record attendance stands at 20,984, a game where Exeter lost 4–2 to Sunderland in an FA Cup Sixth Round Replay in 1931
Famous fans include Coldplay front man Chris Martin, Ade Edmondson, Mark Nicol, Noel Edmonds, swimmer Liam Tancock, and Hoosiers drummer Alan Sharland. Singer Joss Stone signed up as a member of the supporters’ trust, being introduced to fans on the pitch as a new member during a League Cup match against Liverpool.
also adopted Exeter City as their home team and use their strip when playing games.DefenderIn 2002 pop singer Michael Jackson was made honorary director of Exeter City. He visited St James Park with celebrity friend Uri Geller, who was also a director. The crew of HMS
Did You Know?
The club is known as the first side to play a national team from Brazil, after a tour of South America in 1914 to generate awareness of football in the continent. City’s game against the Brazil national football team is believed to have been the first the five-times World Cup winners ever played and it took place on July 21 at the Laranjeiras Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, home of Fluminense Football Club. The result of the match is disputed, with some sources claiming City lost 2-0, whilst others claim it finished in a 3-3 draw. That was the last match of the tour, which yielded five wins, one draw and two defeats. As a result, City and Brazilian side Fluminense are now also partner clubs.
Star Man – Ollie Watkins
Goal machine Ollie Watkins will be a name many County fans will already know. The 21-year-old scored his first professional hat-trick at Rodney Parade earlier on this season and is a man in form. Renowned for his pace, dribbling skills and strength, as well as his eye for goal, Watkins could be a real danger when we visit St James Park next Saturday. Watkins has not had a long career, his only other move in his career being a loan spell at Weston-Super-Mare, where he scored 10 goals in 24 appearances. Already a winner of Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award this season, Watkins will need to be marked out of the game by the County defence if we want to keep a clean sheet on Saturday. Watkins has amassed 11 goals in 31 appearances this season, let’s hope it will not be goal number 12 this Saturday.
The Gaffer – Paul Tisdale
Paul Tisdale remains the secondon top of previous player sales, Tisdale also recouped notable sums of money by selling Dean Moxey to Derby County and Danny Seaborne to Southampton. He has paid a transfer fee for just one player, Troy Archibald-Henville, £50,000 from Tottenham Hotspur in 2010. In his 559 matches managed as boss of Exeter City, Tisdale has amassed a win record of 37.4%, being victorious in 209 of his games.one of only four managers to lead the Grecians to promotion in the club’s history. After promotion back in to the Football League, Tisdale then managed City to promotion once again and spent three years in League One, before being relegated back to League Two. A brilliant stat about Tisdale is thatlongest-serving manager in the English Football League pyramid behind Arsène Wenger, being in charge at St James Park since June 2006. His playing career started in 1991, and included stints at Southampton and Bristol City, before it ended in 2000 because of injury. Tisdale has only ever managed two clubs in his professional managerial career – Team Bath and his current side, Exeter City. After being appointed 11 years ago, Tisdale managed to get his side to the play-off final at Wembley before unluckily losing out to Morecambe. A year later, Tisdale led his side out to a play-off win against Cambridge United and is still
Directions – By Car
Leave the M5 at Junction 30 and follow signs for Exeter city centre along Sidmouth Road (A379) and then onto Rydon Lane (A3015). Take the Sidmouth Road turn off (B3183) towards the city centre. Keep going towards the town centre as the road becomes Heavitree Road. On nearing the city centre take the fourth exit at the large roundabout onto Western Way. At the next roundabout take the second exit onto Old Tiverton Road, then turn left into St James Road for the ground. There is street parking, but quite a way from the ground as there is a local residents scheme in operation.
EX4 6PXPost Code for SAT NAV:
, which is adjacent to the ground and only a short walk away, However this station is on a local line and most fans will arrive first into the mainline stations of Exeter St Davids or Exeter Central, from which you can then get a local train to St James Park.St James ParkThe nearest railway station is
Exeter Central is the closer of the two mainline stations is just under a mile away from the ground and should take around 20 minutes to walk. As you come out of the main station entrance, turn left and proceed along Queen Street. As the road bends around to the right, continue straight on along the pedestrianised area. At the end of this area (where it meets the High Street) turn left and then continue along Sidwell Street. After the roundabout turn left into St James’ Road for the ground.