Exeter City leading the European charts

Julian Tagg, Chairman of Exeter City. Picture:: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Julian Tagg, Chairman of Exeter City. Picture:: Cameron Geran/PPAUK - Credit: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Julian Tagg is president and director of external affairs at Exeter City Football Club.  
In this monthly column, he brings an exclusive look behind the scenes at St James Park. 
Happy new year – here’s hoping for a brighter one for us all!  
We certainly finished strongly at the end of the year, with a couple of hat-tricks for Ryan Bowman, some star turns by our Academy graduates and some convincing wins away from home.  
Since then, various things have conspired against us and our games have been called off – one, against Newport, after the team had arrived at the ground – thank goodness it was one of our shorter journeys – imagine if it had been the trip to Barrow… 
And, although the goals might be on hold for a minute thanks to covid, coupled with waterlogged and frozen pitches, you had to savour the Playmaker stats at the end of the year – only Exeter City in the top spot for most league goals scored in UEFA’s top 5 leagues and the EFL so far this season!  
We had an eye-popping 40 goals, with the likes of Bayern Munich and PSG snapping at our heels with 39, closely followed by Liverpool with a mere 37. 
Let’s hope we carry on in that vein once we get going again and we continue on the rollercoaster that is football.  

Ryan Bowman of Exeter City shoots during the Sky Bet League 2 Match between Exeter City and Forest G

Ryan Bowman of Exeter City shoots during the Sky Bet League 2 Match between Exeter City and Forest Green Rovers at St James Park, Exeter on 26 December. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Of course, Devon being placed into tier three means that we now can’t have any fans in the stadium.  
It’s incredibly disappointing for us all, put simply, you, the fans, are the reason we do this week in-week out.  
It was an immense feat by [Exeter City chief operating officer] Justin [Quick] and his team to put together the plans to admit fans safely and socially distanced to the stadium, working out blocks and bubbles – like a giant game of Tetris - so my thanks go to him for the amount of work he put into making it happen.  
It was rewarding to see the positive feedback from fans – I think one person said they felt safer at SJP than they did at their local supermarket – maybe we should put him in charge of the vaccination programme… 
But it’s not only Justin, every season requires a huge volume of effort, work and time from staff, players and volunteers, often in a hugely pressured environment; but there’s one thing you can be sure of at Exeter City, everyone digs deep and rises to the challenge.  
There are so many people who go the extra mile at our club, every club talks about inclusivity and family values, but I truly believe it is our ownership model which sets us apart and means we live by those values every day.  
There is one group of people who give up their time and work hard for our club who are rarely mentioned - and that’s the members of the board.  
Consisting of our Supporters’ Trust and club directors, they do an immense amount of work behind the scenes and it’s certainly not an easy task with so many varied opinions and perspectives.  
Since March last year, our partner charity CITY Community Trust has adapted its services to support the community, collecting and delivering more than £17,000 worth of shopping, prescriptions and food parcels to vulnerable people during 2020.  
And the team at CITY Community Trust have still been delivering, right up to Christmas with the Exeter Festive Campaign which supported local families in need.  
In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, they handed out 400 food parcels, more than 300 books and over 150 toys to local families through our Exeter Festive Appeal.  
In addition to this, they provided hot meals and free sports activities to young people attending special Premier League Kicks sessions thanks to funding from the Premier League. 
Here’s to a better 2021 for us all – don’t forget, the future’s bright, the future’s red and white!

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