Exeter City Football Club and Exeter City Supporters’ Trust are saddened to hear that former city player Harry Holman has passed away.
Harry, who was the son of another former City player, Harold Holman, attended Hele’s School (now St Peter’s), and was one of just two people to play for England at under 15 levels in both football and rugby.
His focus became football and he began his professional career as an apprentice with Chelsea, moving back to his hometown to sign for the Grecians in July 1976. He won a regular place in the City side throughout 1977-78 playing in 37 league games.
The following season he was restricted to just eight league appearances, having suffered a bad knee injury in a match away to Southend. An injury which cost him a potential move to Wolverhampton Wanderers and would ultimately end his football career. After a short spell at Peterborough, he moved back to Devon and, apart from a handful of games for Exmouth Town, retired from the game.
Harry was a great friend of Julian Tagg, Exeter City president and director of external affairs.
Julian said: "Harry was a very talented player who came through our youth team and many people will remember him as a young player at St James Park. He was a very good friend to me; I was best man at his wedding, and we had a long, enduring friendship which I valued tremendously.
"He was an excellent player and he will be hugely missed by so many people for his likeable and effervescent personality. Our thoughts are with Harry’s family at this very sad time."
Norman Warne, who coached Harry as a teenager, had the following to say:
"It was with utter disbelief and sorrow that I read the sad news that Harry had passed away.
"I first met Harry when I began my teaching career at Heles School. I cannot recall meeting him in the classroom for maths lessons, but I have the fondest memories of coaching him on both football and rugby fields.
"He was truly talented, a quite outstanding footballer and an equally outstanding rugby player. More important, he was a lovely chap – modest, good natured and spirited. Along with Graham Weeks and the late Mick Green, he was a key member of a series of highly successful school and county teams, in both football and rugby, and of course along with these two he went on to become a professional footballer with the City. I recall a City match at Southend in October 1976 when all three of them represented the club.
"I taught at Millfield School subsequently, and I mention that only to add perspective to my next remark: Harry was without doubt the best footballer and the best rugby player I have ever had the honour of coaching. Vision, skill, balance, pace - he had the lot.
"After successful trials he earned a place in the England under-15 rugby side. In March, he played for England against Wales in Cardiff – we took a coach load of supporters from Heles – and two and a half months later, in June, he ran out at Wembley to play in the England under-15 football team against Germany!
"A bad knee injury sadly curtailed his sporting career. Who knows what he might have achieved? I am often asked about memorable pupils and their achievements; well, Harry Holman is always the first to come to mind."