Hopes and Expectations
SUPPORTERS CLUB NOTES
THE FACTS FROM THE OPEN MEETING
By Steve Darke (Supporters Club Secretary)
The Upheavals at St. James' Park over the last month or so have left most sup porters bewildered and angry. Bewil dered because of the 'no comment' policy of the new Board of Directors and angry because this football club's most successful manager was allowed to resign, with no apparent attempt from the club to get him to chance his mind.
With feelings running high following the invasion of the Directors Box against Millwall, a series of meetings were held involving the 'invaders' the Supporters Club and the Staff. The Largest meeting was held in 'The Centre Spot' for Supporters Club members with Stuart Dawe, Archie Gooch and Allen Trump representing the Board. Having heard both sides of the story I will try to report some of the important points in an unbiased manner.
THE GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT
At the end of last season we were led to believe that an agreement was reached between Mr Hill and Mr Doble. In fact no agreement was drawn up by the two gentlemen but discussions took place with a view to an agreement. The general idea was that Mr Doble would be allowed to return after his 12 month ban was completed. The discussions came to an abrupt end on the news that the Fraud Squad were investigating FIGIT related matters at the club. The former Directors of the club considered that the new Directors were involved in instigating this investigation. This was denied.
The new Board made it quite clear that TC was a manager that the club simply could not afford under his existing contract. Apparently as well as his basic salary of £35,000 he received a net 10% of all transfer fees which was totally unacceptable to the Directors. A gross figure of 15% was quoted at earlier meetings. They also stated that TC was paid a large (£30,000) cheque immediately before he quit on the understanding that he was staying with Exeter City. In addition to the parting cheque the manager's earnings were £108,000 for the year ended 30 June 1990-a staggering 16% of the total income of the club.
Stuart Dawe said that he had joined the Board to work with Terry Cooper as he had always respected him as a manager. He said he had established a good working relationship with the manager in the short time they worked together. The club had agreed to all TC's demands and believed, up to his resignation, that he was staying at Exeter City. The new Board said that at no time did they receive an offer from TC to buy out Mr Hill's shares and that the conditions for a return by Mr Cooper, i.e. the re-instatement of Ivor Doble, Peter Carter and Murray Couch, were not acceptable.
In retrospect it could be said that the resignation was a calculated gamble to put pressure on the Directors to resign.
The one worrying feature is there seems to be a further FIGIT scandal soon to be revealed and that a return to the lax running of the club (ie non payment of many bills, several to small, local businesses) would mean financial disaster to the Club. At no time had the Board stated anything other than a liking for Mr Doble as a person. Former Director Michael Holladay, now the Club Secretary, stated that the club was now being run on a more professional basis and, like many people, called for us ALL to forget the past and look forward to a new and exciting era at Exeter City.
I hope that this article has perhaps answered a few questions for most of you. Provided food for thought. If you would like another viewpoint I suggest you read the 'Scandal' article in the latest edition of 'Ex-Directory' the club fanzine. It is a very well written piece and those who are familiar with the publication are sure to know it is very much its own master. The official view of the club is of no interest, they represent the terrace supporters.
Mike Radford, Exeter City Youth Development Officer
At the tail end of last season we had to say farewell to three of our Ap prentices, Lee Annunziata, Jamie Day and Hung Dang. All three had played an important part in our Youth and Reserve sides and were a credit to the Club and themselves both on and off the field during their stay at St. James' Park. Lee has joined Tiverton Town, Jamie will be playing with Dawlish Town and Hung will be starting the season at chard Town all in the Great Mills Western League and we wish them every success for the future.
There are three new faces at St. James' Park in our apprentice ranks. They are local lads Neil Fairchild from Stoke Hill, Exeter and Zak Locke from Stoke Canon with Mark Brown from St Helier, Jersey C.I. making up the trio. Neil can play either in defence or midfield and whilst at St. James' High School gained Devon County Schools U15 and Exeter and East Devon Schools representative honours. Left back, Zak attended Clyst Vale Community College and also represented Exeter and East Devon Schools U15's but missed out on County honours due to illness.
Both boys played regularly for our very successful Under 17 side last season and made a number of ap pearances in our 'A' and Reserve sides.
Forward Mark Brown impressed during a fortnights trial period to wards the end of last season after being recommended to the Club by the Manager of Jersey Celtic.
The new lads join second year apprentices Toby Redwood, Craig Taylor and Australian Glenn Sprod. Under normal circumstances, Stephen Allen from Constantine, Falmouth, Cornwall would have also joined us in July, but unfortunately he is at home recovering from a carti lage operation and it will be about another six weeks before he can commence training.
Ideally, would like to have had a larger squad and although have the provision to add to the present seven apprentices, am looking for quality not quantity. Unfortunately, no one has impressed sufficiently in this age group in the series of trials that we have held recently, which has left us a bit short in some departments, particularly strikers, central defend ers and a youth team goalkeeper.
We have however, got every strong squad of fifteen year old schoolboys who will initially make up the bulk of our Under 17 side, but am also very hopeful that a number of these youngsters will also break into senior football this season which will ease the situation.