Cyril Spiers

Birth Date

4th April 1902





Biographical Text

Just days after Glen Wilson’s sacking, one of the most experienced football personality became manager of Exeter City. Cyril Spiers was a 60-year-old chief scout with Leicester City.

He had first began his career with Aston Villa with whom he remained for seven years before transferring to Tottenham Hotspur.

A leg injury virtually ended his career after taking his total of League appearances to 262. Following on from this, he became assistant manager to Major Frank Buckley whilst at Molineux, as well as having two spells as manager of Cardiff City and one each with Norwich City and Crystal palace.

Whilst at City, he was very keen to develop youngsters, thus he brought in Jack Edwards as trainer at Exeter. Edwards had been with him as an amateur at Cardiff City and later as a professional with Crystal Palace.

Unfortunately, Cyril Spiers parted company with the club on "amicable terms" after only nine months and during a spell when the weather had prevented play for the previous six weeks.

The press reported on the situation at the time. 

"Who next and what next, for Exeter City? This, and a dozen other questions, are still unanswered. Included are the two biggest questions of all. Why ever did this happen, and what effect will it have on the already not-too-distinguished name of the City club? Cyril Spiers came to Exeter at a time when the football club was at one of its lowest ebbs. But the very last thing that he promised was instant success. Right from the start he emphasized that his was a policy for the future. It was a youth policy, which in time, and only in time, it would take Exeter City out of trouble.


He started to build. He got a response from local youngsters that was impossible just 12 months ago. And his team of youngsters, the Exeter City Juniors, won their way through to the third round of the Youth Cup before losing to Plymouth Argyle Juniors, drawing admiration and praise from everyone. In dealing with the City first team Mr Spiers has instilled into the players a greater degree of fighting spirit, even when two or three goals down, than has been seen at St James's Park for years. He also devised one or two new tactical approaches, most notably the so-called 4-3-3 team formation, which puts an extra man in the defence and brings the extreme wingers back to deeper positions, the theory behind this being that the wingmen do not stand about on the touch-lines waiting for the ball to come to them, but move into a deeper position to involve themselves in the game to a much greater degree than hitherto, especially when the team is having to defend. And with the opposition pushing upfield to attack a quick breakaway from a deep position could bring a surprise goal. The finances, always the blackest side of the City's picture, were improving. Both the chairman and the vice-chairman publicly stressed that "the club was far from broke" and that the position was not nearly as black as it was painted. So there is just one inference to be drawn, which is that the board was not satisfied with the progress of the first team. They wanted success more quickly than Mr Spiers and the players seemed to be providing it. And if this is true, then they hired the wrong man in the first place because Mr Spiers had already told them that it would take longer, in fact much longer, than the six months that this season has so far travelled. Another point which is strange is the timing of the move, as the team has not played a game since the end of December. So why?"

He immediately returned to Leicester City as their chief scout for the south of England.

Cyril Spiers to died on 21 May 1967




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