Founder member of Division Three 1920. Relegated to the Conference 2003
Promoted to Coca Cola League Two 2008.
St Sidwell's United
prior to 1904 a
1966-1968 a l
1968-1972 a g l
1975-1977 a j
1977-1979 a g j
1979-1980 a e
1982-1984 a k
1984-1986 a k
1988-1989 m n
1991-1992 a h
1995-1997 b h
1997-1998 b h
1998-1999 b h
1999-2000 b h l
2003-2005 b d
2005-2006 b o
In 1904 Exeter United disbanded and St. Sidwell's United FC (previously St. Sidwell's Wesleyans and St. Sidwell's Old Boys) took over the former club's ground at Bradford's Field. The new club was named Exeter City. Inhabitants of St Sidwell's parish had been known locally as "Greeks" for at least 300 years according to "Southey's Commonplace Book" published 1669. A century later Andrew Brice suggested in "The Mobiad" (published 1770) that this was a reference to the classical Trojan wars with the Greeks (who lived outside the walls of Troy as the citizens St Sidwell lived outside the boundaries of Exeter). Exeter City became known as "The Grecians."
The fledgling club won the East Devon League at the first attempt and moved up to the Plymouth & District League. In 1906 local butcher Albert Bradford sold his field to the club for the princely sum of £40. Renamed St James' Park, the club have remained on the site to this day. In 1908 City adopted full-time professionalism and joined the Southern League.
The club continued to play in the green and white of the St Sidwell's club until November 1910. According to legend, after a poor start to the season they decided green was an unlucky colour and adopted red and white shirts instead. After a 0-0 draw, City won five games in December and the new colours became established.
Remarkably for such a small club, Exeter embarked on a tour of South America following the 1913-14 season, playing matches in Argentina and Brazil. In 1920, as members of the Southern League, City became founder members of Division Three in 1920. They generally finished in the lower regions of the division and by the time World War Two brought about the suspension of League football, City had applied for re-election four times. After the war, hooped instead of striped jerseys, then plain red and even Arsenal-inspired red and white shirts were tried but there was no improvement. Indeed City had to apply for re-election three more times between 1951 and 1962.
In 1964 City achieved promotion for the first time but after two seasons of struggling, they were relegated back to the basement.
Promoted again in 1977, the Grecians managed seven seasons in Division Three before being relegated in 1984 and enduring yet another re-election application in 1986. During this period a fashionable monogramme was worn on the team's shirts. This was replaced in 1989 by a much more distinctive heraldic design, based on the city's coat of arms.
In 1990, City achieved their first senior honour by winning the Fourth Division championship but four years later they dropped back into the basement division. After struggling near the bottom of the league for the next eight seasons, John Russell and Mike Lewis took control prior to the 2002-03 season. After a disastrous campaign that saw three different managers come and go, City finished second last and were relegated to the Conference, the first victim of the new two-up two-down arrangement.
Shortly afterwards the club was sold to the Exeter City Supporters' Trust with debts of £4.5m while police investigated allegations of financial mismanagement. The former chairman and his deputy were arrested and in 2007 Russell was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment for fraudulent trading while Lewis was given a community sentence.
The Supporters' Trust took over the management of the club, succeeded in stabilising City's finances and consolidating their position in the National Conference. In May 2008 Exeter reached the play-off final where they beat fellow former-League members Cambridge United, to regain their Football League status after an absence of five years. On a dramatic final day in May 2009, City clinched promotion to the next level, League One.
In 2012, now back in the fourth tier, the club gave its crest a slight facelift, restoring the halved shield of the original, 1972 version with the familiar coat of arms superimposed.
- (a) Exeter City FC (Images of Sport - Dave Fisher & Gerald Gosling)
- (b) empics
- (c) Official Website
- (d) www.kipax.com
- (e) Ralph Pomeroy
- (f) National Library of Wales
- (g) Pete's Picture Palace
- (h) David King
- (i) Bob Dobley
- (j) Alick Milne
- (k) Gary Parker
- (l) Keith Ellis (HFK Research Associate)
- (m) Neil Le Milliere
- (n) Richard Rundle
- (o) Anthony Borrett
- (p) Kjell Hanssen
Modern crests are the property of Exeter City FC.