Vince Hilaire, who joined Exeter City from Stoke City at the end of his near-500 match Football League career, had been a notable player for Crystal Palace in the 1970s and 1980s. He also enjoyed significant spells at Portsmouth and Leeds United.
Vince began his career as a Crystal Palace apprentice in 1976 and made his league debut in March 1977 as he went on to feature in 255 league matches for the club scoring on 29 occasions. Representing England at youth, under-21 and B level he also enjoyed a summer loan to San Jose Earthquakes in 1982.
After eight years as a Selhurst Park trainee and professional, Vince joined Luton Town in July 1984 for a fee of £100,000 but only made six league appearances before a transfer to Portsmouth four months later. Remaining at Fratton Park until July 1988, Vince featured in 146 games for Pompey netting on 25 occasions ahead of joining Leeds United where he was to play 44 league games.
Vince subsequently joined Stoke City, initially on loan but then permanently, where he played just fifteen times in the league before following former-manager Alan Ball to Exeter City in September 1991. Arriving at St James’ Park on a short-term deal, Vince - just short of his 32nd birthday - was a veteran of 466 Football League games with 63 goals to his name. Making his debut against Reading on 28 September 1991, Vince played made 33 times in the league and scored once against Wigan and three times in the two games against Preston North End.
Leaving the Grecians at the end 1991/92, his only season with the club, Vince dropped out of the Football League after fifteen years and joined Havant and Waterlooville before becoming involved in match-day hospitality at Portsmouth and working as a local radio pundit.