St James Park

St James Park

Welcome to the Exeter City Football Club Kick-Start time trail. Over the next 45 minutes, you will explore the ground and history of this club. The trail also asks you to consider some of the elements associated with each location, and to add your own comments and thoughts related to the story of ECFC

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Kick-Start Time Trail Map

The Grecians

The Grecians

The Grecians
(ECFC 1 of 12)

The silver foliage decoration in the box is a gift from the Greek people of Andros because Exeter City fans are known as Grecians. The origin of this nickname has been debated many times over the years with suggestions ranging from links to political parties, clock inscriptions and greasy children. However, we think, the key reason may relate to the boundary set by the old city wall, as all those who lived outside the East Gate of the walls were known as 'Greeks' or 'Grecians'. This border-related title included the people of St Sidwells and, by association, the founding members of Exeter City FC, St Sidwells FC. As a result, the name has stuck and the club and its fans are still proud Grecians to this day.

Why do football clubs have a nickname? What would your nickname be for Exeter City?

Flybe Stand

Flybe Stand

Flybe Stand
(ECFC 2 of 12)

This is the Flybe Stand, which replaced the Cowshed in 2001. Imagine how many Grecians stood and sat here over the years. Exeter City FC's very first match was held here at St James Park on 10th September 1904. Despite a few games played elsewhere, this has been the home of ECFC for over 100 years. The team won 2-1 against the 110th First Royal Artillery. The winning goal was scored by Sid Thomas, whose career with the club would go on to last over 70 years not only as a player, but also a secretary, from the age of 18 for 35 years, director, chairman and lifelong president. Aged only 16 when he began playing for St Sidwells Utd, he was a leading goal-scorer for the side. He was also part of the group that formed the club. In 1957 he stood down as chairman. However, a financial crisis saw him donate money to help the club and return to the park.

Both on and off the pitch, Sid Thomas was involved with ECFC for much of his life. Which one word would you use to describe Sid?

Brazilian flags

Brazilian flags

Brazilian flags
(ECFC 3 of 12)

In 1914 Exeter City was selected by the Southern League that felt they represented a 'typical English football team' to tour South America. The tour contained a number of memorable games and incidents; none more so than the 2-0 victory over Argentine Champions, Racing Club de Buenos Aires, a match which had to be temporarily abandoned when the secretary of the South American side brandished his revolver towards the ref in frustration at City taking the lead! It was during this tour that the side became forever known as 'Exeter City from England, the first professional team to play in Brazil'. Although the game ended 2-0 to the South Americans, this fixture gave Exeter the distinction of being the first team ever to have played against the nation that would go on to win the World Cup five times!

Imagine its 1914 and you've just been told that you are playing for the City team in South America. If it had existed back then, what would you have tweeted to your fans?

Goalpost

Goalpost

Goalpost
(ECFC 4 of 12)

29th August 1920 saw the turnstiles swing into action for the first time for a football league match. On this day, over 6,000 people made their way through the gates to watch Exeter beat Brentford 3-0, with William Wright scoring City's first ever league goal. Also on the pitch that day was local man and goalkeeper Dick Pym (b.1893) who played for the club from 1911-1921. Pym initially followed the family profession as a fisherman, something he continued to do though his career and after. Known as 'fisherman', 'scissors' or 'pincher', Pym, who was one of the players who went to South America, though, curiously, he was apparently very sea sick during the journey, was later signed by Bolton Wanderers for £5,000 - exactly the sum of money it cost the club to buy St James Park outright on Friday 24 June 1921.

How important was the money raised by the sale of goalkeeper Dick Pym?

Heart on the Big Bank

Heart on the Big Bank

Heart on the Big Bank
(ECFC 5 of 12)

The turn of the Millennium saw troubled times at the park, with Exeter dropping out of the league on the verge of their 100th anniversary. However things could have been much worse as City almost went out of existence entirely due to financial problems. Thankfully for the club, the Exeter City Supporters Trust stepped in and secured the future of the Grecians through business savvy, strong vision and, most importantly, coming together as a community. Exeter City FC became one of the first teams in the country to be recognized as a fan-owned club, always working hard in an effort to secure this dream and the future of the club. The emblem that stands right at the top of the stand represents the fans as the beating heart of Exeter City FC.

Why are fans so important to Exeter City Football Club? What makes them special?

Big Bank

Big Bank

Big Bank
(ECFC 6 of 12)

Formerly known as the Duke Bank after the local MP who secured the land in order to extend the pitch to meet FA requirements, this part of the ground, redeveloped in 2000, is most commonly referred to by fans as the Big Bank and is named after the player Cliff Bastin (b.1912). Born in Exeter, Clifford Sydney Bastin went on to become the most successful football player to represent Exeter City FC. Known for his ball skills and shooting ability, the 'Boy Bastin' signed for Exeter at the age of 16 and quickly scored the first two of his 271 first class goals in a 5-1 victory over Newport County. Signed by legendary Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman for £2,000, Bastin enjoyed a glittering career with the Gunners, with whom he won every domestic honour, representing England 21 times scoring 12 goals. He scored 178 goals for Arsenal - a record that lasted until 1997 when Ian Wright overtook him, and his 150 league goals record lasted until 2006 when Thierry Henry finally broke that record. The Second World War curtailed his career at the age of 27, and, excused from military service because of his deafness, he served as an ARP Warden, continuing also playing matches to boost the Home Front morale. Bastin retired after the war in 1947 and ran the Horse and Groom pub in Heavitree.

Imagine that like Cliff Bastin, you have also been sold to a club in the top division...What would you like to say to the club and the fans?

