Hopes and Expectations


FRIDAY 27th JUNE 1969.


This Summer there is a definite shortage of players in the transfer market and one manager who is finding his search for new signings particularly frustrating is Exeter City's John Newman, The City boss has made definite enquiries for more than 20 players who interested him, and had actually interviewed at least eight of them. These have either rejected the City offer or are stalling for as long as possible in case they get a better offer elsewhere.



Pre season training began at Exeter City after the players reported yesterday afternoon to be kitted out, Player manager John Newman said he hoped that they would use Wyvern Barracks again, possibly going over the assault courseThe City would also be using Exeter University facilities. New trainer Reith Harvey said the general set up would be more or less the same as before. This week would be devoted to road walking, weight training and cross country running, Fifteen players have been signed on for next season, but full back Cecil Smyth is on the transfer list at his own request,Better news comes from Exeter City chairman Les Kerslake. He is recovering from slight heart trouble and jaundice and has been ill for a month, but today's progress report said he was much improved.

New Signings

Exeter City have signed on three new professionals, John Giles, an outside right or left and Steve Morris, a wing half back, both of Bristol City, and Bruce Walker, an outside left, of Bradford City. As against this they have lost the services of Curtis, who will be a Bideford player this season, Alan Pinkney, the former St. Luke's College man, who has joined Crystal Palace, and John Rowlands, who was given a free transfer and has been engaged by Stockport County. Kirkham, who lost his place in the team towards the end of the last season, and Whatling were also not retained, and their whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing. Cecil Smyth, who came over from Ireland seven years ago, since when he has blossomed out into as good a full-back as the City have had in its entire history seems regrettably to be on the point of sev ering his connection with the City club. He was naturally offered terms for the new season but Torquay in the meantime came along with a good offer for him. The player is apparently quite keen on the idea of changing clubs, Torquay United are keener still on having him for this season, and Exeter City have been fair to a man who has been a good servant in the course of these seven years, stating that they do not wish to stand in his way if he wishes to build a new career elsewhere, so at the moment the matter rests there.


One rainy afternoon just over eighteen years ago, March 31st 1951. to be precise, a couple of young and inexperienced amateur players were included in a scratch team representing Exeter City Reserves for a friendly at St James's Park against Devon County. Stanley Charlton junior, the 21 years old son of the illustrious City left-back and captain in the 1920s, was one of these players. The other was a well built sixteen years old boy from Crediton by the name of Keith Harvey. Charlton junior, who was still in the Army on National Service with the Royal Artillery at Woolwich Barracks, never did play for the City, apart from a few more appearances with the Reserves, but as a member of the Bromley F.C. in 1951-52 was "capped" four times by England (amateur), then as a professional with Leyton Orient, the Arsenal, and back to Leyton again took part in about 500 Cup and League matches between 1952 and 1964 before retiring. Keith Harvey of course needs no introduction here. He signed professional forms for Exeter in August 1952, made his first-team debut at Bristol v the Rovers on September 27th of that year, and became first choice two years later as a strong upstanding centre-half with outstanding defensive qualities. The Crediton man went on to play nearly 500 times for Exeter, and he would have broken Arnold Mitchell's appearances record had it not been for injuries. The most serious of these, apart from fracturing his collar bone no fewer than three times, was a broken leg, sustained in the public practice match of August 1962, but even this did not prevent the tough Devonian from missing only twenty-four games before getting back to fitness and finishing that season with a flourish. And now, after a record-breaking span of eighteen seasons with the Grecians, during which he has all the time quietly got on with his job of playing football, never causing the club the tiniest amount of trouble or concern, and never coming under the ban of a referee, he has finally decided to "call it a day." A fine footballer and a fine sportsman Keith will continue to serve Exeter in the capacity of trainer. Exeter City's other departure is Fred Binney, who has had to return to Torquay United under the terms of his agreement.


Bruce Walker, aged 23 years, was born in Newbury, and signed on for Swindon Town as an apprentice professional six years ago. He spent five seasons with the "Railwaymen" before moving up to Bradford in March 1968. He is an outside-left with a fast and direct style and the possessor of an exceptionally powerful shot.

John Giles, who is 22 and a Bristolian, is the nephew of Albert Giles, a former Bristol Rovers player, and has played for Bristol City, and the other Bradford club, the Park Avenue. He has mostly figured in the reserve sides of these clubs, but can adapt to any position at either wing half or inside forward, and hopes to make himself at Exeter. a name for

Steve Morris, the last of the three newcomers, is only 20 years of age, and also Bristol-born. In two seasons with Bristol City he failed to establish himself, but like Giles, is hoping to create a more favourable impression with both the management and the supporters of Exeter City.

