Exhibition: Life at Exeter City FC captured by top photographer

Exhibition takes place on Thursday November 17, from 11am-5pm at SJP

From the groundsmen carefully tending the grass, to players refuelling after the match in the changing rooms under the Old Grandstand, many aspects of matchday life at Exeter City Football Club are brought to life in a new exhibition at St James Park thanks to the Heritage Lottery funded, History of St James Park project.

Over the course of several visits in 2016, FIFA consultant and renowned World Cup football photographer Peter Robinson spent time recording the people and the structures that support Exeter City.

The result is an exhibition, Looking at Football, which will be on display to the public in the club’s Heritage Lounge on 17 November from 11am to 5pm.

The behind-the-scenes shots show the staff who look after the club, players preparing for action, and the reaction of fans. The exhibition is part of the Being Human Festival of Humanities, and part of an ongoing partnership between Exeter City and the University of Exeter to preserve and share the history of the club.

Researchers are working with Exeter City staff, supporters, fans, current and former players, volunteers and students to develop a rich archive, which includes film, photographs, sound, and artefacts, to showcase City’s fascinating history and illustrate the role the club and Supporters Trust have played in the community over the last one hundred years.

Gabriella Giannachi, Professor in Performance and New Media in the department of English, PhD student Will Barrett, and, since 2013, thirty-one undergraduate student interns, in collaboration with the University of Exeter’s Digital Humanities team have created a web archive for the Club and Supporters Trust called Grecian Archive which also features in Gabriella Giannachi’s forthcoming MIT book publication Archive Everything: Mapping the Everyday.

The team has worked with the Senior Reds to capture their earliest memories about watching ECFC play football in series of films, all available in the archive. This prompted the club to set up a former players association and collect some memorable items that may in the future be used to create a Exeter City museum. Peter Robinson’s exhibition is the first step towards such an initiative.

Mr Barrett, who manages the Grecian Archive and is a researcher in the department of English, said: “Peter took thousands of fantastic pictures of life at City, and 35 will be displayed and kept at the club. This exhibition is a must-see for all fans of our football club.

“This is just part of our work to preserve the heritage of Exeter City FC for the community and future generations, and it will all be available to see in the Grecian Archive”

The unveiling of the pictures comes after a reunion of former players last month. Around 40 former players and managers met at St James Park in an event held to mark their place in Grecian Archive. There is now an A to Z section giving information about all former players.

The men, who played from the 1960’s to the modern day, were able to watch the Exeter City match against Cambridge United. This is their first formal meeting in recent years and the event was part of the Heritage Lottery Funded, History of St James Park project.