Hopes and Expectations1930/31


The Grecians​​:​​Season 1930-1931

Earlier this month, in fact, on the eve of the Exeter City players reporting for training, after the summer recess, it seemed that the summer had passed uneventfully so far as the City were concerned; no sensational captures had been announced. The assumption was correct at the time, but it has since been falsified. The month of August has produced the biggest eve of the season stir the local club has ever known.

There was something like consternation in the Exeter camp when it was realised that Alderson, the goalkeeper who served the club so well last season, and on whom everybody was relying to do ditto this season, would be unable to take his place in the team for several weeks.

It was believed that in Fred Jones, from Manchester City, Exeter and secured a very capable understudy, but this could hardly be said to meet the emergency.


To their greatest credit, the Exeter City Directors took instant and very thorough going action, and the sequel was the transfer from Everton of Arthur L. Davies, the goalkeeper, who in the last four winters with the Goodison Park club, has taken part in 89 League games in the First Division, and won recognition all round as being one of the finest young goalkeepers in the country.

At the end of last season Everton placed a transfer-fee of £2,000 opposite the name of Davies, and while it is true that the Exeter City club has not had to pay anything like that sum for the new goalkeeper (the Football League reduce the amount very substantially), it is equally true that several other clubs in the country would have been jumping to secure Davies's services were it not for the fact that their arrangements, as to personnel, for the new season were already complete, when the reduction of the fee was made.


Exeter City must count themselves as fortunate indeed to have been able to sign on just the very player they would have desired, and at a very reasonable fee, so late in the summer.

Ordinarily, a man with Davies’s record and of his known ability would have been snapped up almost as soon as the previous season ended.

The circumstances happened to fit in exactly to meet Exeter City’s difficulty, and the promptness in which the City Directors acted is probably the secret of their success in the matter.

There were some hours of anxiety during the absence of Mr. W. McDevitt in the Liverpool district on this special mission. The deal hung fire for a time over some question of a benefit, but when the City Players’ Manager returned home he was able to report very satisfactory progress.

Davies travelled to Exeter on Sunday, August 24th, signed the League forms on Monday morning, joined the Club Outing to Slapton Sands on the same day, and began serious training with his new colleagues on Tuesday. On these facts and on other similar cases which crop up from season to season it seems apparent that the professional footballers’ life is subject to remarkably sweeping and sudden changes. A fortnight ago Davies would have hardly given Exeter, as a football centre, a single thought.

Today finds him settled among us, guarding the Exeter City net for the season of 1930 -31, and doing his best to prove himself a “second Dick Pym,” as he has been styled in more than one quarter.

The capture of Davies has been dwelt on at some length because it must be held to be the outstanding event of the close season, and the sort of development which appeals very strongly to the Soccer-minded public.

Several other men of note have been engaged in less dramatic circumstances to fill vacancies in the club's list of players.


Much is expected from Inglis, centre-half, Halliday, inside left, also from Parsons, Allison, McCosh, and Lister, all forwards.

The practice matches, while they revealed a good standard of ability all around, suggested that the more experienced of the players were reserving their efforts for the real test ahead. And that, after all, is the general and quite natural experience in practice matches, and accounts for most of the “surprise” results reached in these games.


Exeter city finished last season sixteenth in the Southern Section of the Third Division of the Football League. A brilliantly successful February month was the outstanding feature of the campaign, ten points out of the dozen played for being secured. How vitally important this splendid run was can be gauged from the fact that in the twelve matches which followed Exeter won only ones. The Grecians have never won more than nineteen League matches in any campaign, have never scored more than seventy-six goals, and have never finished higher in the League table than in their first season, away back in 1908-1909, when they were sixth and have never quite reached the fifth round of the F.A. Cup competition.

Here are some records which it is hoped that the new season’s Exeter City team will break, and the more they break them by the better everyone here will be pleased.


Plymouth Argyle have achieved their objective and reached Second Division status, and all Devon joins in wishing them every success in their new sphere. Their place has been taken by Notts County, relegated from Division Two. Merthyr Town failed to secure re-election and the new club, Thames, will make their debut in the Football League in Merthyr’s place.

Losing the company of Plymouth Argyle, except in the matter of the annual Devon Professional Championship tournament, and possibly a cup match at some time, the Exeter and Torquay United clubs will have the “Devon Derby” atmosphere all to themselves. Exeter’s first League match is at home to Norwich City.


Paul F


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