There have been mixed fortunes for Exmouth Town this past week with excellent news on the playing side but sad news with the passing of two club stalwarts, writes John Dibsdall.

It has been announced that Dave Pearse, who joined the club at the start of the year, has been appointed joint manager alongside Kevin Hill and assistant manager Andy Rawlings.

Pearse’s knowledge and influence is already bearing fruit with the signing of four new players, midfielder Ollie Knowles, full back Jake Llewelyn, versatile midfielder Morgan Williams, free-scoring forward Jack Thorne and the re-signing of Nelson Iscguan.

A product of the Exeter City Academy, Knowles has since played for a number of clubs within the South-West, most recently having spent two seasons with Truro City and before that, three seasons with Salisbury City. He will, therefore, bring with him a wealth of experience from playing at a higher level within the non-league pyramid.

Llewelyn joins from Bridgwater United, an accomplished full back who has also played in the Southern League at Weston-Super-Mare and Mangotsfield United.

Another signing who Pearse has worked with before at Bridgwater is Morgan Williams, a midfielder who has also played in the Western League as a forward at Clevedon Town.

Then came the news that Jack Thorne had signed. Having scored 31 goals for Bridgwater last season, he will add pace and skill to the front line. Iscguan will make a welcome return, having scored three goals in 11 appearances last season before joining Barnstaple Town.

The good news continued with Louis Morison and Joe Belsten both committing to the club for the forthcoming 2024/25 season. There is clearly the intention to put last season firmly in the past and assemble a side that hopefully will be challenging for honours.

With the League extended to 22 clubs and with the bottom four relegated, competition will be tough and the club will need proven experienced players to bolster a squad that was, at times, thin on the ground.

The sad news started with the passing of former player and physio Simon Bull. Bully/Bulldog had finally succumbed to the cancer that he had bravely battled for a long time.

Having moved to Lancashire and the Blackpool area Bully still managed to travel down and watch the team four or five times a year, bringing down some very tasty pasties and sausage rolls.

He was instrumental in purchasing and bringing down the turnstiles that the club have installed and had once been used by Liverpool FC.

We then heard that Jon Watson had also passed away. Jon had been a committee member and former Treasurer of the club during the successful 80s and had continued to support the club and watch the team, despite a long-standing illness.

They were both active members of the Supporters Club and had sponsored many players over the past few seasons and the Football Club through different schemes.