Posts Tagged 'Exeter City'

Michael Jackson, bent spoons and football

Yes, it really has been a fortnight since the last blog post. Apologies – I’m not neglecting this place, it’s just the starting a new job thing is obviously taking up a fair bit of my time. Plus it’s sunny outside, there were family visits and a day of cricket to be watched as well. None of which make for convenient blogging time.

Anyway, in the meantime Michael Jackson passed away. He was actually, for a brief period of time, a director of Exeter City FC. Along with Darth Vader. I really wish I was making this up, but I’m not. I’ve told the whole bizarre and somewhat depressing tale over at Soccerlens.

Plus, over at twofootedtackle.com, we also did a slimmed down summer podcast. Listen and laugh at our woeful Confederations Cup predictions and marvel that nothing has happened on the transfer front in a week. That’s so not news it’s almost news.

Mission accomplished: League One here we come

We can get back to normal now, the football season is over and Exeter City have secured a fantastic back-to-back promotion to League One. When you consider six years ago we were days away from liquidation, it’s an amazing achievement.

It’s not something I EVER thought I’d witness as a City fan and I’m still pinching myself as I look at the teams we’ll be playing next season. Norwich, Charlton, Southampton and possibly Leeds, plus a couple of great local derbies against Yeovil and Bristol Rovers.

Needless to say, Saturday afternoon at the rather bizarre Don Valley Stadium (hopefully Rotherham can vacate the athletics stadium asap as it does them no favours either) ranks among one of the best of my football-supporting life.

I won’t bore you any longer on here, but predictably I’ve got a piece up on Soccerlens about Exeter, so go read.

I also imagine it’ll be discussed in the twofootedtackle.com podcast tonight as well. Being the host has it’s advantages…

Ok, now I’ll get back to media, t’interweb, journalism and PR, aye?

Nearly there

Yes, the football season it getting very close to the end, for me at least. Exeter travel to Rotherham (technically Sheffield) tomorrow and I’ll be Tweeting and goalpostring as the Grecians chase promotion. Pray that we go up, so I can get back to writing proper stuff on here. Also, it means I might have to go to Gillingham for the playoffs. I like Gillingham’s fans, but the place itself…

Anyway, there’s plenty of footballing stuff I’ve done this week. To whet your appetite for the final day of the Football league tomorrow, I’ve rounded up everything that’s going on at Soccerlens.

I also continue with my uselessness in predicting the Conference.

There’s also the twofootedtackle podcast with Tom Phillips where we also discuss the Football league, the bottom of the Championship, Newcastle United, more pies, the Eredivisie, and bad footballing puns.

I’ll be back

There are many reasons for a man to disappear, or at least go very quiet. Reggie Perrin had his reasons, as did Lord Lucan. Brian Wilson went a bit mad, while everything gone downhill for Mike Ashley after he decided to do away with both the reclusive and the multi-millionaire bits of his description when he brought Newcastle United.

I’ve not purchased the Toon Army. Neither have I taken control of Exeter City. But it’s fair to say that football has played a reasonable part in the slight silence on here over the last couple of weeks.

This isn’t to say that I’ve got obsessed to the point of installing 15 TVs in my house obsessively detailing how Scunthorpe United profit from their use of long throw-ins. In fact, it may come as a surprise if I say that I’m usually not too bothered if other events clash with any given game. Football can be put to one side.

But not now, not at this current point in time. It’s the business end of the season, you see, and there are so many twists and turns and then double-twists and then turns that aren’t so much turns as slight bends in the road that, nonetheless, still have an impact on the league.

In short, football is currently just too exciting. The Premier League is actually, for once, reasonably interesting. The Championship still has plenty of surprises. Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga make me wish I lived on the continent. Burton may just bottle it. And, of course, Exeter City can still gain their second successive promotion in as many years if they beat Rotherham away next week.

If you’re one of those who enjoy reading my ill-thought out analysis on the state of the media than you may want to blame Exeter that it’ll take a week longer to get back to normal service. You see, all of this could have been avoided today if we’d just beaten bloody Morecambe at home, rather than freeze for the first 45 minutes and only manage a 2-2 draw.

Had Exeter won, there would have no doubt been eulogies on here before I wound down the football excitement and started posting stuff that actually interests people. Instead, I’m still wound tighter than a watchspring ahead of next week’s trip from St Pancras to Up North (it’s all up north from Exeter, really). And then, if we balls it up at the Don Valley Athletic Stadium, then we’ve got the playoffs to come. Christ on a bike and all that.

