• Nathan Smith


Featured Image Credit - Exeter City FC

Exeter City have signed centre back Sam Stubbs from Fleetwood on a two-and-a-half-year deal, marking Matt Taylor’s first January signing.

The 22-year-old arrives from the League One side having made nine appearances for Fleetwood Town, in which he scored his first professional goal for the club.

Stubbs may be 22 but he has already experienced a range of different clubs via multiple loan spells while at Wigan and Middlesbrough, having played for the likes of non-league AFC Fylde, Dutch side Ado den Haag and Scottish Premiership side Hamilton Academical.

He will not be involved with the Grecians straight away, having recently undergone knee surgery, alongside a recent bout with COVID-19 but Matt Taylor was delighted to get his man after a recommendation from a former City star.

“Sam is a player we have been interested in for a long time and I had an excellent recommendation from George Friend at Middlesbrough.”

Stubbs himself was excited to get underway at the Grecians, citing the clubs great record when it comes to player development.

“This is really exciting for me and I’m really happy. There is a lot about Exeter that made me join the club. The biggest thing for me is that they were interested in me for a while and they are really good at developing players.”

Having played for a lot of clubs in a short time, Stubbs will be wanting to settle, and has goals to help Exeter finally reach their long-awaited promotion target.

“I can guarantee I will do absolutely everything for the club, for the manager and my teammates. I just love playing football and ultimately what I want to do is move up the leagues with Exeter City.”

A former centre-back himself, Matt Taylor knows a lot about defending, and has lofty ambitions for Stubbs, including building the team around the young defender.

“He is a character and an old school centre half which is something you don’t often get in such a young body. He became available and we wanted to move. We are looking to build the team around him.”

Stubbs best spell in the Scottish Premiership with Hamilton Academical last season, receiving regular praise from not just manager Brian Rice, but the general Scottish football media too.

His loan there was cut short after Middlesbrough triggered their recall option, and was sent to Alan Pardew’s Ado den Haag, where he made eight appearances in the Dutch top-flight.

You may have heard of his father, Alan Stubbs, formerly of Everton and Celtic fame, and Sam Stubbs will be looking to emulate his father’s superb career.

Matt Taylor has made it clear that Exeter are in the market for more players, so with ten days to go, this may not be the Grecian’s last January arrival.