And so, the football rollercoaster rumbles along, with us as mere passengers, taking in the highs, lows, twists and turns of the journey… 

The latest high at Exeter City is the appointment of our new manager Gary Caldwell following a rigorous and thorough recruitment process. We’re an unusual club in many ways, and not least in the fact that we’ve only had two managers in the last 16 years.  

So, recruiting a manager is a pretty big deal to us; not only does the face have to fit, he also has to buy in and understand the club’s ethos, something which runs right through everything we do.  

The recruitment was a challenging process with some incredibly high-quality potential managers vying for the position, but in the end one candidate stood out and, what was once again football’s worst kept secret, Gary Caldwell was welcomed to the club. 

I’m not sure how you define a hospital pass to a manager, but coming in and facing games against what are widely considered the biggest teams in the league, could be daunting for some – but Gary’s up for the challenge and it’s great to see the fans getting behind him from the outset. 

He barely had time to look around St James Park before he was heading north for our away game against Derby. One of the much-anticipated games of this season, an incredible 1,197 Grecians made the seven-hour round trip on a Tuesday night, and did they make their presence felt! The match was also a league debut for our 17-year-old goalkeeper Harry Lee who was brought on after Jamal Blackman was injured late on in the game. I was so pleased for him to keep a clean sheet, especially when the team were under such relentless pressure in the last few minutes of the match. It was a hard-earned and very welcome point on the road for us and for Gary – with just one day’s training! 

The fans were once again in fine voice for the Devon Derby against Plymouth last week and the team gave it their all. Although the result didn’t go our way, it was great to have the match shown live on Sky Sports, and what a fantastic showcase for League One football – and the teams from Devon. 

Next, we’ve got games against Peterborough and Ipswich at home, a couple of away matches against Morecambe and Bolton, and then Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth at St James Park – it promises to be a month of exciting, brilliant football, all in front of stadium packed full of supporters.  

We were sad to hear of the death of Trevor Atkins last week. Trevor signed to Exeter City at the age of 16 and although he only played a few games for us, he was an extremely well known and liked football icon locally. Our condolences go to all of Trevor’s family and friends. 

At the weekend we had our fortieth game against Port Vale in the last eight months. Apologies, that should say our fourth meeting with them in the last eight months, it just feels like more (for us both). It was another long trip for the team, but a successful one which sees us through to the second round of the FA Cup, thanks to a couple of stunning goals from Jevani Brown and that magic late winner from Archie Collins, who just seems to get better and better.  

And it’s only fitting that club captain Matt Jay should record his 200th appearance for the club on the Saturday as we enter Youth Development Week. That’s some achievement for the 26-year-old who’s been with the club since the age of nine – he’s definitely one of our own! 

It was also fantastic to see our women’s team progress to the next round of the Women’s FA Cup with a 3-2 win over London Bees on Sunday. What a great weekend for both teams! 

Julian Tagg, Exeter City Club President