Hore and Delve looking forward to the derby
With Plymouth Argyle in town next weekend, two legends that know all about the Devon Derby stopped by at St James’ Park and reminisced about their experiences in the most keenly-anticipated fixture of the season.
And each were also keen to stress that they hoped that the match will be contested in the right spirit, both on and off the field.
St Austell-born defender Johnny Hore, left, featured over 400 times for the Plymouth Argyle. He then crossed the divide and finished his career with Exeter City, clocking up almost 200 more appearances at the end of the 1970s. Hore also had brief spells as manager of both clubs after hanging up his boots.
Midfielder John Delve, right, moved to St James’ Park after a four-year spell with Plymouth Argyle in 1978 and turned out over 200 times for Exeter in six years. After four seasons away from Devon at Hereford United, Delve returned to the club for one last season to represent the Grecians.
The pair lined up as teammates both in the red of Exeter and the green of Plymouth, and they have fond memories of both representing both Devon sides – especially on derby day.
John Delve said: “I see more of Exeter nowadays because I’m still based here, so I see most of the Saturday games. But on the occasions when I get invited, I really like to go back to Plymouth as well – it’s nice to be remembered at both places.
“It’s good for the area if both teams are doing well. With Torquay just down the road too, it makes it extra special this year with a few derbies to look forward to.
“Sometimes the attitude of the public these days isn’t so much about the football, as about what goes on off the park – but I really hope that doesn’t come into it in this game. The rivalry is really good and it should be all about the football.”
Johnny Hore said: “Local derbies are special, because you always want to put one over on your mates! There have always been players that have moved between Plymouth and Exeter – for example I played with Delvey, and I played against him.
“We all love the area. I’m from this neck of the woods originally and I had no great ambitions to move too far away, so it was the ideal move when I’d finished at Plymouth to come to Exeter.
“Torquay now have got Martin Ling and Shaun Taylor down there too, so I look out for them. I’m always really pleased to see all three of the teams in the area doing well. I’m always made welcome here at Exeter and at Argyle also – and Lingy has said I’m welcome at Torquay any time too.”
The derbies are always fervently contested on the pitch, but behind the scenes the three Devon clubs enjoy a fruitful partnership. Board members from Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay meet regularly to brainstorm, share ideas, and generally work towards promoting the health of football in the South West.
Exeter City CEO Julian Tagg said: “At City we love to have the bragging rights as much as anyone, but off the pitch it’s vital that we work in tandem with other local clubs in our region to make sure we’re all pulling in the same direction.
“Down the years we’ve had countless meetings with our neighbours, including as recently as last Thursday. We’ve got a great relationship with our friends from across Devon and long may that continue.”
Click here to view an interview exclusive to Grecian Player with the two City and Argyle legends at St James' Park.