April 28, 1990, remains one of the finest days in Exeter City's history as, on the back of an incredible home record, we secured our first title in our club's history. During this month we will be taking a look back - in alphabetical order - of the main players in that title winning side. This time we look at a reliable and versatile player who made 20 appearances during the title winning campaign.
89/90 LEAGUE APPEARANCES: FOUR
Tony Frankland was one of a handful of good quality players from the City youth system, who contributed to the club’s finest season in league football.
Born in Greenwich in 1972, Tony was just 16-years-old when the 89/90 season kicked-off, and had recently been voted the young player of the year at the club whilst still in his first year as a youth training scheme (YTS) apprentice.
He was promoted to first team action shortly after the departure of Chris Vinnicombe to Glasgow Rangers, and made his professional debut – now aged 17 - in the 1-1 draw at home to Wrexham on November 25, 1989.
An accomplished player for his age, Tony always looked like he could do a job when called upon, and Terry Cooper had no issue with putting him in to replace the more experienced Jim McNichol for his second appearance in a City shirt.
However, with a player of the quality of Richard Dryden ahead of him in the pecking order, he was limited to a total of seven appearances throughout the season, including starts in both games against First Division Norwich City in the FA Cup.
Following the celebrations, Tony signed a full contract with the Grecians in July 1990, but serious ankle and knee issues curtailed his early promise and he was released at the end of the 1991/92 season.
On his recovery Tony spent time at Bristol City on trial, before being picked up by Bath City where he made his debut against Farnborough Town.
At Exeter City, Tony had been a part of a great example of a club that was prepared to mix youth and experience to great effect, and his departure has often left fans wondering what might have been had it not been for his injuries... He will always be a champion though!
This article has been created using material from the Grecian Archive and ECFC Museum as part of the 'Celebrating our Heritage' programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by the University of Exeter.