Gerry Francis, player-manager during Exeter City's 1983/84 relegation season, made 28 league appearances for the club during a near-500 game Football League career that included 312 games for Queen's Park Rangers. Playing in a Loftus Road side that challenged for the old Division One title in 1976, he briefly captained England and also played for Crystal Palace and Coventry before arriving at St James' Park. After leaving Exeter, Gerry eventually returned to management with Bristol Rovers (twice), QPR (twice) and Tottenham Hotspur.
For much of the mid- and late-1970s Gerry had been captain and a central midfield player with Queens Park Rangers, a club he had joined as an apprentice before playing 295 league matches (scoring 53 goals) in the blue-and-white hoops and appearing 12 times for England. He was then transferred to Crystal Palace in July 1979 but returned to QPR for a second spell in February 1981. Moving on to Coventry City in February 1982, he had made 50 league outings (scoring twice) for the Highfield Road club prior to arriving at Exeter City in August 1983 in a flurry of publiicity.
Not yet thirty-two, this was to be Gerry's first experience of management as he took over a team that had just finished 19th in the third-tier. Playing himself in 28 of the Grecians' first 40 games of the 1983/84 season, City's results were consistently poor with just five wins during that period including a mid-season run of a solitary victory in 22 attempts. With relegation looming, eventually confirmed as City finished bottom of the table with a mere 33 points, Gerry left the club to be replaced by Jim Iley.
Thereafter Gerry had short spells as a player with Cardiff City, Swansea City and Portsmouth before moving to Bristol Rovers in September 1985. He subsequently became manager of the Pirates leading the club to the (old) Third Division title in 1990 at the expense of Bristol City. Gerry was then appointed manager at Queen’s Park Rangers in 1992 for the first season of the newly formed Premier League.
Leaving West London in November 1994 he became manager of Tottenham Hotspur where he remained until resigning in November 1997 after a poor set of results. Soon returning to his roots, Gerry was named manager of QPR for the second time in September 1998 staying at the helm until becoming the club's director of football in February 2001. Thereafter Gerry had another spell of managing Bristol Rovers where he enjoyed little success before his departure in December 2001 after just six months.
After working in television as a pundit, Gerry returned to football as Stoke City’s first team coach before following manager Tony Pulis to Crystal Palace. With Pulis's eventual exit from Selhurst Park, Gerry - now in his early sixties and thirty years past his unhappy time with Exeter City - left Palace in August 2014.