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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Is Exeter a football city?


The two unfortunates certainly get about round the country in their series of guest articles profiling football cities.  Exeter provides a stark contrast to Milton Keynes, one of the earlier locations covered.  An ancient cathderal city, it has changed and modernised since the arrival of the M5 motorway.

I lived in Exeter between 1969 and 1971 and I never went to St. James's Park.   I was aware that I was a transient in what was then a much more sleepy and cut off city than it is today.   Having moved there from Glasgow, the pace of life struck me as rather slow, not least at the University, which has now been transformed and surged up the ratings.

There is a potential half million population catchment for Exeter City.   As the article points out, the Grecians tend to be regarded with affection than as a source of identity.   Perhaps their biggest challenge comes from the resurgent rugby side.   As the article points out, it would be simplistic to see Exeter as a rugby city, but throughout the west country the oval ball game is a real challenge for football.