Hopes and Expectations1929/30


The Grecians​​:​​Season 1929-1930

Lots of the big clubs which had successful teams last season, and which have re- engaged those teams and recruited additional talent, just to be on the safe side, are able to regard the new season with every confidence, feeling sure that even if the championships and cups do not come their way they are certain, with ordinary luck, to be in the first flight.

For lots of other clubs, however, last season did not go as well as they had wished, and since the first Saturday in May financial considerations have been the cause of them having to part with outstanding men. For the same reason the ventures of such clubs in the matter of new players have been of a modest description. To them the question “Where should we be next May?” is an anxious one and for a clue as to the answer they will be looking to the opening of the new season, and the results on the first day, August the 31st. Exeter City are in the latter category.

It is hoped that the unhappy experience of 1928-29 will not come the way of Exeter City this season, and that on the contrary, the local club will model its results rather on the lines of 1927-28 when only one game was lost in the period from mid-September to the beginning of February.


Exeter City have transferred transfer during the summer, a brilliant young local inside forward in Clifford Bastin, who has removed to the Arsenal, where he should soon make as big an impression as he did in Devon, and also a couple of tried and trusted full-backs Wilf Lowton of exceptional physique and the most dependable reliability, and Bob Pollard of the stocky build, dazzling good looks and aggressive spirit, to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers respectively.

These players carry with them the hearty good wishes of all followers of the soccer code in Exeter and East Devon, and none will be more delighted at their success in the case of Bastin and Lowton with clubs in higher divisions of the League, and in the case of Pollard with an ambitious club that is this season “all out” for the promotion so narrowly missed in the last one, than the host of their friends and admirers they have left behind.

The transfers are very regrettable in the sporting sense, just as were the departures of Dick Pym and Harold Blackmore to Bolton, and other removals of the same sort. Team-building is a very exciting science, and no club can hope to reach and hold a high place in competitive football unless it retains its best playing material from season to season and makes it the basis of the new side.
Other clubs besides Exeter, low in the Southern Section last spring, have felt the necessity of parting with good men in return for hard cash, and so have to start the new season full of hope rather than confidence. Now and again, of course, such a club strikes really lucky, and springs a big surprise on the Soccer world in general and its own supporters in particular.

But it is becoming increasingly true that the Third Division clubs in each of the two sections, North and South, are falling into two classes, one being the financially strong organisations which continue to build for playing success, all the time, and the others, the “also rans.”

Last season's thrilling race for the championship of the Southern Section and the equally tight squeeze at the other end of the competition, twenty points also behind, support this view.


Fanny Walden, who has had an illustrious career both at football and County cricket, is possibly best remembered here as the “midget” outside right of Northampton, who regularly tormented the life out of various Exeter defenders in the old Southern League days.

Now, for some reason or other, he fails to see eye to eye with the rest of the famous footballers who, for a consideration, supply football forecasts to the Press. It is to be earnestly hoped that Mr Walden is right and that the rest are wrong, in so far as the issue of Exeter City's opening match of the season with Luton Town is concerned. For Mr Walden alone tips the City to win.

The last time Exeter City won the opening match of the season was in 1926-,27. When Merthyr Town visited the Park and were beaten by three clear goals, and that was also the last time Exeter City had the felicity of opening up the campaign on their own ground. Last year the Grecians commenced serious work at Brentford, and the year before that they visited Torquay United.


Exeter City have signed on thirteen of last season’s players and a dozen new men, the latter concerning a goalkeeper, three full backs, two half-backs, and six forwards, and under the guidance of the players’ manager, W. Mc Devitt, a purposeful line was followed in the practice games, so that in the final match, on August 24th, the Stripes XI had very much the appearance, although it was not accorded the title, of the “Probables,”

The Grecians with whom the spectators are already well acquainted, all looked exceedingly fit and ready for the fray, and the smartness and soundness of their work in all departments was impressive. It may be that the complete and absolute harmony which prevails behind the scenes is a helpful factor; it may be that the men realise that the competition for places is likely to be keen. Whatever the cause, it looks as though those of last season's Grecians, who have been re-engaged, will improve on their last season's form.

Most notable among the newcomers, as matters have developed so far, is David McMullan, the Irish International wing-half-back with Liverpool experience, (and a fellow townsman of McDevitt) who is a very sturdily built player,and plays with method all the time. Gurkin, the ex-Stalybridge pivot, is the other new half-back engaged.

Much is expected of Alderson, the goalkeeper from Sheffield United, and who is remembered in this part of the country for his fine ‘keeping when a Crystal Palace player. Howson and Baugh, from Bath City and West Bromwich Albion, in that order, along with Shanks from Huddersfield Town, are the new backs. It is a fact that many of the City following who can recall “Peggy” Evans have been heard to declare that Howson is just such another; the same black curly hair, and the same bow legs.


Guyan, the new leader from Connah’s Quay, has made a good impression in the practice games. He has something of the quickness on the ball, opportunism, and deadly shooting of a Morris. Henderson, the six-footer from Torquay, and Corrigan, a youth from Hurst, Lancashire, are also in the running for the job of centre-forward. In Hemingway and Thomas, from Torquay United, the club has secured two clever and useful inside forwards. Hemingway is remembered as the star forward of the Rotherham line when the City met that club in the Cupties of season 1927-28, and his shooting powers as well as his cleverness on the field should prove very helpful. Finally, there is an exceptionally quick-moving new outside-right in William Armfield from Aston Villa.

Exeter City are able to place in the field a hefty team in which there is a nice blend of youth and experience, and if the players knit together quickly in the spirit shown in the last practice match the club should improve very considerably on its showing of the last campaign, when so many points were conceded to visiting teams at St. James's Park.

Further, the City look like being represented in the Southern and Western Leagues by a very strong second team.


The “Strawplaiters,: or Luton Town, to be more precise, expect to place an exceedingly strong team in the field this season.

The club spent quite a long time at the top of the Southern Section last year, and although they lost ground unexpectedly as the campaign neared its close, they finished seventh and were always a formidable side, as their success in April by 3-0 against Charlton Athletic, the Southern Section champions, and their 8-0 victory over Gillingham clearly demonstrates.

Rennie, the Luton Town centre-forward, who used to be a centre-half, topped the list of Football League scorers with 43 goals to his credit.

Luton believe they are stronger now than then, and they expect big things of Peploe, the far-famed Ilford amateur outside-left, and Morgan, the Irish International centre-half from Notts Forest, who has been made captain.

Exeter City Reserves will commence the season with a Western League match at Ashton Gate against Bristol City Reserves.


Phil Ellis


Paul F


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