Julain Tagg Column

Exeter City chairman Julian Tagg

Exeter City chairman Julian Tagg - Credit: Archant

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Julian Tagg is president and director of external affairs at Exeter City Football Club. In this monthly column, he brings an exclusive look behind the scenes at St James Park.

So, our unbeaten run came to an end and in true Exeter City fashion we brushed ourselves down and went again… and boy, did we do that, with the boys securing a stunning 6-1 win over Colchester United, swiftly followed by beating League One Gillingham away 3-2 to win ourselves a place in the third round of the FA Cup.

We’ll be watching the draw with bated breath on Monday to see who we’ll face in the next round.

As ever, the football rollercoaster continues and the trajectory now, in the third round proper, is the objective to secure a date against one of the big sides for the game, which will take place at the beginning of January.

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Based on current government guidance, which we all know seems to turn on a sixpence, it currently looks as though we will be able to have fans back at the park for that match.

We certainly welcomed the announcement that clubs in areas of lower restrictions will soon be able to have up to 4,000 fans at matches; but, because of the layout of our stadium, those numbers are likely to be significantly less for us, and it’s something that Justin and his safety team are now working through.

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There are a lot of pieces to put together in the jigsaw, but the most important thing is that we do this in the safest way possible, and we will need everyone to be patient while we work out how we do this.

At this stage we are hoping to run a test event with fans for the game against Northampton in the Papa John’s Trophy on December 8 – keep an eye on our website and social media for the latest updates

The Gillingham game saw another couple of goals and an assist for Joel Randall, yet another Academy product doing us proud every single time he plays.

He was one of an incredible seven Academy players in the squad, with four in the starting line-up.

Our younger players continue to have great success, with the Under 16s beating Crewe Alexandria 7-3 to become national champions.

Next for the younger players are the Under 18s who will face Bournemouth at St James Park in the third round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday, December 2.

It will definitely be one to watch and the club’s planning to livestream it – so keep an eye on the social media.

We have recently seen the number of subs change from three to five for the remainder of the season. Matt has made his feelings very clear on this, certainly around the timing of it.

In any team there will inevitably be injuries as the season progresses and when this happens you call on your younger players. We believe this new rule favours those clubs with bigger budgets who can afford to buy and maintain larger squads.

We will see how this new rule pans out in the coming weeks and months.

It was somewhat ironic that on Tuesday night Colchester made three subs and then a further two subs in the second half as things got worse for them and then following an unfortunate injury, ended up with 10 men in the last minutes of the game.

Perhaps a little more thought into the new rule is required!

Over at CITY Community Trust, the running team has been busy signing up an incredible 1,500 people to take part in its annual Santa Run.

They won’t be taking over Exeter city centre as normal this year, though, as the event is going to be virtual.

So, if you see people running in their most festive gear, make sure you give them a wave and cheer!

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