Hopes and Expectations
Practice Matches
9th August 1952
16th August 1952

1952/53  Exeter City Football Club

When Mr Norman Kirkman took command at St James's Park last season he said: "If we can escape trouble and avoid having to seek re-election I shall be satisfied for the time being." He was more hopeful, at the time, than confident. His expert eye detected several weaknesses in the ranks. He sensed that the City team had lost the essential keenness and that in place of team work there was a good deal of ragged and purposeless play. 

Mr Kirkman successfully applied himself to the task of restoring the side's morale. 

He could do no more at so belated a stage of the season and  gallantly stage  though the team toiled in the final weeks, the application to be taken back into the Football League was not avoided.

Then came the issue of the retain and transfer lists. The City club announced that roughly one half of their playing staff were not being kept on. Abundant scope was left for the acquisition of new talent. Mr Kirkman knew the requirements and he knew, too, that only limited a amount of cash was available.


Lots of managers would have quailed at the heartbreak of such a task, but not Mr Kirkman, a man with a shrewd business sense and persuasive ways.

His first signings fired the imagination, for did he not talk Barnsley into parting with the experienced Eddie Murphy at an incredibly modest fee for a man who eighteen months earlier had cost £8,000 when bought from Northampton Town? Did he not plead with his old Southampton board of directors and entice the former Irish international goalkeeper Hugh Kelly to come to St James's Park?

Here were two moves which caused much raising of eyebrows in Football League board-rooms. Directors elsewhere were heard to comment that the City club must have come into some money to afford the luxury of such well-known performers of the Murphy and Kelly calibre. Unfamiliar with Mr Kirkman's flair for bargaining they were entitled to hold that opinion.


Ken Rose, an inside or centre-forward, was a less spectacular signing, this young player from Chesterfield being secured on a free transfer, after Mr Kirkman had received a favourable "tip-off" about him. Then the full-back, "Sandy" Anderson from Southampton was the next to be signed up, and in this case Exeter City's manager needed no outside opinion, for both were playing associates for several seasons at the Dell. The line-up was gradually taking shape. It was completed very
recently by a brace of outstanding captures, Jackie Knight, inside forward, from Chesterfield, and Jimmy Dailey, centre-forward, from Birmingham.

Those who saw Knight in action during Exeter City's final practice on August 16th are convinced that the Grecians have had no more talented footballer for a long while.

Dailey's record in First and Second Division circles suggests that he will give most Southern Section defences a harassing time.

In his Morris Minor car of pre-war vintage Mr Kirkman has scoured the country in search of talent.
When his achievements are analysed he can be said to have done a good job of work against long odds.


Running a Third Division football club is like staging provincial a variety bill. The cast must be changed substantially at intervals for no public will consistently support a team which, faring in poor to moderate degree, continues to show little change with the passing of the seasons.

Exeter City are proof of this. Supporters clamoured for drastic changes last year, but were served largely with the "mixtures as before." Few fresh faces arrived upon the St James's Park scene.
There were hundreds of once-regular supporters who stopped at home, or
sought their Saturday afternoon entertainment elsewhere. That has been altered now. Attracted by fresh talent the old clients are rallying again to the City's cause.

No Exeter City season has opened on a note of richer promise than this one. Where pessimism existed, optimism reigns today. The crowds will be coming back to St James's Park. Good football will keep them there. The outlook is bright, and a new spirit is abroad at the City's head quarters. The general opinion is that this will be a far better, and far more successful season than the last one.

The reason for this line of thought is that because, in the main, the men who have come are a more talented set than those who have gone. Murphy, Knight, and Dailey should add to the craft and power of attack. Kelly's goalkeeping credentials are obvious. Anderson looked the part of a steady defender in the final trial. Mitchell and Rose are keen to advance in their profession. Their approach is correct, and they are of the right age to improve.


Mr S.H.Thomas, chairman.
Mr F.P.Cottey, vice-chairman.
Messrs A.T.Ford, C.W.H.Hill, J.Lake, J.Rigby, L.Seward, J.Warne,H.White.

Secretary: Mr G.J.Gilbert.
Manager: Mr N.Kirkman.
Trainers: Mr J.Gallagher, Mr S.W.Cutting.

List of Players.

Goal: H.R.Kelly, B.Singleton.

Backs: A.F.Anderson, J.D.Clark, N.Kirkman, E.S.Rowe, R. Walton.

Half-backs:- I.W.Armes, S.Booth, F.Davey, R. L. Doyle, P.D.Fallon, R.Goddard, K.W.Harvey.

Forwards: J.Dailey, D.F.Digby, R.G.Howells, J.Knight, C.McClelland,
A.Mackay, A.Mitchell, E.Murphy, D.J.T.Regan, K.Rose.

Captain:- R.Goddard,
Vice-captain: - F.Davey.


W.Brown, S.Carter and D. Warren to Yeovil Town.
S.Charlton to Leyton Orient.
W.E.Coley to St Austell.
W.Harrower and R.Smart to Bideford.
D.G.Hutchings to Barnstaple Town. R.J.Mitchell to Headington United.
D. Reid to Il fracombe.
A.N.Smith to Carlisle United.

New Players,

Murphy, born Hamilton, previously Hibernian, Morton, Northampton Town,

Kelly, born Lurgan, previously Belfast Celtic, Fulham, Southampton.

Rose, born Eckington, previously Chesterfield.

Anderson, born Monifeith, previously St Johnstone, Forfar Athletic, Southampton.

Mitchell, born Rawmarsh, previously Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Notts County.

Knight, born Bolton, previously Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Preston North End, Chesterfield.

Dailey, born Glenboig, previously Wolverhampton Wars, Third Lanark, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham City.



Saturday, August 9th 1952.


Half-time 0-0.


Kelly; Walton, Kirkman;
Booth, Goddard, Fallon; Mitchell, F.Murphy, P.Davey, A.N.Other, McClelland.


Singleton; F.Davey, Rowe;
K.V.Harvey, Doyle, Rose; Digby, Mackay, Howells, E.Murphy, Regan.

Referee:- Mr S.J.Smythe.

Attendance 4,154,
receipts £310. 3s. 6d.

Saturday, August 16th 1952.

REDS (Mitchell) 1 BLACK AND AMBERS (Knight, Howells) 2.
Half-time Reds 0 Black and ambers 1.


Kelly; Anderson, Kirkman;
Booth, Goddard, K.W.Harvey; Mitchell, Rose, P.Davey, F.Murphy, McClelland.

Black and ambers:

Singleton; Walton, Rowe; F.Davey, Doyle, Fallon; Digby, Mackay, Howells, Knight, Regan.

Referee:- Mr R.Jewell.


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