Come and join us in the Supporters' Trust Suite at St James Park next Thursday, 30 November to celebrate the induction of four new City Legends into the club’s Hall of Fame.
As the big night approaches, we put the spotlight on the inductees and take a focused look at their time at City.
Despite only playing 38 games for the Grecians, Sidney Thomas is an integral part of Exeter City’s history.
Thomas was heavily involved in the formation of the club and even played in its very first match in September 1904 against 110th Battery Royal Artillery in the East Devon Senior League. The Grecians won 2-1 that day and the winning goal was scored by none other than Thomas himself. Playing as a forward, Thomas remained a player for the club until 1908, having scored 16 goals.
Thomas’ association with Exeter City did not end here however as after hanging up his boots in 1908, Sid became club secretary, overseeing Exeter’s rise into League football in 1920 before taking up subsequent roles as director of the club and later chairman, eventually retiring in 1957. In standing down as Chairman, Thomas was granted the honorary position of Lifelong President of the club.
Hailing from Pontypridd, Wales, Graham Rees became a true City legend in his 12 year association with the club.
Having been spotted playing junior football in South Wales in the early 1950s, Rees trialled with the Grecians in 1954 and quickly made his way through the club ranks to make his debut for City in a 3-0 defeat to Norwich in September that year.
By the start of the 1958/59 season Rees was a 1st team regular, scoring 23 goals and forming a formidable strike partnership with Ted Calland as City narrowly missed out on promotion from the 4th Division.
Graham carried his striking form into the 59/60 and 60/61, ending both seasons as City’s top scorer, setting the team up for the 1963/64 season, when the Grecians were finally promoted to the 3rd Division for the first time in their history.
Rees was eventually released at the end of the 1965/66 season, moving to Yeovil Town and ending his 12 year spell at St James Park, having made 345 appearances and scoring 85 goals for the Grecians.
Some City fans will argue that Peter Hatch is the best left sided player to have ever played for Exeter at St James Park.
Arriving from Oxford United in December of 1973, Hatch had only made 19 first team appearances in 7 years for the club. This was about to change however as it didn’t take long for him to establish himself as a 1st team regular for the Grecians.
Hatch was known on the pitch for his reliability and his ability to push on and pose an attacking threat further up the pitch and played an integral role in the City side which won promotion in the 1976/77 season. His impact so great that term that he beat players such as Tony Kellow and John Hore to the Player of the Season award.
Perhaps Hatch’s greatest performance in a City shirt however came in a 4-0 win over Newcastle United in the Grecians’ cup run of 1981, scoring one and setting two up as Exeter charged towards the Quarter Finals.
Leaving the club for Malta’s Hamrun Spartans in 1982, Hatch helped the side to their first title in 36 years before returning to the UK to play for a variety of teams in the South West including the likes of Taunton Town and Barnstaple Town.
Hatch was granted a testimonial by Exeter City in 1986 in a game against his former club Oxford United to celebrate the 346 appearances he made for the Grecians and can still be seen attending St James Park for games to this day.
A Devon born boy, Stansfield began his senior career with Yeovil Town in 2001 under then manager Gary Johnson. In his first season with the Somerset club, he helped guide them to winning the 2002 FA Trophy, scoring in the final. Stanno and Yeovil took this form into the following season, winning promotion to the Football League from the Conference.
After scoring 14 goals in 55 appearances, Stansfield left Yeovil for Hereford in 2004 and after winning promotion to the Football League for a second time in his career, came to Exeter in 2006.
At St James Park, Stanno would go on to complete a hat-trick of promotions from the Conference, being part of the side that would return the Grecians to the Football League in 2008. The following season, Stansfield played an important part in the side which would achieve a second successive promotion, this time to League One.
Despite never having played at this level, Stanno was a 1st team regular for the Grecians in League One in the 2009/10 season, scoring 8 goals. Sadly, at the end of the season, Stansfield was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and died in August of that year. His legacy continued however through the Adam Stansfield Foundation, established shortly after his death by wife Marie.
The foundation helps people with disabilities to participate in sport and has an impact in Devon, Somerset and Hertfordshire, the three counties in which he played professional football. Following his passing, Exeter City retired his number 9 shirt for nine seasons and the City legend has been recognised on the Exeter Pound, the city’s local currency.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame induction event are just £25 each including a two-course meal and still on sale. They can be purchased through reception in person on the phone by calling 01392 413957.