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📝 Chairman's column: Julian Tagg's February update

City chairman on away wins, Matt Jay, Exeter City Ladies and the club's academy

28 February 2019

In this monthly column, written for Devon Live and the club's websit, Julian brings an exclusive look behind the scenes at St James Park.

What a couple of days – an away win at Crewe on Saturday, a nail-biting finish to the match at Lincoln on Tuesday night, with them scoring an equaliser in what surely must be the longest extra time in memory…and we go again. 

The push is on and it will be great to see as many people as possible at our next home game against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday. We’ve coped with the loss of Jayden Stockley and I think we would have been naïve to think that losing the best striker in the league wouldn’t have an impact, but Matt (Taylor) and his team are still competing with grit and determination to toe to toe the best teams in the league. 

The victory against MK Dons at the beginning of the month will long live in the memory, and not just because I fell at the bottom of the stairs at half-time and severed a ligament in my shoulder, the pain only cut in the next morning – that’s what a 3-1 win can do for you.

Contrary to prolific rumour, I hadn’t been on the sauce at lunchtime and place the blame firmly on the slippery shoes. 

We all know how important football is and we know the pain of losing and exaltation of winning, but when the chairman takes a trip at half time but doesn’t feel it until the next day you know it was a good win.

And there’s definitely a benefit when the club doctor Pete Riou is also the consultant emergency physician at the RD&E, which is where I’ll be heading for my shoulder operation next month. I know I’ll be in good hands. 

We are considering introducing a new groundbreaking exclusive – a second man of the match award. Everyone’s sick to death of Nicky Law winning it each week. He really needs to give some of his teammates, who are also putting in some seriously good performances, a bit of the action.

With Nicky injured, Jake Taylor got it for the great away win at Crewe, but having seen Matt Jay’s performance and brilliant goal, I think a steward’s enquiry is needed! It’s been great to see Nicky so settled here and playing so well, and it really does show how good he is, as there have been some quite incredible performances. 

At the recent Exeter City Ladies' game at St James Park, Abbie Britton picked up the player of the match award and rightly so. 

Abbie happens to be Craig Woodman’s sister-in-law and I’m sure he couldn’t have been prouder of the free-kick she smashed into the goal from 35 yards. Unfortunately, it wasn’t their day and they lost 3-1 to Buckland, but fantastic to see how the team is growing and developing. 

It was great to see the larger than life banners featuring our Ethan outside the Chelsea ground on social media recently. There has been lots of conjecture about when the income is due from Chelsea – but I have put together a seperate piece on our website for that.

All our players will be celebrated at the end of season awards night which takes place at the Great Hall on April 27 - come and join us and celebrate all the great things about Exeter City. And our very host, Jenko, has got a few surprises up his sleeve, starting with a West End production of Abba in the stadium on May 18. It promises to be a good one.

As usual it’s super busy at CITY Community Trust who continue to do their phenomenal work across the Greater Exeter area. This month they welcomed the Isca Apollo LGBTQ+ team to their family and it was great to see features on them in local and national media.

CCT also staged a two-day half marathon festival at the Quay, welcoming hundreds of runners to Exeter, it was an early start for Pete Ferlie, out at 5am on a freezing morning, but just shows the dedication of their team. The demand was so high for the half marathons, that they’ve added a half marathon onto their Exeter Live Better Marathon sponsored by Tozers on May 19. 

Our Academy continues to exceed expectations in every way and we were delighted to see under-15s player Ben Chrisene represent England against Belgium at St George’s Park recently. The under-18s team are looking forward to a national final in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup. The boys impressed with a 2-1 win after a long away trip to Southend in the area final and now will face either Wigan or Bury in the final. 

Currently our boys out on loan are doing particularly well, recently important goals were scored by Joel Randall at Bideford, Ben Seymour can’t stop scoring at Dorchester and Jack Sparkes is furthering his education under manager Steve Claridge at Salisbury…the future’s bright the future’s red and white!


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