City’s legendary striker looking forward to the derby fixture
Despite being on the playing staff with the Grecians for the best part of a decade, a gulf in divisions throughout the period meant that Exeter City legend Alan Banks never featured in Devon Derbies in the Football League for the Grecians.
He did, however, feature in a few cup ties and one particularly long-winded League Cup tie that was within moments of going to a third replay. And, therefore, he knows all about what it means to players and supporters to feature in this kind of arena.
“The first time I played against Plymouth was in the Devon Bowl,” recalls Banks. “I don’t know how many thousands of people were there for that, but both teams put first-teams out and we beat them 4-1.
“The other big clash we had them was in the League Cup, which went to three games. We drew away at Home Park, then it was goalless after extra-time at St James Park, so the third game was at Torquay. We scored with basically the last kick of the game to go through to the next round. There were around 15,000 people at Home Park, and then about 10,000 at both St James Park and Plainmoor.
“Everybody was saying to us, ‘You’ve got to beat Plymouth!’ It was the same then as it is now – everyone looks forward to these games, especially the supporters, and it’s great when you win them. They were ding-dong battles, with no quarter given.”
You can read the full interview with Alan Banks in Saturday’s issue of The Grecian, our matchday programme, which will be on sale around the ground ahead of the game.
And if you see Banksy at the ground at the derby – be sure to wish him a happy 75th birthday! And hopefully the team will gift-wrap three points for the former City forward to cap a great day.