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"We knew that if we played to our potential we could get a result"

Former City player Dave Pullar discusses some of his first, best and worst City moments

9 May 2018

Former Grecian Dave Pullar clocked up 124 appearances for the Grecians after signing for the club as a youngster.

He came through the youth ranks at Portsmouth before moving to St James Park in 1979 as he established himself as the club’s top scorer during his debut campaign. Pullar played a role in some successful times for the club as he helped them to a respectable eighth place finish in the Third Division in 1980 and helped City to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 1981.

First...

...match at St James Park

My first match at St James Park came against Hereford United in the League Cup. It went brilliantly because I scored a nice volley just outside the 18-yard box. I came in as a 20-year-old kid for a bit of a price tag so I felt a bit of pressure, but thankfully that goal took some of the pressure off my shoulders.

...footballing memory

It would have been at junior school in Durham, that was when I first started to play consistently.

...footballing idol

I’d have to say Colin Todd. At the time, I was living in Durham where I was born, but I moved around from an early age. I was living in Malta and then I moved to Scotland before moving back to Durham. My dad used to take me to the local park and at the time Colin Todd was a top player and my idol.

Best...

...appearance for City

I’m not sure if it was my best performance, but certainly my best memory, when we drew 1-1 away from home with Leicester City to gain a replay back at St James Park. I scored the equaliser late in the game. We were confident going into the match because at the time we were a pretty good outfit, I thought, for an old Third Division side as we never got hammered by any other teams. We knew that if we played to our potential we could get a result, and at 1-0 down in front of a good travelling away crowd in a great atmosphere, we managed to get the equaliser.

...piece of advice given to you

When you talk about players having the right attitude, I was brought through at Portsmouth as a young kid around people like George Graham. He would come over when he finished training with the first team and he’d spend 20 minutes doing tricks and skills with us. It’s not exactly advice but I took from that the importance to keep your feet on the ground, it doesn’t matter how good you are, you must stay grounded. As I joined Exeter people were asking to talk to me and they would say: ‘We will let you go now, you don’t want to be talking to us for long’ and I used to ask: ‘Why not?’ because at the end of the day we are all doing jobs. Footballers are no different to anybody else, my mum worked in a school kitchen!

...player you played with

That’s such a tough one because I played with some really good players at City. Tony Kellow obviously would be one, but I honestly can’t pick one player!

Worst...

...result you were involved in

We played away at Liverpool in the League Cup in 1979, and honestly, we really did our homework and it was 0-0 going into the last 10 or 15 minutes and I was marking Terry McDermott and Tony Mitchell was marking Kenny Dalglish. We knew if we kept their dangerous players under control we’d have a fighting chance, we worked on everything except for one thing… David Fairclough came on and scored two quick goals late on. It was such a disappointment because we played well up there. Of course, we knew we would be under pressure because they were a team of superstars, and to hold them for the majority of a match, but we didn’t count on Fairclough coming on.

...away trip

There were a few that I didn’t really enjoy! I’ve played at the likes of Hartlepool when I was with Portsmouth and that was a trip that I hated. I remember the dressing rooms were drab.

...injury you suffered

It was when I did my hamstring which finished my career. I was devastated. I’d had a couple of injuries that I had come back from in previous years but when I looked at my hamstring, at home to Chester, I just knew full well that once my pace had gone (due to the injury) that was it. I used to base my game on going past people and taking players on for speed, and I wasn’t a player who could change to a technical player so it really did hamper me.

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