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Club News

📝 Summary: Fans Forum

A summary of last night's forum at SJP

16 February 2024

Club News

📝 Summary: Fans Forum

A summary of last night's forum at SJP

16 February 2024

The Exeter City Supporters' Trust Fans forum took place on Thursday 15 February with Gary Caldwell, Marcus Flitcroft, Ben Purrington and Millenic Alli followed by Chief Executive Officer jeremy Tipper and Chief Financial Officer Joe Gorman.

For supporters who were unable to attend, we have summarised the key points in detail below:

The forum began with an update on the January transfer window from Marcus:

Why is the January window so difficult?

  • It is a short window and in-season
  • Everybody is under contract, unlike in the summer
  • A lot of people need to say "yes": managers, heads of recruitment, boards/chairs; then agents, players and families.
  • The club are unable to force people to say "yes"
  • Many clubs chase the same players
  • Leads to having to be reactive, which is were preparation (scouts, contacts, data) comes into play.

Plans for future windows:

  • Offering longer contracts as a result of the greater visibility offered by the work of Joe Gorman (CFO)
  • Alternative markets as a result of relaxation of rules around foreign players
  • Progressing the academy, aiming to reach Category 2 status

The forum then moved on to answers from Gary Caldwell:

On future windows:

  • We want to create a core squad going forward that can be around for a number of years
  • We still want to bring in good loans in the future

On Harry Lee:

  • He's had successful and unsuccessful loans
  • He's at a point in his career where he needs games and a high level of training (which he is getting at City)
  • He needs to be the best goalkeeper when out on loan and show it week in, week out

On injury updates:

  • Ben's been back in training the last couple of days
  • Milli has been part training last week, full training this week
  • Demi won't be back this season, but he should be fully fit for the start of pre-season

On style of play:

  • Clubs he played in were teams that dominated the ball
  • He wants his sides to be a possession-based team because it gives a better chance to win in the long term
  • Every player has different attributes, it's the staff's job to get players in areas where they can show their strengths and hide their weaknesses
  • He has adapted his philosophy out of possession from a man-to-man to a more zonal marking, leading to controlling games out of possession

On short corners:

  • We haven't been good at attacking corners, we were better at the start of the season
  • Statistically, the best way to score from a corner is from a short corner
  • We have good footballers who can drag players out at corners and free up space in the box

On whether we need 4 goalkeepers:

  • It's good to have 4!
  • We only have 3 with Lee out on loan
  • Woods was injured earlier in the season, which is why MacDonald came in
  • The budget has allowed for it this season
  • We probably won't have 4 next season

On why Aimson was made captain when he signed:

  • When Gary came in Matt Jay was club captain
  • Wearing the armband doesn't make you a leader
  • Pierce Sweeney was going through a tough time
  • Aimson was made team captain and Sweeney was made club captain
  • The two players get on well together and spread the responsibilities
  • Over the festive period Aimson was struggling and we wanted to develop Cole's leadership
  • We want to develop more leaders going forward and that will require giving them responsibilities

Ben and Millenic then took to the floor:

Ben and Milli:

  • Milli says he is settling in well
  • Ben says he's delighted to be playing for City, with his family all supporting the club

Ben on joining the club:

  • There have been many positive changes to SJP from when he played here previously for other clubs
  • The new training facilities were a big pull in joining the club

After a short break, CEO Jeremy and CFO Joe spoke about off the field matters at the club:

Jeremy on recent changes:

  • We were previously having to leave budget decisions much later than we wanted to
  • 24/25 season scenario plans are varied: a base League One budget, a budget in case of changes to division and a budget depending on the EFL-PL deal
  • Significant improvements have been made to our match day analysis, with much more granular detail

Joe on our trading performance being ahead of budget:

  • A record year for retail and merchandising
  • Improving non-match day income
  • 29 new commercial partners
  • Best ever season ticket sales, with average attendance slightly below last season
  • Carabao Cup run

Joe on transfer income being ahead of budget:

  • Ethan Ampadu, Sam Nombe and Archie Collins payments spread over three seasons
  • Josh Key tribunal is still ongoing
  • Considerable additional income from add ons

Jeremy says that improved financial information gave the Club and Trust the confidence to approve a significant increase to the budget ahead of the January transfer window

Jeremy says the academy remains core to the Club's philosophy

Jeremy on supporter survey feedback:

  • Doing our best to solve food and beverage queues
  • Looking at introducing digital programmes next season
  • Changes to stewarding have allowed additional capacity, but frustrations on Big Bank have been noted

Jeremy on planned/completed stadium improvements: 

  • Accessible away-end toilets now in place
  • New kiosk opening in the Nevada Construction stand in March
  • Additional Big Bank kiosk for next season

Jeremy introduced the room to Travis Bramley, the Club's new Sustainability Officer:

Travis has briefly spoken about his role, including helping reduce the carbon emissions of the Club and the financial opportunities that come from this approach.

Jeremy on kit:

  • Discussions have been held to ensure stock issues do not occur next season
  • Next season's Third Shirt will be voted on by members of the Supporters' Trust

Joe says the Club are looking at further improvements to the data being collected on a match day, hoping to be able to track spend with timestamps which will allow for a pre- and post-match spending analysis.

Jeremy and Joe on transfer income reliance:

  • Academy is one of our largest income generators and this will continue
  • Transfer revenue doesn't stop after the next few years thanks to add ons
  • Work is being done on growing commercial opportunities and driving other revenue streams to reduce reliance.

If you wish to watch back the full forum, you can do so below ⬇️


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