J Peters, one of St Sidwell’s earliest players, first appeared during 1901/02 and remained on the scene with the renamed Exeter City as first-choice goalkeeper for 1904/05.
Joining the new St Sidwell’s United club, formed largely by a group of 16- and 17-year olds who had attended St Sidwell’s school and lived close to the current St James’ Park, he is first mentioned as appearing in goal in a friendly against Newton Abbot GWR Students on 18 January 1902. With reports and line-ups not surviving for all the games, it’s possible he may have played before then and there is no reference to him playing a league game until he appeared - as an outfield player - against St Leonard’s on 22 February 1902.
Remaining with St Sidwell’s for the rest of the club’s short history, but usually as second-choice ‘keeper behind Robinson, he enjoyed a change of fortune when the club changed its name to Exeter City in 1904. Playing in the first league game against 110 Battery Royal Artillery on 10 September 1904, he was effectively Exeter City’s first-ever goalkeeper and was an ever-present for all but the final game of the 1904/05 league season when he was replaced by Harold Sturge who emerged as first-choice during the next campaign. He is not recorded as making another first-team appearance.
[Whereas there is no J Peters in the 1901 census, there is an Alfred J Peters who would meet the profile of many of St Sidwell’s players: a 15-year-old apprentice apprentice engraver living in High Street, Exeter and who later migrated to Iowa].