The trouble with Exeter City last season was that a whole series of inconsistent performances which brought about topsy-turvy results left them floundering in the lower reaches of the League table and consequent fears of relegation when everybody knew that the team was capable of better things. In fact, with the season three quarters
over the City's chances of avoiding re-election appeals looked grim indeed. Then, almost overnight as it were, the picture had changed when the matches against Newport, Rochdale, Wrexham, and Brentford yielded them three wins and a draw. And Exeter City, whose form and certainly whose goalscoring, showed a rapid improvement with the securing of Binney from Torquay on a loan transfer, battled on to the end, and reached the safety mark in their last home game, when Halifax were beaten by 2 goals to 0.


A strange fact concerning last season's statistics was that Exeter, although finishing up no higher than seventeenth in the League and with their losses outnumbering their victories they actually scored more goals than they had scored against them. But the way League football is constructed it is of no advantage, or very little, to win one game by 6 - 0 and then lose the next two by 10 or 2 1. It's points that count, every time. - So it is to be hoped that fewer vagaries of form can be shown this season by the team, and that a respectable League position will be held by the club when the curtain is rung down next April. The great event of 1969-69 was the visit of Manchester United, who came here for the third round F.A.Cup-tie in January and which game was attended by the biggest crowd seen at St James's Park for some years, but the repetition of something like this can only be hoped for and not taken for granted!

Wednesday July 30th.
Bideford 1 Exeter City 3:

Peter Druce, who is reputedly a goalscoring "ace" from Lynton and who last year was the skipper of Devon County's junior side, took just two minutes of the practice match to push his claims for one of the forward places in Bideford's opening Western League game. Druce came on as the substitute inside left after the interval and almost immediately got a goal against Exeter City. The goal equalised the one scored by Banks for Exeter earlier, and although it gave Bideford much-needed encouragement two goals in the last twenty minutes, one a penalty, gave Exeter a 3 - 1 win. Exeter did not dominate the game with the kind of authority which might have been expected from a Football League side taking on a team of part-timers.

An improvement will be looked for in the next practice match, at St James's Park against Bristol Rovers, before the City club can be satisfied about their chances in the opening League game, against Wrexham on August 9th. At centre-forward big John Wingate showed how well he can get the better of opponents by the means of brains and skill in addition to speed and strength, and there is no doubt that he is a promising prospect, but on the team's performance it looks once again as though Exeter's main goalscoring hope will have to be Alan Banks.

Defensively the full-backs, Smyth and Crawford, looked sound, but they were helped by some indifferent play by the Bideford wingers. Exeter's goals were scored by Banks, Mitten (penalty) and Wingate.
The team was:-
Shearing; Crawford, Smyth; Parker, Newman, Balson; Corr, Banks, Wingate, Mitten, Pleat. Sub Sharples.

Friday August 1st.
City 1 Bristol Rovers 1:

The City's big problem as seen in this match is one of finishing. The lack of punch near goal was evident as several good opportunities were created but the final thrust, particularly in the first half, was not there. Banks never really got going and Wingate was generally well held by the Rovers' big centre half, Stuart Taylor. Wingate, however, put in one good header that deserved a goal and helped to make the goal scored by Exeter in the second half. Sheppard, the Bristol goalkeeper, made two very good saves but he should have been beaten in the first half by both Giles and Walker. Giles, one of the City's new players, looks like being more than useful as a midfield man. He moves quickly to the ball, as he demonstrated in the 50th minute to score a well-taken goal, placing the leather past the advancing goalkeeper. In the middle of the second half Exeter went through a poor patch. The defence looked disorganised, and the Rovers gave the City some anxious moments. Stubbs equalised in the 70th minute and hit the crossbar with another shot five minutes later. Too much cannot be read from a practice match but not long from now the Fourth Division will answer the big question: "What are Exeter City's chances this season?" The transfer of Smyth to Torquay has now been completed.
Exeter City F. C.

Players Signed On in August 1969.
Birthplace, position,

Peter Shearing, Uxbridge, goalkeeper

Campbell Crawford, Alexandria, right back

Cecil Smyth, Belfast, left back

Jimmy Blain, Liverpool, left back

Graham Parker, Coventry, right half

Steve Morris, Bristol, right half

John Newman, Hereford, centre half

Brian Sharples, Bradford, centre half

Mike Balson, Bridport, left half

Johnny Corr, Glasgow, outside right

David Pleat, Nottingham, outside right

Alan Banks, Liverpool, inside right

John Wingate, Budleigh, centre forward

John Mitten, Manchester, inside left

John Giles, Bristol, outside left

Bruce Walker, Newbury, outside left

Ground: St. James's Park, Exeter.
Colours: Red and white stripes, black shorts.
Chairman: Mr L.W.Kerslake.
Directors: Messrs F.Dart, J.Cowley, J.Rodgers.
Secretary: Mr M.A.Cosway.
Manager: Mr J.Newman.
Trainer: Keith Harvey.


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