REAL FOOTBALL: MOVE ASIDE GREEDY PREMIER LEAGUE BIG 6 IT'S TIME TO SUPPORT LEAGUE TWO EXETER CITY
There’s a firm belief that resonates with many football fans that the Premier League is the best league in the world.
Yet at the beginning of the week, it felt as though greed prevailed over morality and the competitive edge that makes England’s top flight the very best was dwindling away.
Thankfully fans of the ‘big six’ clubs in England made their voices heard to the higher-ups bringing a sudden halt to the absurd idea of a European Super League.
However, this proposal of a closed shop league has left many supporters feeling disrespected and unvalued by their selfish owners.
So, if this is how you feel as a fan and you want away from the money-driven, egotistical billionaires who are destroying the game we love, we’ve got the right team for you to start following.
You may think that there is an element of bias to this, as all three of our co-founders are from and follow Exeter, but they truly are one of the best teams to support in England and here’s just a few reasons why:
We own our football club
Arguably the best thing about the club is the ownership, while some clubs in the EFL have someone who can pump finances into the club to get some of the best players in the lower leagues, Exeter don’t necessarily have that as the majority shareholders (53.6%) are the fans.
Bought by the Exeter City Supporters’ trust in 2003, the club have had to rely on self-orientated income through selling players developed through the academy, significant financial bonuses from advancing into the deeper stages of cup competitions and generous supporters who invest in the club.
And current City manager Matt Taylor, who played for the Grecians from 2007 to 2011, believes there is a truly special feel to the club he has been in charge of for the past three years.
“People always look at a manager when they describe their club as being special but we are and we’re special because we’re owned by our supporters.
“We’re run a certain way, we’ve no money man, no big chairman pushing in terms of financial input, we’ve got to generate our own income and the supporters play a huge part in that so that word special is absolutely key in relation to Exeter City.”
That community feeling
“It’s the people, that’s what’s special about it, always has been always will be and the majority of the people that are here are the supporters.
“So, once someone has sampled it and experienced what Exeter City is all about and felt it then I can guarantee they’ll get a different feel about football from what they’ve had previously and then hopefully they’ll be hooked," says Taylor.
This trait certainly isn’t uncommon regarding teams in the third and fourth tier and into non-league, simply because through being smaller clubs globally and financially, all the people heavily involved in the club are so crucial to keep everything running day-to-day.
From programme sellers right the way through to the first team squad, everyone has a connection with the club and are part of the Exeter City family.
Our academy is dynamite
Ethan Ampadu, Ollie Watkins, Matt Grimes, George Friend, Dean Moxey, these five players have two things in common - they all have made an appearance in the Premier League and all came through the Exeter City Academy.
The Grecians have always prided themselves on their superb academy setup and firmly believe in giving youth a chance and that has not been more prominent than this season.
Following financial constraints that appeared through the coronavirus pandemic, City have relied on their academy this campaign with Josh Key and Joel Randall breaking into the first team to join Archie Collins, Jack Sparkes and Matt Jay who all honed their craft in the Exeter youth setup.
Not to mention teenagers Sonny Cox and Harry Lee who have both been on trial at Premier League clubs in the last month and Ben Chrisene who joined Aston Villa at the end of last season and even started an FA Cup game against Liverpool.
At Exeter it’s firmly the belief that the best way for younger players to learn is to be thrown into the action and play men’s football and through the several academy graduates who’ve gone on to be successful higher up, it clearly works.
Yes, it’s great qualifying for the big European competitions and playing in state-of-the-art stadiums, but there’s nothing quite like standing on the Big Bank, singing your heart out at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and the man at the helm of the club is a firm believer in just how special Exeter City is.
“Anyone who’s thinking about no longer supporting Manchester United or Manchester City or one of those big six, I’d just say that when it’s possible, come and spend a weekend down in Devon, spend some time in Exeter and come to a game and hopefully then they’ll see what it’s all about.”