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💬 President's update: "Football without crowds is like a boat without a rudder or a fish without a tail."

Julian Tagg, in his monthly column for the Express & Echo, talks about supporters returning to stadiums and the Grecians youth players

27 September 2020

Well, finally we are under way, and with mixed results – but the focus is on when fans will be allowed back into stadiums.

On Monday, the Government told us that supporters will not be allowed back into ‘elite’ football stadiums from October 1 as was expected – and no timescale has been set for a return.

And I have to say, after experiencing it first hand, football without crowds is like a boat without a rudder or a fish without a tail – there’s a song in there somewhere…

However long it takes, it just can’t be soon enough for the fans to be allowed back in.

Results are always massively important – but equally important is the progression of our youngsters, and for Joel Randall to get a goal on his debut, and for Josh Key and Will Dean to perform so well against an expensive, experienced Salford team, gives us optimism for the season. Ben Seymour was also in the right place at the right time against Port Vale and it was one of those unbelievably brilliant saves, that, in reality, the keeper didn’t know anything about, that prevented him getting his goal.

We’ve all been enjoying a great Indian summer and a bike ride on Sunday with my wife, who I don’t think is going to be entering the Tour de France any time soon, ended up at King George V playing fields to watch our Exeter City Women’s development squad play their first league match against University of Exeter seconds, winning 8-1. Much work is going on behind the scenes to improve and enhance our women’s teams with our Girls’ Development Centre, for 9-16 year olds, already starting to feed our two, and hopefully before very long, three, women’s teams. If you’re looking to watch some football, which I know many people are, get yourself along to Speeds Meadow, Cullompton, on Sunday at 2pm and support the team. It’s also great to welcome David Gribble, who will be covering women’s matches and running the team’s social media.

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Whilst we have been ramping it up in all areas of the club, the commercial department have had a complete disaster…after much work on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a number of recruitment companies, all they could come up with was Bentos – as they say, beggars can’t be choosers. We all know that Bentos and banter are synonymous and of course the reality is that we are delighted to have somebody so talented in so many ways join our crusade. I’m confident he’ll bring a whole lot to the party, possibly not the best choice of words, but we are genuinely really pleased to have him on board and the extra bonus is that if we’re ever short of a keeper, I know he’ll be ready to pull on the gloves.

I was back at one of my old stomping grounds, Exeter College this week, and it was great to pass on three sets of shirts for the burgeoning number of teams that the college have linked to our club. There was a slight hiccup, the shirts had a somewhat outdated logo, a quick call to Wilf fixed that problem immediately, so it’s great to see the college teams playing with Carpetright’s logo emblazoned across the front of their shirts.

And finally, last night, hopefully some of you will have seen the fans forum, which is organised by the Supporters’ Trust. It’s great to be part of it and to hear the views of the new players and the manager, and also the opportunity to listen to your views. There are due to be two more this season, so keep an eye out for them as they offer a really good opportunity to hear the huge amount that is going on inside your club and beyond into your community.


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