Artefact handed over from football club to rugby sideExeter City Football Club made a ceremonial handover of an old photograph to Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club during the Grecians’ home fixture against Stevenage.
The photograph, dated 1902, depicts ‘Exeter Football Team’ and found its way to Exeter City director Paul Farley under the assumption that it belonged to Exeter City FC.
However, on closer inspection, it transpired that it had come to the football club in error. The first clue was that it predated the formation of Exeter City FC (who became known as such in 1904), and secondly the number of players in the team was also a giveaway.
And if that wasn’t evidence enough, the ovular shape of the ball certainly gave the game up!
The rugby club which is now known as Exeter Chiefs was formed as ‘Exeter Football Club’ in 1872, later being retitled to the less-confusing ‘Exeter Rugby Club’ and then taking on the Chiefs moniker during the 1990s.
Exeter City FC were pleased to hand over this photo to the Chiefs, where it will take place in its rightful home at the rugby museum.
The handover was made by Exeter City director Paul Farley (far right) and fellow director and former ‘Exeter Football Club’ winger Steve Williams (second right), and was received on behalf of Exeter Chiefs by President Bob Staddon (second left) and current winger and local lad Matt Jess (far left).
Steve Williams said: “It is rumoured that this is the first time that I have passed anything to my former full-back colleague Bob Staddon on a pitch – it normally only worked the other way!
“It gives us great pleasure to be able to present this artefact to Exeter Chiefs – both of our clubs are steeped in history and we are glad that this memento of the rugby club’s roots has made its way home.”
Bob Staddon added: “On behalf of Exeter Chiefs, I thank Exeter City Football Club for their splendid hospitality at the match and especially for the presentation of the 1902 Exeter rugby photograph which will have special significance amongst our other valued memorabilia by way of its interesting route to the Chiefs! May we wish the Grecians the best of luck for the rest of the season.”