Chris Vinnicombe

One of Our Own | Exhibition Images

Big teams being interested in City academy graduates isn’t much of a new phenomenon, just ask Chris Vinnicombe. After graduating from City’s academy aged 16 in 1988, Chris quickly became a regular squad player for the Grecians throughout the 88/89 season, making 25 appearances having just left school. Clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal started circling, all sending multiple scouts to watch this kid from Exeter who manager Terry Cooper had described as “one of the best young players I’ve ever seen”. The left-back started the first 18 fixtures of the Grecians’ title winning 1989/90 season before the Scottish giants Rangers eventually put in an acceptable bid, and Chris was off to Glasgow for a fee of £200,000. In a successful Rangers side that won consecutive Scottish Premierships throughout his time at the club, Chris struggled to nail down a consistent starting spot and, after making just 27 appearances in nearly five years, the full-back left Scotland to join second tier Burnley. Chris remained at Burnley for four years, making over 100 appearances, before joining Wycombe Wanderers, where the popular defender was part of the Chairboys’ astonishing run to the FA Cup semi-final in 2001. 250 appearances later, Chris left Wycombe as a firm fans’ favourite to return to Devon, joining Tiverton Town. He did briefly return to non-league Exeter in 2005, but after an injury hit campaign where Chris could only make three appearances he returned to Tiverton where he saw out his career.