How many Exeter City games have you been too?
Were you there when we held the mighty Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford? What about when City took apart Newcastle at SJP? Or did you stay to see the Grecians fight back to claim a draw against Yeovil after being 3-0 down with 88 minutes gone?
Now, here’s a tough one – were you one of the 10 City supporters to make the mammoth 550 mile round trip to Halifax Town on November 4, 1986?
Let me take you back to November 1986: Berlin’s ‘Take My Breathe Away’ was top of the charts, Boris Becker had just won his third tournament in three weeks and Exeter City had just lost their first match of the season – a late goal giving Tranmere a 2-1 victory over the Grecians in Merseyside.
City were in fact the last team in the top four divisions to lose a match in the 1986/87 season, but the team’s form wasn’t table topping; the Grecians had already drawn nine games (out of 15) - including a run of four 0-0 draws in a row in late September.
So, following defeat at Preston, City had to trek back up north to Halifax just three days later, meaning that the Grecians and their loyal supporters would have travelled over 1000 miles in just a couple days.
It can be argued that the reason for a low number of City fans at the game was due to this unkind fixture list, or possibly due to the opponents being Halifax Town. They weren’t the best supported club and in the late 1980’s their home, the Shay, was crumbling and only the seated areas of the ground were open due to safety precautions – limiting the capacity from 16,500 to a meagre 1,777 – not really an attractive away day.
Low crowds were common for Halifax with the presence of major clubs like Leeds and Bradford City just being a short drive away and the attendance on the evening City visited reflected this – just 1,390 sat inside the Shay.
There was little joy for the 10 fans that made the journey up north as the Grecians lost 2-0 on a miserable evening. This result reflected the season on the road for Exeter as, for the first (and only) time, City went the entire season without a single away victory, a feat unimaginable with the away record of recent years.
Thank you to Simon Carter for his help
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