Today ( June 3) marks the 120th anniversary of the first known reference to St Sidwell’s United who later changed their name to Exeter City Football Club.
To mark the occasion the Exeter City FC Museum Trust has launched an ‘Origins’ project to tell the story of the early days of the Club.
The project will include new research, articles in the matchday programme and on the Grecian Archive website, a display in the Museum and educational initiatives. Supporters and the wider public are being encouraged to help with information, photographs and memorabilia.
It was when local newspapers reported on a meeting held in Exeter on 3 June 1901 that we were first introduced to St Sidwell’s United Football club. The meeting was to set up a new Association Football Junior League for Exeter and District. Representing St Sidwell’s United at this gathering were S H Thomas and E Eveleigh. Sid Thomas went on to give service to the Club for seven decades.
St Sidwell’s first home ground was off Pinhoe Road, roughly where Monks Road now stands. It had a sloping pitch with the sun shining into the eyes of the players facing uphill. This was used for two seasons before the Club moved to St James Park for the 1903/4 campaign.
The very first match, by what a local newspaper described as ‘a new organisation’ with players drawn from local clubs, was a 4-2 victory over Dawlish at Pinhoe Road on 21 September 1901. The team went on a long run of victories only finally losing in December. Early reports described the side as 'very brisk and smart’ and ‘a treat to watch’.
Local journalists soon referred to St Sidwell’s as The Grecians and this nickname continued when in 1904 the AGM of St Sidwell’s United voted to change their name to Exeter City.
Now the Exeter City FC Museum Trust is going to put the spotlight on these early years and is asking anyone, including family members of the original players, to search out and share any information, photographs or other memorabilia connected with St Sidwell’s United. The Museum can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the club Reception at St James Park.
Did one of your family members play for St Sidwell’s? All the known results and team line ups of St Sidwell’s United can be seen on the Grecian Archive at: http://grecianarchive.exeter.ac.uk/items/show/6256
"This is a very exciting project"said Museum Chair, Paul Farley. "We used to know so little about our early days but now with the help of volunteers carrying out research and input from the public we aim to share the origins of our wonderful football club with a wider audience."