Hopes and Expectations

SEASON 1958-1959:

Fourth Division Will Bring New Opponents to the Park

In attempting to sum up the prospects of Exeter City for the season about to commence the evidence seems to show that there will be, if any, little improvement. Practically no change from last year can be seen by the majority of the City's followers. But the manager, Mr Frank Broome, has a different view, and is more optimistic. 

  • The fact that Exeter City finished bottom of the 3rd Division South last season means little to Mr Broome.
  • The fact that his professional staff has been increased scarcely at all means little more.
The facts on which he bases his ideas are not so superficial. They ignore the actual results of last season and the final position in the League chart. They go deeper into the reasons for the results. And they come out like this: the team was definitely improving towards the end of the campaign and they they lost Johnny Nicholls with a cartilage injury meaning a subsequent operation. The defence had tightened up a lot. And in the close season the club wanted to sign new players, both defenders and forwards, but they had to be the right players at the right price. It was of no use to sign players just for the sake of new faces. They signed the defenders they wanted, and there is only one position now requiring to be filled, that of inside-forward.


The man who looks like having possession of that place for a while. is Ray John. And this player, who has already proved his capacity for hard work and versatility, could be a big success there. If he does come off he will know he has saved the club the sums of money they might have spent on Gordon Quinn, of Plymouth Argyle, Brian Birch, of Barrow, or Eddie Baily of Nottingham Forest, each of whom were close-season targets. Should John not succeed then the City will have another wing- half available, which is a fairly well-filled position already, and may be able to spend more on a new inside forward. Exeter City's summer financial position has been far from happy. But if the early season gates are reasonable, and not too much money is lost on the trips to the North of England, the club will perhaps be in a position to fork out the required transfer fee for the right man. The defensive positions should not cause much trouble. For as well as the men they already have, Foley, MacDonald, Oliver, Harvey, Packer, and Mitchell, the signing of Bert Carberry, from Port Vale, and Brian Whitnall, from Scunthorpe, and now Charlie Rutter, from Cardiff City, means there are any number of variations for places in the defensive positions. It will take some good results, though, right from the start of the season, to get the spectators in through the turnstiles, because it is new faces which draw them in the first few months.


But if there are only a few new faces, of other there are plenty things that are new, for instance: 
  • A new division, the Fourth.
  • New opponents, from Barrow, Carlisle, York, Carlisle, Darlington and Halifax.
  • A new Southern League, this being divided into two divisions, north and south, again with new opponents and a new inter-zone competition for a Cup.
  • A new City team to watch in mid-week, the South-western League side, which will consist of amateurs and young players on trial.
  • A new trainer, Eddie Nash, whose new ideas and methods have helped to make the players fit and happy.

The future, then, might not be as bleak as it looks at first sight. The Exeter City chairman, Mr. A. S. Line, has given himself and his board of directors five years to achieve real success, with a good measure of achievement to come this year. Mr Frank Broome has three years on contract to run through his ideas and to develop the many young players now on the City's books and the ground staff. One certainty in this season of more varied soccer is that the City, whatever happens, cannot possibly finish lower than they did in the season just gone. And that is something to be thankful for.
The following players have left Exeter City for new clubs as follows, Bell to Grimsby Town, Churms to Folkestone, Wilson to Bridgewater, Waterman to Worcester City, and Beer to Bideford. Bowkett has given up football.


Exeter City will start the season with the following players, 27 in all, two goalkeepers, four backs, eight half-backs, and thirteen forwards. They are:

Goalkeepers:- G.Hunter, J.Lobbett. Backs:- T.Foley, C.Rutter, L.MacDonald, B. Whitnall.
Half-backs:- D.Butterworth, B.Lightly, K. Harvey, K.Oliver, N.Packer, B.Carberry, A.Mitchell, P.Rapley.
Forwards: M.Cleverly, D.Robinson, N.Stiffle, I.Grinney, E.Calland, R.John, D.Hill, J.Nicholls, T.Atkins, B.Pulman, G.Dale, R.Rackley, G.Rees.

Amateurs:- B. Hart, J.Haig, R.Cragg, M.Palmer, A.Willey, J.Bulger, D.Lightfoot, B.Skinner, A. Cruz.

Captain:- Arnold Mitchell.
Vice captain :- K.Harvey.
Secretary:- Mr G.Gilbert.
Manager:- Mr F.Broome.
Trainer:- Mr E.Nash.

Directors:- Messrs S. Thomas, J.Rigby, A.S.Line, A.T.Ford, J.Warne, H.White, W.Crawshaw, J.Watts, L.Kerslake, J.Cowley.


August 16th at St James's Park

PROBABLES 3 (Nicholls, Calland, Stiffle)
POSSIBLES 2 (Oliver own goal, Rees)

Attendance 1,600, gate receipts to charity.

Probables:- Hunter; Foley, MacDonald; Mitchell, Oliver, Harvey; Stiffle, John, Calland, Nicholls, Dale.
Possibles: Lobbett; Whitnall, B.Hart; Butterworth, Carberry, Rapley; Atkins, Pulman, M.Mason, Rees, Robinson.

Second half Hill and Rackley replaced Pulman and Robinson.


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