David Cameron Walker

Archive for the ‘Exeter City’ Category

Adele to sing at St. James Park this Saturday

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

That’s right the fat lady is singing for Exeter City after relegation was confirmed last weekend after a 4-1 defeat at Carlisle United, the longest trip in UK football. All credit to Carlisle, who all City fans wish were in the Scottish leagues, a team that any astute League One watcher will know can beat anyone on their day at Brunton Park.

So what are the positives? Well firstly we own our football club and that is not about to change. We will still be the biggest fans owned club in England (sorry AFC Wimbledon) and that gives us Exonians a sense of enormous pride. At the time of writing there is some unrest on the club’s independent fans forum Exeweb calling for an EGM of the Trust to address some issues. Far be it for me to comment on this but all is not 100% rosy in Devon’s capital.

Alan Gow has come in and despite being ex-Plymouth Argyle has wowed Exeter City fans and has even been labelled the new Ryan Harley, whisper that around here because those are big ugg boots to fill. Ryan Harley found so much time he should have been a watchmaker and he set up countless goals for Jamie Cureton who on his return scored precious few for the club. I only hope we can tie him down to a contract and another League One or Two team don’t offer him something better.

Danny Coles is out of his back brace after a horrific freak injury in training where he came off worse in a clash with the big Polish custodian Artur Krysiak. the response of the fans was amazing, they sent cards, made videos and posted online to support the new defender who has established himself after being deemed surplus to requireemnts by League Two Bristol Rovers. Us Grecian fans hope to see more of him alongside the ever developing Troy Archibald-Henville next year.

The other obvious positive is we leave League One North and go in to League Two South. Trips to Carlisle, Preston, Scunthorpe and Bury are replaced by Aldershot, Hereford, Bristol Rovers and the big one, Plymouth Argyle in the Vera Lynn sponsored Devon Derby. I will evenly boldly predict that gates will go up and not down despite the big teams not coming down. Who knows if Torquay bottle it again we could have all the Devon teams in the same league for the first time in over ten years and that is exciting to us down here.

So what are our prospects next year? It depends on the retained list. if we can keep Gow and Noble in midfield, have a clean sweep of strikers while keeping club legend Richard Logan and show faith in the youngsters the playoffs are within Paul Tisdale’s well-dressed grasp. only this week the Under 18 side lost in the national cup final, the future is bright and with the kind of support we had in that game we can all march on together back to League One where we feel we now belong.

Farewell League One we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.

Written by Ian Bond, We Are Going Up’s Exeter City blogger & Editor of The Fans Paper

Ian tweets at @Bondythe Editor@thefanspaper

Don’t mention the R word

Friday, February 10th, 2012

It is now February and most teams have a pretty solid idea of where their season is headed. It doesn’t make for a fun time for us Grecians fans as Exeter sit precariously, two points above the relegation trap door which will swallow four clubs at the end of the season.

It doesn’t look set to get much better this Saturday as the club host high-flying Sheffield Wednesday at the real St James Park. Exeter somehow managed to do the double over them last year but victory on Saturday looks like a tall order with a misfiring strikeforce.

Daniel Nardiello has had a rollercoaster year, albeit a very boring rollercoaster that went up and just came down. He scored a series of goals and then has virtually nothing since. He also was sent off for a four letter tirade against a linseman after a perfectly good goal was disallowed and he continues to argue with officials.

Guillem Bauza hasn’t played enough to justify his star signing status yet. I expect big things from him but waiting is becoming an issue.

Paul Tisdale is not particularly worried as he knows his sides always finish the season strongly but they need to start showing that. The last two games the performances have been credible against Charlton Athletic and AFC Bournemouth but no goals tells it’s own story.

Whether the boss will bring in an emergency loan remains to be seen. After selling Scott Golbourne I would like to think he will. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jake Taylor is brilliant but he is not a prolific goalscorer just yet.

Speaking of Golbourne the club pulled off a good bit of business selling him six months before the end off his contract and getting a replacement in Luke O’Brien for free from Bradford. I hope he does well and can indeed cross better than Golbourne.

I think with the performances the side are putting in it’s not long before there is a big result which can be built on. I thought that would be at Bournemouth but it wasn’t to be. How can you compete against a team who spend your entire wage bill on one player? But at least Exeter City go about things in the right way and whether in League One or Two next year we can all still say with pride that We Own Our Football Club.

