Curtis, Dermot

Birth Date

26th August 1932





Biographical Text

Dermot Curtis, earlier signed by Alf Ramsey at Ipswich Town, was a member of the first Exeter City team to win promotion in 1964. He also enjoyed the distinction of becoming the first Grecians player to win a full international cap whilst with the club. Living in the Exeter area for the rest of his life, Dermot was one of the original inductees into the Exeter City Hall of Fame in 2014.

One of eight children Dermot grew up in Drimnagh in Dublin and, progressing through the ranks, became a regular in Shelbourne’s League of Ireland team from the age of twenty. Thrown into the limelight appearing for the League of Ireland XI that faced the (English) Football League in 1956, Dermot performed well - and scored - against a team which included the likes of Billy Wright, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor. Now aged twenty-four and already married to Doreen, Dermot took the life-changing decision to accept an offer from Bristol City in December 1956. 

Staying at Ashton Gate for just over eighteen months, Dermot scored an impressive 16 goals in 26 league matches for Bristol City before his transfer to Ipswich Town in September 1958. Managed by future England manager Alf Ramsey, the Suffolk club was starting a second season in Division Two after winning Division Three (South) in 1957. In an unremarkable debut season, when Ipswich finished 16th, Dermot scored 4 times in 8 league appearances followed by 10 goals in 18 games as Ipswich reached 11th place in 1959/60. 

Dermot featured less-frequently in 1960/61, 5 league appearances (3 goals), when Ipswich caused a major surprise by winning Division Two. Then, as Ipswich confounded practically everybody in football by winning the Football League’s top-tier in 1961/62, Dermot added another 4 appearances to his tally. Featuring 6 times as the club slipped to 17th in 1962/63, Dermot brought down the curtain on his time at Portman Road having scored 17 times in 41 league games. Having won his first full cup for the Republic of Ireland in a 1956 World Cup qualifier against Denmark, Dermot had won a further nine caps during his time with Ipswich to add to the two he had won at Shelbourne and five at Bristol City.      

With his international experience, and his association with a championship-winning side, Dermot was something of a ‘glamour’ signing when - approaching his 31st birthday - he moved to Exeter City in August 1963 in a nominal £1,000 transfer. With the news that Grecians’ director Les Kerslake had flown to Ireland to persuade him to join the club, Dermot made his Exeter City debut - wearing the number 9 shirt - against Bradford City on 24 August 1963. Missing a number of games during the middle part of the 1963/64 season, Dermot proceeded to feature heavily towards the end of the campaign as City mounted a late and successful promotion bid as he contributed a total of 9 goals from 32 league outings. 

Somewhat overshadowed by new arrival Alan Banks’s eighteen goals during the promotion season, Dermot scored another 9 times (from 42 appearances) the following season as - with Alan Banks often sidelined through injury - he claimed the title of City’s top-scorer whilst the club attempted to consolidate in Division Three. Then, having requested a transfer in September 1965, Dermot made just 17 league appearances (scoring 5 times) during Exeter’s 1965/66 relegation campaign before - after previously turning down an £800 move back to Ireland with Dundalk - he headed down the A380 to join Torquay United in August 1966. With the Plainmoor club, managed by Dermot’s one-time international teammate Frank O’Farrell, now in Division Three it was an attractive move for Dermot at such a late stage in his career. However, after just one goal from a dozen league games, Dermot returned to St James’ Park in June 1967 and was back in the Grecians line-up against Bradford City (once again) on 19 August 1967.

Dermot, turning thirty-five a few days after his re-appearance in City’s colours, stayed for two relatively unremarkable seasons in the history of the club as Exeter finished 20th and 17th in Division Four. Yet, on a personal level, Dermot provided good value as he made 35 league appearances (6 goals) in 1967/68 and 31 (including two as substitute) in 1968/69 when he scored on four occasions in the league. Making his farewell appearance in professional football in the final game of the season against Swansea on 5 May 1969, Dermot had made 91 league appearances (23 goals) in his first spell with the club and 66 appearances (10 goals) in his second. Overall he had also scored twice in FA Cup games and four times in the League Cup.    

Dermot’s time at St James’ Park had also been notable for the fact that on 25 September 1963 - after just a handful of games for the club - Dermot became the first current Exeter City player to win a full international cap when he appeared for the Republic of Ireland in a European (Nations) Championship qualifier against Austria in Vienna in what was his 17th (and final) international. Teammates that day included Alan Kelly, Charlie Hurley and Johnny Giles. 

After leaving St James’ Park in the summer of 1969, Dermot joined Western League Bideford where he was a member of the club’s 1970/71 championship-winning side ahead of embarking on a later stint as player-manager of Elmore. Returning to his old Dublin trade as a panel beater, Dermot lived in Broadfields Road, Exeter until his death in November 2008 at the age of seventy-six. 

Remembered for representing City on the international stage, for his part in the club’s promotion 1964 triumph - and also for his late-career return to the club - Dermot Curtis was one of the original group of players inducted into the Exeter City Hall of Fame in 2014.


Exeter City league games only


Appearances as Substitute





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