Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Friday Night Fever is coming to St James Park for the first time since 2007 and Exeter City are hoping to give both regular fans and new ones something to dance about.
The club are playing host to Accrington Stanley in a League Two match which they have rescheduled from its rather more traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off in an attempt to make some of their matches more accessible to supporters who have work commitments at weekends.
Julian Tagg, the club’s chief executive, says that they are hoping that the evening’s entertainment - there will also be a band outside the main stand before the game kicks off at 7.45pm and post-match entertainment in the bars - will be an antidote to the previous night’s Valentine celebrations.
“Valentine’s Day is all geared up towards couples - but not everybody is in a relationship,” he said. “So we want everyone to come along and fall in love with City, whether they come alone, with friends, their partners or their kids. We’re also hoping that by playing on a Friday night that people will come along with their work colleagues - especially all those retail workers who are normally busy on Saturday afternoons. And it gives those who play in local league matches on Saturdays a chance to come and watch City.”
John Harvey, the City Centre manager, is delighted the club are actively engaging with the community and says the council is keen to support such initiatives by local businesses.
“Friday fixtures are good news for everyone as it’s a real opportunity for people to leave work and then enjoy the ever-growing cafe culture that we have here in the city centre and then go on to the football club. We are also pressing retailers for supporting the idea of extended opening hours and initiatives such as this could really help with that. We want people to enjoy the full range of things on offer here in Exeter so I think it’s also important that a wider range of people can go to the match if it’s more of an evening out - whole families can go and that’s good news for both the city and City if we each get it right.”
The game is being played on the first night of half term and the club is hoping that this means more children will come along and experience the special atmosphere which playing under floodlights brings without worrying about getting up for school the next morning - especially with a ticket for under 12s in the Big Bank being just £2 (and under 18s £5).
Paul Tisdale, the Exeter City manager, was also in charge the last time a Friday evening match was played and the memory of that game - a rather unedifying 3-2 defeat after extra time by Ebbsfleet in the Conference Shield - is poignant as the first City goal was scored by the late Adam Stansfield.
“We’ve come a long way since then - and, of course, tragically lost Adam - but I’m very much looking forward to playing again here on a Friday evening. It’s going to be something a bit different and I am hoping it gives people who might not ordinarily get to see Exeter City play a chance to come and experience the atmosphere,” he said.
“Evening games always have a different feel to them and as this will be at the start of the weekend - and half term - it should be a great night out for everyone.”
Tickets are available from the club reception, online at www.exetercityfc.co.uk or on the gate.