Season of pride for Exeter City

Matt Jay of Exeter City is tackled by Tom Beadling of Barrow during the Sky Bet League 2 Match betwe

Matt Jay of Exeter City is tackled by Tom Beadling of Barrow during the Sky Bet League 2 Match between Exeter City and Barrow at St James Park, Exeter on 8 May. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

And just like that the season is at an end.  
With the relentless number of games over these last few months, it’s certainly been a tough one and not one any of us would like to repeat in a hurry, I’m sure.  
The boys battled to the last at St James Park against Barrow, but sadly the football Gods weren’t in our favour and the result, against a Barrow side who gave it everything, and the results of the teams above us, mean we’re just a couple of points outside the play offs.  
It’s disappointing and after the game you could feel the emotions of the lads, who have really given it their all this season. We knew at the start of the season that it would be a challenge, and not just because of the pandemic.  
We have a young squad, with at least six from our Academy starting or on the bench for most matches.  
As with all good things, they need time to mature, and we’ve seen some real glimpses of that this season, moments of brilliance from the players, but of course, we’ve also seen the lows, something all of us football fans are too familiar with…but we’re a resilient bunch and it’s been great to see the number of positive comments on social media, recognising just how tough this season has been. 
I think it’s also important to recognise the positives from the season, we have endured the challenges of Covid, playing with no fans and dramatically reduced income, yet we have finished with the club in a stable financial position – something of which we, as a supporter-owned club, should be extremely proud.  
We’ve also just come top of the fan engagement league, for the second year running, an incredible achievement, which saw us beating clubs from across all the leagues. The index recognises the way clubs interact with their fans, from the opportunities for fans to communicate, to transparency about how the club is run.  
The good work of the Supporters’ Trust, particularly in the areas of governance has certainly had an impact and helped us to secure this award. Engaging with our supporters is in our DNA at Exeter City, but it’s something which a lot of people work very hard on behind the scenes, so it’s fantastic to see it recognised in this way. 
Our staff have also been amazing this year, from the media team continually producing top quality content for the club’s social media channels, to the staff in the backroom, spending hours and hours looking at scenarios to get fans back in the ground.  
Of course, there’s Matt and his boot room, who have travelled the length and breadth of the country, and on one occasion a 550-mile round trip for a match to be cancelled at the last minute. 
Our sponsors have been incredible over the last year, from the commitment of our main shirt sponsor Carpetright, who signed the deal pretty much just as we went into lockdown, to those smaller businesses who continued their sponsorship when our stadium was empty – from all of us at Exeter City, we are so grateful to you for your support and we’re so looking forward to welcoming you back. 
And finally, to our fans, you’ve stuck by us, watching the games on ifollow, buying season tickets, making donations to the club, you’ve been incredible. I know Matt’s said it before, but I think there’s definitely been times when the singing and encouragement from the Big Bank might have changed a result or two. 
We can’t wait to welcome you back, let’s hope for a positive summer that sees us able to open the stadium safely to you all. And until then, remember, the future’s bright, the future’s red and white. Up the City! 

Julian Tagg is president and director of external affairs at Exeter City Football Club 

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