23 January 1993.
Leyton Orient (a)
Leyton Orient 5 Exeter City 0.
Saturday 23 January 1993.
Having blagged my way into the press box before the game, under the pretence of handing some videos to Andy Gardner, who was covering the game, took the decision to return to the terraces to view the match. Fool!
For my £5 I had the 'privilege' of witnessing one of the worst performances of my City- watching career. The spectre of Blackpool away loomed highly as our boys threw in the towel from the start. At the press conference afterwards, Bally was his usual frank self. "To be honest," he said, "we committed suicide today. We committed elementary errors." Whilst he didn't sound too distraught (we did!), his words gave a hint of his reaction to the afternoon's 'performance': "Orient were stronger and more committed and deserved to win. You've got to defend more resolutely against a side like that."
Anxious to get something other than just excuses, one of the hacks asked how he felt about Buster's brief incursion into the fray. Bally beamed back: "Young Phillips brightened up my day, you can put it that way. It's not very often you unearth a talent like that - I'm glad I've got him!" At which one of the pressmen mumbled "Not for long." Interviewed for Clubcall, Jonathan Brown summed it up thus: "We got punished for five individual errors, it's as simple as that. In the second half we were just playing for our pride." He went on to agree with the interviewers assertion that the highlight of the day was when the fat official ran across the pitch with the replacement corner flag.
Those of you who wonder how the West Country press reports of games seem to differ entirely from what you have watched may be interested in the following. A portly reporter, clad in regulation issue long mac, taps away on his portable keyboard. A fellow hack leans over his shoulder. "Where d'you get these quotes from?" he asks. "I didn't listen to Bally. I made 'em up, to be honest." Enough said. All in all, a game to be swiftly erased from the collective memory.
City: Miller, Hiley, Cook, Bailey, Daniels, Whiston, Brown, Harris, Moran, Gallen (Phillips 60), Hodge. Sub not used: Tonge
Andrew Dye [P.S. Why do always get the crap games to report?]