Written by Ian Bond, We Are Going Up’s Exeter City blogger

Ian tweets at @thefanspaper

 

A Slow Start for City

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Paul Tisdale’s record as Exeter City Manager has been one of constant improvement on the previous season. Before the start of the season I predicted that a loss of key players would mean we would not improve on last season’s excellent 7th place finish. Right now we couldn’t be further off it as we sit rock bottom of League One.

So what exactly has gone wrong for Exeter City this season? A question I have been asked quite a fair bit in recent weeks by onlookers who didn’t expect us to struggle quite as much as we have. There is obviously no one reason for this but there are a few big factors.

The biggest issue is that in each area of the pitch we have lost arguably our best performer. In goal reliable custodians Paul Jones and Ben Hamer have both gone. In defence the rock of Paul Tisdale’s defence of recent years Matt Taylor has moved on to Charlton. The midfield playmaker and creator and scorer of numerous goals last season Ryan Harley went to Swansea on a free (and subsequently Brighton for over £250k) and up front last season’s top scorer Jamie Cureton also left on a free for what many suspect was a money motivated move.

Tisdale did his best to bring in reinforcements in the Summer but I tend to suspect that his first choices failed to show interest and others didn’t materialise due to what seems to be a large drop in the wage budget to offset the northern nature of League One this year. The attendances have dropped due to a lack of games against local teams but also have dropped based on the fact we are just not performing very well. In this case it seems the board would have to spend money to make money.

Exeter City fans can also be a fickle bunch with a minority of so-called supporters choosing to criticise the team rather than show positive encouragement. It has admittedly been worse in the past but there have been a couple of incidents which has highlighted how the players are not appreciating some of the stick coming their way. None more so than Saturday’s game against an excellent Huddersfield team where a section of fans started chanting the name of the substitute goalkeeper, after several more insults went the way of City number 1 Artur Krysiak he made some sort of gesture to the crowd and at half time he was substituted due to an apparent injury. The question I have to ask is who benefits from the crowd falling out with the players when we are in such a position. For me if your team are bottom of the league that is when they need as much of your vocal support as possible to spur them on.

Paul Tisdale has in fact mentioned in the local press this year that the players are nervous about playing in front of the St James Park faithful due to the negative murmurings that have been present so far. Needless to say this prompted the usual debate on how those who paid the players wages are entitled to criticise but for me being a supporter means just that; support your team. If you pay the money and care about getting good results a bit of positive encouragement may even go some way to giving the side the confidence boost it so massively lacks this year.

There are however some encouraging signs despite all the doom and gloom. Matt Oakley and Jake Taylor have come in on loan from Leicester City and Reading respectively and have done very well. I have no doubt that given time they will get goals and more importantly set them up. Oakley in particular is clearly a class act and his experience in the middle of the park is much needed right now.

There are still players in the Exeter City side who can change games. The likes of Guillem Bauza, Dan Nardiello and John O’Flynn can all create goals they just all lack any kind of consistent form so far this year with O’Flynn only just having returned through injury. Get any two of those firing on all cylinders and I think City can climb the table and achieve some respectability yet this season.

Written by Ian Bond, We Are Going Up’s Exeter blogger

Ian tweets at @bondyecfc

We Will Never Forget Stanno

Friday, August 12th, 2011

This week has been a reflective one for fans of Exeter City, Hereford, Yeovil and Elmore as we remembered on Wednesday the passing of striker Adam Stansfield one year ago.

I wasn’t at the Ipswich League Cup game when most Exeter City fans found out that Stansfield had lost his fight with bowel cancer. I cannot imagine how the collective group of Exeter fans felt at that time but when I received a text informing me of the terrible news the feeling was one of shock.

Stansfield was just 31 and anyone who has seen him play will tell you that his physical fitness was second to none. He became a fans favourite for covering every blade of grass and running his heart out all match for the cause. The amount of running he did in a game was phenomenal.

About two weeks before his untimely death someone posted on Facebook that his condition was terminal and the response was a mixture of deep anger and utter disbelief. A lot of fans were understandably angry that someone would publicly post what was at the time a vicious rumour, none of us thought it would be proved right so soon.

On Wednesday fans of his former clubs got together on Twitter to pay tribute by attempting to trend the hashtag #WeWillNeverForgetStanno. Unfortunately it didn’t trend but the amount of messages posted about him that day really showed the shock at which his death caused around the football community with tweets from fans, his former colleagues and current and former top flight footballers. The tweet that got me the most was the one with a YouTube link to BBC footage of Stansfield’s funeral. I had taken the decision not to attend the funeral as I didn’t feel I had earned the right to be there and I felt I didn’t want to face the emotion of the day in what had been a fairly difficult year on a personal level. I watched the footage for the first time and it really brought me to my knees to see the outpouring of public emotion from the Exeter City and football community.

