📝 Remembering 1989/90: Danny Bailey

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. Starting with a tough tackling and energetic midfield manager Terry Cooper plucked from non-league obscurity.



89/90 APPS: 46

There was perhaps no other player that epitomised the effort and determination of our champions more than Danny Bailey.

Signed by Terry Cooper on the eve of the season in August 1989, Bailey’s presence in the midfield added steel and industry to the side that went the whole season without tasting defeat at St James Park. 

Originally an apprentice with AFC Bournemouth, Danny went on to make just one league outing for the Cherries before being allowed to drift into non-league football with Dagenham. 

In 1984 Bailey was playing for Walthamstow Avenue, when Torquay United gave him another opportunity in the football league. Once again, he only played one league match for the Gulls, and signed for Grays Athletic, before moving on to play for Wealdstone. 

Despite the midfielder’s previous struggles in league football, Terry Cooper decided that Danny had the qualities needed to improve City’s midfield, and the decision proved to be absolutely spot on as he went on to be the only player to feature in every league game that season.  

His single goal came in a 4-3 defeat away to Peterborough, but then it was not goals that he was there for, as he defined the term ‘110% effort’ for a generation of City fans. 

Sadly, Danny’s successful first spell at the Park was short-lived, as he was transferred to Reading for a fee of £50,000 in December 1990, where he netted two goals in 50 league games. 

In that time, he also had a short loan spell with Fulham, before finally returning to City on a free transfer in 1992, almost two years to the date of his original departure. 

On his return, Danny continued to be a popular figure at the Park as he went on to clock up a total of 245 career appearances for the Grecians, before his eventual departure to Farnborough Town in 1997. 

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.