Plymouth-raised Anthony Thirlby came through the youth ranks to make nearly forty league appearances for Exeter City. He later played for Torquay United before carving a successful career in the graphics industry.
Leaving school in Plymouth in 1992, Anthony became a trainee with Exeter City ahead of earning a full professional contract in July 1994. Having already made his debut against Cardiff City in August 1993, he went on to represent Northern Ireland at youth level whilst making 39 league appearances - 27 starts and a dozen from the bench - in two challenging seasons for the Grecians during which relegation from the third-tier was followed by finishing at the foot of the division below. Having been somewhat thrown in at the deep end, and featuring under both Alan Ball and Terry Cooper, the nineteen-year old Anthony left the club at the end of the 1994/95 campaign having played a surprising amount of first-team football.
Initially playing for Tiverton Town, Anthony was given another chance in the Football League when he appeared in three games for Torquay United on a non-contract basis in February and March 1997. Whilst subsequently playing for Dorchester Town, Bracknell Town and Woking, Anthony found his way into the design and print industry where he worked alongside former Grecians' colleague Ross Bellotti for a while before eventually rising to the postion of managing director and chief executive with several large companies in the sector.