89/90 LEAGUE APPEARANCES: 14
One of the brightest talents of his era, Chris Vinnicombe could well have been the major story of City’s season if it wasn’t for the club’s success on the pitch.
A product of Exeter City's youth system, Chris made his league debut for the club at just sixteen years of age, in a 2-1 defeat at Doncaster Rovers in September 1988.
The following January he was handed a full professional contract, and his performances soon caught the eye of other clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Going into the 89/90 season, Chris had nailed down his spot at full-back, and with scouts from other clubs joining the ranks of England’s elite in assessing the youth team graduate, it was almost inevitable that he wouldn’t see out the season at St James Park.
Described by Terry Cooper as “one of the best young players I’ve ever seen”, Chris played in all 14 of City’s league games before a move transpired, as well as the League Cup victories against Swansea City and then Blackburn Rovers, where he scored his first professional goal.
Eventually, it was Glasgow Rangers who secured his signature for an initial fee of £200,000 plus instalments, and with English teams still banned from European competitions, the move provided the young Grecian with an opportunity to be involved at the very highest level of the continental game.
With several members of England’s Italia ‘90 World Cup squad, as well as half of the Scotland side on the books at Ibrox, it is perhaps not a surprise that Chris’s move did not see him play a huge amount of football, but his talent still earned him a Scottish Premier League winners' medal in 1991, and 12 caps for the England under-21s.
Successful spells at Burnley and Wycombe Wanderers were to follow, before Chris came home to Devon to play for Tiverton Town in 2004. He then made a return to St James Park in August 2005, but made just three appearances in the Conference before re-signing for Tivvy in the summer of 2006, where he swept the board at the club’s end of season awards.