Sid Thomas was one of Exeter City’s founding fathers having played for St Sidwell’s United since 1901 before taking part in the newly-named Exeter City's opening fixture in September 1904. He later became a long-serving secretary followed by time as chairman and eventually president. Associated with the club for nearly seventy years in total, Sid’s contribution to the Grecians was remembered when he was inducted into the Exeter City Hall of Fame in 2017.
Sidney Herbert Thomas was born at St Just, not far from Penzance, although his family had moved to Belmont Place, Exeter by the time of the 1891 census with his father working as an insurance agent.
Ten years later the family was living in St Sidwell’s Avenue and, with Sid already having started work as a solicitors clerk, he was - at the age of sixteen - a member of the St Sidwell’s United team that played in the club’s first-ever game in the Exeter and District Junior League against Exeter YMCA in 1901. Playing every game for which records remain - and scoring forty times during 1901/02 - Sid became secretary in the club’s second season and continued to help in an administrative capacity when St Sidwell’s became Exeter City in 1904.
Sid who went on to become managing clerk with Dunn and Baker, a firm of solicitors, played and scored in City’s first game against the 110th Battery Royal Artillery in the East Devon Senior League in September 1904. Sid fittingly marked the occasion by scoring the winning goal.
At first appearing regularly when the club switched to the Plymouth and District League in 1905/06, Sid featured less-often during the following season and played his last first-team game for the club in March 1908. Surviving records show that over the course of Exeter City's first four sessons, Sid - at a time when there were far fewer fixtures - played in 14, 10, 12 and 2 league games scoring 12, 2 and 2 goals respectively in the opening three campaigns but none during his final season.
Recently married to Minnie Burrell - and still a young man in footballing terms - Sid became City’s paid secretary in 1908 as the club embraced the professional ranks by entering the Southern League and remained at the helm when the Grecians were admitted to the new Third Division of the Football League in 1920. Serving in the role for 31 years all told, Sid (then living in Mount Pleasant Road not far from St James' Park) stepped down around the time war was declared in 1939. Serving as a director during the war years, Sid became chairman as football officially resumed at the cessation of hostilities. Remaining in post until his retirement in 1957, Sid then served as president until his death in 1972 by which time he had been involved with the club, and its immediate predecessor, for over seventy years.
As president, even though he no longer had a direct role, Sid always did all he could do to help and later donated money to the club when it was suffering financial difficulties. In acknowledgement of his devotion to the club over a sustained period of time Sid Thomas was inducted in the Exeter City Hall of Fame in 2017.