Thankfully Adam Stansfield’s legacy is still alive today in the form of the Adam Stansfield Foundation who raise money to give aspiring young footballers in the South West regardless of club allegiance the opportunities to play at a young age that benefitted Stansfield so much.

The club held a collection for a cancer charity at the understandably emotional game between Exeter and Yeovil where Stansfield had made his name. Fans once again displayed the huge Stansfield 9 shirt over the Big Bank and chanted about him as I believe Exeter fans will always do.

Stansfield always had time for the fans and was often to be found signing autographs or just chatting to the fans after games. I met him after the victory parade for Exeter’s promotion to League Two – he was humble and talkative and more than happy to have his photo taken with me, he even tried to jump up to reach my height.

Stansfield will never be forgotten by those who were lucky enough to see him play. The club retired the number 9 shirt for 10 years as a mark of respect. The next player to wear that shirt will have boots that are literally impossible to fill.

More details about the Adam Stansfield Foundation are available at adamstansfieldfoundation.com where you can show your support by buying wristbands or badges.

 

Written by Ian Bond, We Are Going Up’s Exeter blogger

Ian tweets at @bondyecfc

 

Mixed Expectations

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

As the new League One season is almost upon us it’s fairly difficult to assess if Exeter City can emulate or even better last seasons high finish where we suprised many by finishing just a solitary point outside the play-off places.

Last seasons joint highest finish in league history was a commendable achievement given our traditional problems of relatively low budget and out of the way geographical location.

So at this point the best assessment of things is either to look at pre-season form or see what the bookies think. A quick look at the latter has City 10-3 for relegation but a higher price of 14-1 for promotion, which as a rough comparative sees the bookies predicting a mid-table or lower finish.

Looking at pre-season form is completely different and I would suggest an inaccurate indicator – City’s matches so far have been against one team from the Blue Square South, two from below that and three Norwegian fourth division outfits (this on a tour which included the last twenty minutes being played against Exeter City fans). The only match of any relative worth for the pundits seems to have been the match against Torquay United last Wednesday where a very average team with a pretty rotund front line humiliated us 3-0. Still we have Derby County to come at home on our brand new pitch and it is well known how much our glorious manager Paul Tisdale (above) loves playing his admired style of passing on a nice pitch. a style of passing which looked all at sea on the laughingly titled English Riviera this week.

As for transfer comings and goings the jury is somewhat out on whether we have a stronger, or as I would suggest, slightly weaker squad than last year. The midfield puppet master of the last few seasons Ryan Harley has gone to Swansea for literally nothing. Goalkeeper Paul Jones made it very clear he wanted a fresh start and has moved to Peterborough on a free, and former captain and defensive rock Matt Taylor declared he wanted to move up North before subsequently completing a move to Charlton Athletic. Plus there was the long running saga of out of contract top scorer Jamie Cureton who said he wanted to stay and then he wasn’t sure – and then he didn’t want to drop down a league, but he was speaking to League Two Bristol Rovers. To cut a long story short he’s now at Leyton Orient presumably on a fairly inflated contract.

Tisdale needed to act to bring in replacements and he has for the most part. Danny Coles has come in from an admittedly leaky Bristol Rovers defence but he has a very good CV previous to that. Lenny Pidgely has arrived to fill the goalkeeping gap – he’s a former Chelsea stopper but has been around a bit in the last few years. He’ll start as backup this season but I expect him to make an impact one way or another. Finally, in came long time Exeter target Guillem Bauza, who comes with a very good reputation for setting up and scoring goals from midfield and attack. He could be the real X-Factor in the team this year, if he finds his form and settles in. The real worry has to be that Cureton was not replaced and so John O’Flynn, Daniel Nardiello and Richard Logan all need to increase their productivity this season. It will be interesting to see if O’Flynn can really fulfill his potential this season, if he can good things will begin to happen.

All in all there are a lot more questions than answers at this point, but if everything comes together we could push on. I certainly won’t be rushing to the bookies to back us for promotion just yet however. If I had to predict a finishing position realistically I would go for 11th but I hope that Paul Tisdale goes on to prove me and the other doubters wrong again as we all know he can do.

Written by Ian Bond, We Are Going Up’s Exeter City Blogger

Ian tweets at @BondyECFC