Hopes and Expectations
EXETER CITY FOOTBALL CLUB THIS COULD BE A VITAL SEASON FOR THE CITY
This season could be just about the most vital in the history of the City club. This year can decide whether they continue the pursuit of their progressive programme or slide back to become a Fourth Division nonentity and maybe even disappear from football entirely. For it is a fact that clubs continually at the bottom of the Fourth Division in the next few years will eventually be thrown out to make way for the enterprising clubs outside it, such as Peterborough, to name only one, or be forced out by financial collapse. At the moment Exeter City's future looks very bright, and their new progressive programme started when Mr A.S.Line took over. It has been carried on to the pitch by the manager, Mr F.Broome, and the trainers, Messrs E.Nash and D.Pryde. And in a matter of eighteen months these men took the side from a place almost at the bottom of the division to a spot just one away from promotion.
THE SECOND CHANCE
But this is the season which decides whether or not Exeter's effort has reached its peak. The club must not slide back. Everyone at St. James's Park is determined that it won't. On or off the Off the field, the new board, under its chairman, Mr George Gillin, has spent £5,000 this summer in ground improvements, and in paying off local creditors. And they have plans to make the grandstand and terraces even more comfortable for the City's supporters. On the field they admit that they have much the same team as last year. But last year they only just failed to make the grade. So the same side could do as well, or even better, this year. But if they
don't they club is ready to buy. Mr Gillin and the board have stated that they are optimistic that the club can go one better this season and bring Third Division football to Exeter. While the personnel has not been changed very much they feel that the side which did so well last season should be given another chance this season. And it is a fact that a little more bite in the forward line towards the close of last season could have resulted in a successful conclusion. The board assures the club's supporters that if the same thing were to happen again this year they will not hesitate to go into the market, if necessary.
SPORT AND BUSINESS
Football may be a sport, but at the same time business acumen must play a large part. Exeter City's wages bill is roughly £500 per week, and it is obvious that without aid the club would be struggling, and they wish to avoid the sort of financial crisis they passed through in the past few months. The first (Northampton) hurdle is tough. The next (Stockport, away) may be tougher. It is the opinion of the board that if they can get over these then they can face the future with confidence.
PRACTICE GAME FORM
Those who saw the practice game should have a pretty good idea of the City's close-season acquisitions. Andy Micklewright is obviously a potential first-team inside forward and a goal poacher. Alan Jones is a goalkeeper in the John Lobbett style who looked very competent. Brendon McLaughlin is a young centre half whose positional sense is very sound. He is a very good header of the ball. Jim Emery, the Irish inside forward, created a great impression and seemed untiring. His enthusiasm for the game was infectious, and he appears to be a very fine prospect. Peter Bennett is a tall centre or inside forward of promise. His idea of constructive play was excellent, and he packs a hefty shot. The rest are old faces with known ability, but the manager thinks they will be stronger this season than last.
Three players have left Exeter for other clubs. David Robinson will be seen in the colours of Oldham Athletic this season, John Nicholls has returned to his native west midlands as a Worcester City player, and Eddie Holehouse, a promising young goalkeeper, has joined Bristol City.
PLAYERS SIGNED ON
George Hunter John Lobbett Charles RutterAllan Jones Theo Foley Les MacDonald Brian Whitnall Arnold Mitchell David Butterworth Ken Oliver Keith Harvey Norman Packer Jimmy Thompson Peter Rapley Mike Cleverly Ray Cragg Nelson Stiffle Graham Rees Barry Pulman Ted Calland Dilwyn Hill Peter Bennett Andy Micklewright Trevor Atkins Brian Birch Gordon Dale Bobby Rackley
Practice match at St James's Park, Exeter. Tuesday August 18th 1959.
WHITES (Stiffle, Rees) 2 BLUES 0.
Whites:- Lobbett; Foley, Whitnall; Mitchell, Oliver, Thompson; Stiffle, Rees, Calland, Micklewright, Dale.
Blues:- Jones; Rutter, MacDonald; Butterworth, McLaughlin, Cleverly; Atkins, Emery, Hill, Birch, Rackley.
Teams in the second half
Whites: Jones; Rutter, MacDonald; Mitchell, Packer, Thompson; Stiffle, Birch, Calland, Micklewright, Dale.
Blues:- Lobbett; Foley, Whitnall; Cragg, Harvey, Cleverly; Atkins, Emery, Bennett, Rees, Rackley.