This article is an extract from the match day programme against Leyton Orient on Saturday 9 September, as the Exeter City Supporters' Trust celebrated 20 years of owning Exeter City.
Figures from across the club community were asked the simple question What Does the Trust Mean to You? Here are their answers:
David Treharne – The First Trust Chair
It means continuity. The club had been in such turmoil for such a long time before the Trust took over. The past 20 years has given us a period of continuity, which Exeter City hadn't had for the previous 30 or 40 years.
Denise Watts – First Female Club Chair
Ownership, community, inclusivity.
The Trust embraces everything about a locally owned club that has grown from a seed to something huge. I really treasure the fact that we own our football club, I think we should all be proud of everything that we’ve achieved.
Martin Weiler – City Historian and Former Chair
I think it's very special. In the UK, it's not a widely used model and we were one of the pioneers. A lot club say they're community clubs, and they are in many ways, but I think we're community plus. We, the supporters – essentially the community – own our club.
Latoyah Egerton – City’s Her Game Too Ambassador
The Trust makes me feel like I’m more than just a fan and a follower, it makes me feel like I am truly part of the club I love.
Nick Hawker – Club and Trust Chair
When I first joined the Trust, I thought it was completely bonkers supporters owning a football club. However, many friends that I’ve made since converted me into believing that community ownership was something that could not just be achieved, but could also thrive. And I've really loved that bit.
Laurence Overend – Former Trust Chair
The Trust means an awful lot to me. I was a boy who was brought up in the Cowshed with my mum. She had originally set up the Kick It Out campaign as she was driven to ensure the atmosphere at matches, on and off the pitch, became more inclusive. She died in 2010 and the Trust and Denise arranged for the opening match of the season to be sponsored in memory of her. There was a minute’s round of applause before the game and it was very moving and exceptionally kind gesture. That’s not something that every club would do so it’s why I'm emotionally attached to the Trust. I'm very passionate about the model, I believe in democracy, engagement and this football club.
Tom Rush – City Supporter for almost 20 years
The Trust means that my club will always be there on a Saturday afternoon, and I’ll never be at a loose end.
Vicky Collins – Trust member since 2003
For me, the Trust means being able to call ECFC *my* club. It also makes me feel that there’s no challenge too big. We managed to get through those dark days and look how far we’ve come!
Pierce Sweeney – City men’s current longest serving player
The Trust is the glue that holds the foundations of our club together.
Phil Collins – Trust member since they took over the club
To me, the Trust is the future, the past and the present. We would not have a club if it was not for the Trust. Because of it I am confident that the club will be around for my grandchildren and great grandchildren to follow. We may always be a small fish in the sea but we will still be swimming.
Martin Ellicott – One of the Trust’s founding members, in the room when the club was bought
The Trust, to me, is about being part of something bigger. Knowing that when we all work together then something great can happen.
Scott Walker – City Community Trust
It means that the community is at the heart of everything we do, both as a charity and as a football club. I’m so proud we’re supporter owned and I feel honoured to have witnessed the growth and prosperity of our club under supporter ownership over the 20 years I have been here. I also want to mention the Junior Grecians and the fantastic team of volunteers who support them – there are the supporters of tomorrow who will go on to ensure the Trust remains key to our club's success in the future.
Di Lee – Legendary Grecian Volunteer
I cried when I walked out of the ground on that fateful day in 2003 as I thought our club was gone forever. The fans that grouped together and formed the Trust saved our football club. For me, the Trust means all those volunteers who help keep Exeter City going. I cooked Soup and Rolls for the players and washed their kit for year. Like many others this was done with no payment taken, all for the love of Exeter City. Now look where we are!
Manfy Sharpe - City Women's Captain
The Supporters Trust has been a big part of the growth of women's football at Exeter City. With their commitment and support to the team, we have been able to achieve things and enjoy days that I would never thought possible growing up. The legacy of the Supporters' Trust over the last 20 years is clearly evident in the men's team, I believe that we will see similar heights hit with the women's team in the years to come and nthat will be in part due to the Trust's continued commitment to Exeter City Women.