Well done City but we claim your roots
Exeter City were on the brink of winning the EFL DIVISION TWO crown last week and the Devon & Exeter League were cheering them all the way. Had they achieved this target our League would have prided itself on being the stepping stone for the club well over 100 years ago.
The Grecians won their first ever championship in the East Devon Senior League in 1905, their first season after changing their name from St Sidwells United. The decision to change their name just weeks after winning the East Devon Senior cup, which is still running, was clearly a very positive step. Admittedly they were an amateur team at the time and immediately after winning that first title moved into the much stronger Plymouth & District League (formerly the Devon Senior League) for three seasons, then the Southern League and eventually into the Football League, However the EDSL was the base for their step up and our links with the club have evolved over the years.
Former greats such as Cliff Bastin, Maurice Setters, Stan Challis, and many more have all been former players in our league mostly under the Exeter & District League banner but I feel we can claim the origins for their history. Our current league secretary Neil Anthony was also on the city books in the Reserve team, and St James Park until recent years was a showground for many of our local and County cup finals especially back in the 1920s when teams such as Heavitree and Friernhay could draw crowds of around 5000. I know plenty of our local players have played big games at the Park and personally I have a memory of being presented with a cup at St James Park as captain of a local club, happy days!
The gap from 1905 until 1990 when under Terry Cooper they won the Division 2 title was a long wait , but as a League we still regard that as their second championship and this latest effort in our book would have been their third, despite reluctance and claims from more prominent news bodies that it would have been only their second.
Times have changed of course as so much has evolved in our national game, but looking back at history we still feel we were the platform for the City and we will be behind them all the way as they journey on a long overdue elevated success.
Tuesday 10th May 2022