Run by the Supporters Trust in association with the ECFC Museum, the free stadium tours of St James Park were introduced during the 2011/12 season and have become a regular feature on Saturday match-days.
They have grown in popularity and requests are also received from schools, outside organisations, and individuals to have a tour on a non-match-day.
A Covid compliant tour is in place (see club website) however, the regular tour presents supporters with a wonderful opportunity to experience what goes on behind the scenes at a professional football club on a match-day with visits to the dressing rooms, boardroom and security centre, which provides an additional unique insight into their match-day role.
The tour also provides the opportunity for visitors to the Park to see all of the ECFC Museum's many displays, which include the History of ECFC Timeline, the Walk of Fame Strikers Mural, and the Hall of Fame in the Stagecoach Adam Stansfield Stand.
You also get to visit the Display Room in the Park building, which houses some of the rare and valuable items that have been collected by the museum, including a ball from the club's tour of South America in 1914 and a medal from our 1934 triumph in the Division Three South Cup.
Throughout, the guides relay information about the history of Exeter City, making use of visuals and displays which are all around the stadium plus some unusual and interesting stories fans may not be familiar with, e.g. why they put clinker (burnt coal) under the goalmouths.
The tours usually last around 90-minutes and what is evident is the co-operation and willingness of everyone to ensure the supporters feel welcome including the opposition kit-men, always keen to join in friendly banter with the group.
The home dressing room is the most popular location with young and old taking the opportunity to have their photo taken beside the shirt of their favourite player. You may even encounter Matt Taylor and, despite it being a match day, he has always been prepared to spend a few minutes talking with and having his picture taken with supporters.
Match officials are also willing to spend time with supporters, allowing children to put a display on the extra time/substitutions board. They also get the opportunity to press the buzzer which goes off in both dressing rooms.
This is pressed by the match official just before kick-off signalling that both teams should leave the dressing rooms and move into the player's tunnel. However, it appears that often the match official is required to bang on the dressing room doors in order to bring about a response!Overall, our stadium tour covers a wealth of history relating to the football club, as well as the important social and personal connections.
To find out more about these tours please contact David_Luxton@sky.com