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"For some reason the manager put me in midfield for about four or five games and I think I managed to score about three goals which was unbelievable"

Martyn Rogers recalls some of his first, best and worst moments

27 June 2018

Currently managing Tiverton Town, Martyn Rogers represented Exeter City as a player from 1979-1985.

The former defender signed for the Grecians from Bath City after coming through the youth ranks with Bristol City. Following his departure from St James Park, Rogers went on to represent Weymouth FC, before moving to Tiverton. After hanging up his boots, Rogers has gone on to manage Town over 1,000 times, and Ben Strange caught up with him to discuss some of his first, best and worst moments.

First...

...day at City

From what I can remember the first player that I met was Jimmy Giles. He was a big character in the dressing room at the time and he made me feel really at home. That was my first impression of the club and the way I was greeted was fantastic. Going into a new dressing room, to have somebody come up and make a bit of a fuss of you was nice.

...goal for City

My first goal for the club was a diving header against Swindon, I think. For some reason the manager put me in midfield for about four or five games and I think I managed to score about three goals which was unbelievable, really! I didn’t stay there, I don’t know why, having scored three goals but I played as a full back for most of my career with Exeter. I really enjoyed it. To score my first goal for the club was fantastic.

...memories of St James Park

I will always remember when I first signed for the club. I watched the first game from the stands and the lads were playing against Sheffield Wednesday and it was quite a nerve racking experience to watch the game and then know you were going to be playing out there with the squad. There was a big crowd, about eight or nine thousand people and it was a really good game.

Best...

...moment in an Exeter City shirt

It’s got to be the Newcastle United match when we won the FA Cup replay. I scored the fourth goal. We knew full well that we’d be going to Tottenham in the quarter final and I was a real avid Spurs fan, and It was on my birthday as well. You can’t get too much better than that. I scored my best goal then as well, it was a special day.

...piece of advice given to you

I think it was given to me by Brian Godfrey, a manager that I’d played under at Bath, Exeter and Weymouth. He just used to say to me to make sure that I know my next pass before receiving the ball. You need to know where the other players are around you so when the ball comes to you, you know what you’re going to do with it before you get it.

...player you played with at Exeter City

Tony Kellow. A goal scorer, he worked really hard for the team, even though he was the top player. He was just great to play with, he encouraged you and he was a down to earth bloke. The camaraderie we had in the dressing room when I was there was fantastic.

Worst...

...moment in your career

My worst didn’t come at Exeter, it was at Bristol City as an 18-year-old. I’d just played for the England youth team and I broke my ankle in a game for Bristol, and it stopped me playing for around 15 months. It took me a long time to get over it and return to the sort of form that I was showing before. That was a hard moment.

...game you’ve played in for Exeter City

I’d have to say the one that sticks in my head more than anything was when we played Millwall. We got beaten away from home 5-0 and the manager was so incensed that he got us to play against Millwall again, but this time their reserve side! So, our first team travelled to play their reserve team and we lost 1-0! Trust me we were really trying as well.

...rollicking in the dressing room

Honestly, with me as a player I never really received that many. I was a player that tried my best every game, I had to. As a full back it’s difficult to say you had a torrid game because I tried my best all the time. If you’re not playing well on the ball, that can sometimes be down to a lack of confidence and if somebody rollicks you all the time then that won’t help you. Brian Godfrey was more helpful and he understood my character. I had a poor start to my career with Exeter City because, foolishly, I played with an injury. I had a groin strain but I kept it quiet and it was the worst decision, but it was all because I was desperate to play but I just couldn’t do my job properly. In the end I got left out, rightly so, and the trouble was that the crowd must of thought I was rubbish which put me on the back foot. Come the end of my career with the club, I like to think that I turned it around.


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