Julian Tagg Column
- Credit: Cameron Geran/PPAUK
So, the eternal football rollercoaster continues…grinding the games out with the inevitable highs and lows, twists and turns that this part of the season brings.
We were on top of the world following the game against league leaders Cambridge United, which saw us trounce them 4-1. But then came the lows, with a loss away at Barrow and then a nil-nil draw at home to Southend.
With only a handful of games remaining, there’s still a chance for us to make the play offs, but, as ever when you look at the league and you look at the games you have to play, you sometimes forget other teams have to play each other, so the permutations are often very convoluted, to say the least.
I know it’s a cliché, but it’s definitely one game at a time for now.
At least the journey to Barrow, a round trip of 550 plus miles, saw a game this time, unlike the last trip there which saw the match abandoned due to a frozen pitch AND after the squad and the media team had made the trip up there. We’ll be seeing them again at St James Park soon, it’s becoming a bit too regular for my liking!
I saw some stats on Twitter which showed that Exeter City has given the highest share of minutes to players aged 21 or under across all the leagues. I think this really demonstrates that we do have a side which is still developing and learning and is also a reflection of the incredible work of our academy.
Over the last few months, Matt Jay, who is ‘one of our own’, has really come into his own, with 17 goals and seven assists this season, it’s an incredible achievement. It’s been a privilege to watch Matt grow and develop.
Having been with the club since he was a youngster, it’s testament to the club’s ownership and ethos that our players are allowed that time to grow and blossom. Much has been said about Ollie Watkins in recent weeks, and whilst so many people had a role in his success, the major attribution must go to Ollie himself.
Matt and Ollie were best friends and travelled in the same car from age 11 and you can see how they share the same work ethic, it’s a work ethic everyone at ECFC both appreciates and emulates.
Our partner charity Exeter City Community Trust have just completed an amazing piece of work in our community. They worked with Exeter City Futures and the Exeter Learning Academy Trust to get food parcels to 550 families of children attending 30 local schools this Easter.
It was a phenomenal effort which was supported by some amazing organisations; Greendale provided a warehouse and massive truck, Westexe donated the use of a forklift truck, Speedy Freight helped with delivery and Coastal Recycling took away all the rubbish.
We even had a visit from Jake Taylor, Matt Jay and Nigel Atangana to help with the sorting and packing. Volunteers from local businesses and the Supporters’ Trust pitched in to sort and deliver a massive £50,000 worth of goods. It was an incredible feat and something, as a supporter-owned club, that is so important for us to be involved in.
I know the Southend result wasn’t what we wanted, and judging by the final few minutes, we did everything we could, except score; it was an important game as it was our regular ‘Kick It Out’ fixture where we celebrate the club’s strong commitment to tackle all forms of discrimination.
This season Kick it out launched its Take A Stand campaign and the aim, which is very welcome indeed, is to create a culture where individuals take personal responsibility for being part of the change.
Well, we’ve got a big week ahead of us – let’s back our boys and remember the future’s bright, the future’s red and white!
Julian Tagg is president and director of external affairs at Exeter City Football Club.