Certain shirt numbers are iconic with certain footballers.
For instance, Cristiano Ronaldo and the number 7, which he has managed to build a whole brand around (CR7). There’s also Johan Cruyff’s iconic number 14 shirt, which he once had to gain special dispensation from the Dutch FA to wear at a World Cup when players usually just wore one to 11.
All clubs have their fair share of iconic numbers, and in Exeter City’s current squad most fans will agree that the player most recognisable by his shirt number is the Grecian’s number 21, Dean Moxey.
Dean was handed the number 21 when he signed his first professional contract in June 2003. The left-back then made his debut as a substitute in City’s 2-1 win away at Accrington Stanley before starting his first match three days later at Hereford United in the Football League Trophy (this was a time when non-league clubs were invited to participate in the trophy.)
After a successful debut season, Dean nailed down City’s left-back spot as his own for the next few seasons, eventually helping the Grecians to back-to-back promotions in 2008 and 2009.
In June 2009, Dean joined Derby County for £300,000 where he again took up the number 21 shirt. After his man-of-the-match debut against Peterborough, the left back entrenched himself in the Rams’ team, making 31 appearances in his maiden season. It wasn’t just at left-back where Dean was making a contribution to Derby, as in August 2010 the defender started as an emergency striker when the Rams had no fit forwards, scoring in a 2-1 loss at Coventry.
Dean then joined Crystal Palace in January 2011 and was initially given the number 29 before switching to 21 in the summer. The left-back started in the 2013 Championship play-off final for Palace, helping them overcome Watford 1-0 to secure promotion to the Premier League.
After making 21 top-flight appearances, Dean joined Championship side Bolton Wanderers after being released by Palace. Dean was at Bolton for three seasons where he wore the number three, making Wanderers the only club he never wore 21 for.
Dean re-joined City in 2017, re-claiming his 21 shirt from James Hamon, who switched to 13. Since then Dean played his part in getting City to the play-off final last season before being appointed vice captain in January 2019.
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