During February we are remembering the many supporter work parties that began in 2003 as we tried to repair the damage caused to St James Park and to the Training Ground from years of neglect by the club's former owners.
Here’s an account written after one such weekend around 2005 from Pete Bishop, who was central to galvanizing support at that time:
"May 7 and 8 saw a great turnout at St James Park for some serious paint application. We painted all the gates and turnstiles in the Old Grandstand and Big Bank, plus the posts along the Jungle Path.
"Adrian Sproston, as ever, provided the organisational skills which enabled the best to be made of the considerable work force.
"A delivery of pasties and cakes from Shaul’s Bakery on Saturday meant we had plenty of food to eat, but disappointment on Sunday – no delivery. A phone call revealed the food was supposed to last us for the whole weekend!
"Alex Inglethorpe had asked us to make changes at the Cat and Fiddle (now named the Cliff Hill Training Ground. We will remove a partition wall to create a canteen area. At present the players go home after training, but providing a space for them to eat together will improve team togetherness.
"It was an enjoyable weekend. The days are rewarding and a lovelier bunch of people you'd be hard pushed to find. We’re no longer a Club with crippling debts , just a Club with no money – it really is up to us to do all we can to take Exeter City FC forwards. Up the City!"
0n Sunday, February 19 we came full circle. Veteran work party volunteers, including Pete and Adrian met to have one last photo with the old Cliff Hill building they helped to preserve before it is demolished this coming week.
Pete's final sentence still rings true. It is up to us, as owners, to do all we can to take Exeter City FC forward and we continue to do so, our new Cliff Hill Training Centre is proof of that.
Many elements have come together to make the building a reality, including the success of Kit out the Cliff with £63,000 donated by you, to equip the building. Thank you once again.
Now, our players will have a huge, well equipped canteen serving nutritional meals designed to enhance their performance, with huge windows overlooking the pitches, a far cry from the 'canteen area' created by those work party volunteers.
Join the Club
20 years as owners and there is still work to do to take our Club forward. Visit: weownexetercityfc.co.uk to join us today from as little as £2 a month!
Thanks to Tom and Paul Farley for finding Pete’s article and to Pete for writing it!