Duggie Regan was one of many players to have had a late start to his senior football career due the Second World War, serving with the Fleet Air Arm, and he was 24-years-old when he made his Football League debut for Exeter City on the opening day of the 1946-47 season against Torquay United.
Regan did in fact appear for the Grecians in the wartime season of 1945-46 when he made 9 appearances and scored two goals in the Division Three South Cup (Southern Section), his first game being against Cardiff City at St James’ Park in January 1946. Story has it that Regan walked into the office at St James’ Park and asked for a trial, which was successful and he was given a contract.
He had previously played in the Devon Minor League. Regan was to top City’s goalscoring charts in 1947-48 with 11 goals in 36 league appearances and he did again the following season with 15 goals in 38 games.
He remained with Exeter until December 1952 when he signed for Bristol City.
The local press reported the transfer:-
"REGAN TO BRISTOL CITY AFTER A GREAT CAREER AT EXETER.
It came as something of a surprise to followers of Exeter City F.C. to learn on Wednesday that Duggie Regan had been transferred City for an undisclosed fee to Bristol. Regan, whose popularity and reputation at Exeter has always been of the highest, and possibly unequalled by any other City player, has enjoyed a splendid career with the Grecians, and apart from Barney Singleton is the longest serving professional on the club's books. Born at Yeovil in June 1922, Douglas Regan was a member of the Plymouth Argyle F.C. ground staff before the war.
He later played for Ingleside, in the Plymouth and District League, and served during the war with the Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm).
He became a professional with Exeter City on January 26th, 1946, since when he has taken part in just over two hundred League games, scoring sixty-two goals, in addition to numerous cup-ties and other matches.
PARTNERSHIP WITH MACKAY A FEATURE.
Regan, whose fast and clever play on the Exeter left wing, his direct and forceful style, and perhaps above all, his knack of cutting in to the middle to score vital goals, has, ever since the resumption of Soccer following the war, endeared him to all who have Exeter City's interests at heart, and won him admiration from football followers on
every Third Division ground in the country.
After helping to form a successful combination with Ray Wright, in the first couple of seasons after the war, he embarked upon a much longer and even more successful one with Angus Mackay, and the work of these two players in the City forward line has more often than not been the most pleasing feature of the Exeter club's performances on the field. Regan will no doubt be badly missed at Exeter, and it is by no means an exaggeration to state that he stands on equal footing with other great City outside-lefts of the past, namely Copestake, John Dockray, Billy Compton, and Arthur Doncaster."
Regan was to play a further 39 league games for the Ashton Gate club, scoring 11 goals. Yeovil Town enquired after the player in February 1955, but the fee of £2,000 for him proved to be too much. On his release at the end of the 1954-55 season, he signed for Weymouth and was still there in 1956-57, although by then playing left-back.
Duggie Reagan died on the 13th December 2006.
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