Old Grandstand

Old Grandstand

Old Grandstand
(ECFC 7 of 12)

The Old Grandstand, as you see it today, has stood on this site since it replaced the original grandstand following a series of redevelopments after it burned down along with the players' kit in 1925. This is the oldest part of the ground and has witnessed many of the changes here at Exeter City FC for the best part of a century. This site is a good place to remember Arthur Chadwick (b.1875). He joined Exeter City in 1908 and became its manager in 1910. He guided the Club through the Southern League, the First World War and onto the Football League in 1920. He died sitting at the Grandstand, watching Exeter City play Clapton Orient in March 1936.

Arthur Chadwick was Exeter's first and longest serving manager. Imagine you are the latest manager; In order to stay here longer than Arthur did, what are you going to have to try and do as manager

Media Suites at the top of the Old Grandstand

Media Suites at the top of the Old Grandstand

Media Suites at the top of the Old Grandstand
(ECFC 8 of 12)

Alan Banks (b. 1938) was bought for £5,000 from Liverpool in 1963. He a member of the first ever team to win promotion in 1964, was player of the year in 1968-9 and was the first Grecian to score the 100 League goals. He played for Liverpool, Cambridge City, Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle and Poole Town and in a survey published by the Professional Footballers' Association in December 2007 he was listed as the all-time favourite player amongst Exeter City fans. He helps organise matches for the ex-Exeter City players and with pre match hospitality.

You're a journalist sat here in 1969 and you've just seen Alan Banks score his 100th ECFC goal and be presented with the shield; What headline do you write for the morning paper?

Changing Rooms

Changing Rooms

Changing Rooms
(ECFC 9 of 12)

Imagine how many really famous players sat on the benches in the visitors' dressing room and came out from these doors. For instance players like Alex Stepney, Nobby Stiles, George Best, Brian Kidd, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law (from FA 3rd round FA cup tie with United in 1969); the entire Nottingham Forest European Cup winning side; David Beckham (when playing on loan for Preston); Christiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs (from FA cup replay in 2005), not to mention Dunga and the other Brazilian Legends. One such legend is Exeter City centre-forward Tony Kellow (b. 1952). A former Cornish tin miner, he was recruited from Falmouth Town before helping City to earn promotion into Division 3. He scored more goals for Exeter than any other player, and won the golden boot for being leading scorer in the whole country for the 1980/1 season, scoring 61 goals in 143 league outings. He then became the Grecians' Promotions Manager, Commercial Manager and ran the Centre Spot social club at St James' Park.

You're in the team to play Manchester United in the FA Cup! The match starts in ten minutes and the atmosphere building outside! What are you doing to get ready and what are you hoping to do on the pitch?

St James Stand

St James Stand

St James Stand
(ECFC 10 of 12)

This is a good place to imagine those well-known players on the pitch. Over the years, 'stars' have been seen, such as Scott Hiley 'nutmegging' Ronaldo in the far left corner; Ryan Giggs taking a corner from the far right; Alex Stepney 'grovelling' in the back of the net in 1969 at this end; George Best standing right here too. A highly popular player, Scott Hiley (b.1968) was a defender, mainly at right-back. He came through the Exeter City youth system in 1986 and in 1990 he was part of the team that one the old division 4...Exeter's first league title win! Hiley later moved to Birmingham City in 1993 and then to Manchester City in 1996, finally returning to Exeter in 2002. In 2003 he joined the coaching staff though he finally left in 2006.

Scott Hiley is remembered by fans for being part of the league winning team of 1990 & for putting the ball through Ronaldo's legs!!! If you played for ECFC, how would you like to be remembered?

St James Stand FLYBE Stand

St James Stand FLYBE Stand

St James Stand FLYBE Stand
(ECFC 11 of 12)

Dedicated fan Gilbert Walker used to sell programmes here. There are many other dedicated fans who have helped run Exeter City FC. You can almost feel their presence. When you go back inside, why don't you explore the 'Bottle Bar' inside the St James Centre. This operates on match days and involves a small number of dedicated fans who provide real ales and guest ales and pasties. One of the main men behind this is Neil Le Milliere who is a 'London Exile', which is what fans who no longer live in Exeter are called. Last year Neil won the 'NPower League Two Supporter of the Year' award at a televised ceremony in London and incidentally had his marriage 'blessed' on the pitch. Neil, like Gilbert, belongs to a group of very dedicated fans.

Neil and Gilbert are just a couple of Exeter's loyal and dedicated fan base. Do you know any dedicated fans? Also, what kind of things do you think dedicated fans do?

The Old Dugout

The Old Dugout

The Old Dugout
(ECFC 12 of 12)

This is where Exeter City managers would have watched matches from for many years, until the Grandstand was redeveloped. Current ECFC manager is former ECFC player Paul Tisdale (b.1973), who in 2006 replaced outgoing manager Alex Inglethorpe. In his first season, Tisdale's side narrowly missed out on a return to the Football League, losing 2-1 to Morecambe in the first play off final at the new Wembley. However the next year they made no mistake beating Cambridge United 1-0 to end their 5-year exile. Things got even better the following season when, after a strong campaign, victory over Rotherham saw Exeter City FC secure back-to-back promotion campaigns for the first and only time in their history. Tisdale is possibly the most successful manager the Club have had. He was named among the League's top 10 managers in 2008, and as of the beginning of the 2013/14 season is the longest serving manager in the Football League.

Gaining promotion two seasons in a row is perhaps Paul Tisdale's finest achievement at Exeter City. As this is the last location on the Time Trail, what is your favourite part of the clubs history and why?

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My St James Park Notes

St James Park

St James Park

Welcome to the Exeter City Football Club Kick-Start time trail. Over the next 45 minutes, you will explore the ground and history of this club. The trail also asks you to consider some of the elements associated with each location, and to add your own comments and thoughts related to the story of ECFC

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