Exeter City Football Club has made a strategic new appointment to its board of directors – and it is a person with a significant historical connection to the club.
Richard Pym, who has been a key figure in British retail and banking, has been appointed as Club Board Chairman.
A retailer by background – he was an Executive Director of the Burton Group in the 1980s and early 1990s and was also a Director of Selfridges and Chairman of Halfords. He was subsequently Chief Executive of Alliance & Leicester and has chaired bank boards in the UK, Ireland and Sweden. Additionally, Richard worked with the UK Government when he was Chairman of UK Asset Resolution until 2016. He was awarded a CBE in 2015 and is still active in banking in London.
But it’s his surname which will be of interest to Exeter City fans – for Richard is the grandson of former Exeter City goalkeeper Dick Pym, who signed to Exeter City from Topsham and went on to play a remarkable 186 consecutive games for the club. He was sold to Bolton Wanderers in 1921 for £5,000 - at the time a world record sum for a goalkeeper. The proceeds of the sale enabled Exeter City to buy St James Park.
Richard, who is a graduate physicist and chartered accountant, will take over the role of Club Board Chairman on July 1, from David Lee who oversaw the redevelopment of the Stagecoach Adam Stansfield stand and Away End at St James Park and is retiring from the board after seven years. Richard’s role will be to chair the club’s board meetings and advise and support the board of directors.
Julian Tagg has been appointed Club President and Director of External Affairs, his new positions will incorporate his existing responsibilities as Club Chairman and Executive Director of Football. Both Julian and Richard will be non-voting directors.
Richard, who divides his time between London and Exeter, first attended a city match as a teenager with his father, another Richard, who played for the British Army football team in the 1940s. He said ‘I am delighted to join the board of Exeter City FC where I hope my business experience and love of both Exeter and football will be of assistance. I have a season ticket in the Stagecoach stand and I am looking forward to getting back to watching football when circumstances permit.’
Richard also loves watching his eldest American granddaughter playing football with her local team in Boston and is supportive of the development of women’s football in Exeter.
Nick Hawker, Chair of the Supporters’ Trust welcomed the appointments. He said: "We are delighted to welcome Richard to the board of directors, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which will be hugely appreciated as we enter what could be a very challenging time as we look to navigate our way through a changing football landscape. I would also like to thank David Lee for his commitment to the club over the last seven years, we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his level-headed and wise contribution to the running of the club and for leading the redevelopment of St James Park – it really is a legacy of which he should be very proud.
"It is also important to acknowledge the work and unrelenting determination of Julian Tagg to see this club be a success. His association with the club dates back to his first match as a nine-year-old and a ball boy at 11, to playing at St James Park as a 15-year-old and his role as Academy Director from 1994. He is a true ambassador for Exeter City. The appointment as Club President and Director of External Affairs recognises both his commitment to the club and the importance of his role when working with external partners, whether that is in the world of football or in our city."