The best you can hope for in that case, is that Exeter end up playing Dagenham, which is an easy journey for me, and means I can still get home long before the last tube and still have time for fish and chips before Match of the Day. Marvellous.

You probably don’t really need to know any of this. You don’t need to know that I have at least a dozen posts in my draft folder that probably won’t get written until the end of the season for League Two clubs.

Unless you’re planning on emailing me with important stuff, you don’t need to know that I’m mostly replying to people saying: “Sounds great, but I’ll have to wait until after the football.” And you also don’t really need to know that I should really apologise to the lovely people at BT MyPlace who sent me a load of stuff that I took a glance and liked a lot at before firing off an email saying: “Yes, this looks ace, I’ll almost definitely write something about it,” before getting distracted on an article on Boca Juniors and River Plate, or something similar.

And now I feel I should apologise again because I’m writing this long, rather pointless apology rather than writing about their service, which I quite like, and linking it into wider social media trends and no doubt throwing in an arbitrary quote from, say, Mark Twain, just because I can.

That’s the problem with us bloggers. We’re so damn unreliable.

So, yes, apologies to people waiting for anything that isn’t football on here. I’ll get back to writing about exiting new trends in PR and social media. I would add journalism to that list as well, but it’s got enough problems as it is without needing the added pressure of exciting new trends.

Anyway, this is a rather lengthy, rambling way of saying an awful lot when I don’t have anything much to say at all, other than being able to discuss the not-so-finer points of Exeter’s 2-2 draw with Morecambe, and you probably don’t want to read about that here.

Normal service will be resumed soon. In the meantime I’m off to read about the Eredivise.

Oh hai, I iz all over ur internetz

I miss doing film reviews somewhat, so I’ve plugged that void with a quick(ish) review of the wonderful LA Confidential Special Edition DVD over at Den of Geek.

And for those of you wondering what on earth I’ve written this week’s Soccerlens column on the answer consists of two words: Luton Town.

When I get the time, I actually quite enjoy writing. Whether you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it, mind, is somewhat more debatable.

MORE: And I’ve done a quick update on the very strange situation at Weymouth over a Soccerlens. I know, I know, two Soccerlens pieces in a week. I’m really spoiling you.

I’m also in this month’s When Saturday Comes. The piece isn’t currently the the internetz but is available in all good newsagents.

Why I love the FA Cup

Last night non-league Blyth Spartans defeated Bournemouth 1-0 with an 89th minute winner from their 18-year-old substitute to set up a tie with Premier League side Blackburn Rovers.

It’s that kind of drama-you-couldn’t-make-up that makes me love the FA Cup (even if Exeter got knocked out to Curzon Ashton). It’s the chance for, cliched as it is, the postmen, the electricians, and the plumbers, the semi-professionals, to get their moment of glory.

And Blyth have pedigree, having reached the 5th round of the FA Cup back in 1978, and coming close to become the only non-league team to ever make it to the quarter-finals. You can read my Soccerlens piece on it here.

Also, Droyslden and Chesterfield are doing their best to revive the spirit of endless replays (them from the days before penalty shoot outs).

Having seen their original match abandoned due to fog, the teams then drew two-all in a bizarre game that saw Chesterfield allow their non-league opponents to equalise after Jack Lester scored a controversial goal. Then, last night, the floodlights failed at Droylsden [1] with the Spireites leading 2-0, so another replay is required.

Add Histon knocking out Leeds in the last round, and Barrow facing Middlesborough in the third round, and it’s clear just why the FA Cup is one of the greatest competitions in the world.

My favourite cup final is the 1990 three-all draw between Manchester United and Crystal Palace. Not because I have any great love for either of these teams, but because it was a pulsating affair that had you on the edge of your seats.

United went on to win the replay 1-0, with a rare goal from defender Lee Martin.

And no matter what people may have thought about last season’s cup final, it was great to see Portsmouth and Cardiff battle it out rather than any of the usual suspects. It’s why I can’t wait for January 3rd.

[1] There’s a lot of this kind of thing around at this time I year. I was at Dagenham on Saturday when the floodlights failed at half time. Frustrating, yes, as it was a good game of football. But given that Exeter were losing 1-0, it was absolutely freezing cold, there was driving rain, and the away end is uncovered, you’ll understand why I wasn’t horrendously upset to have to leave early.

Chris Todd

Certain news really puts football in perspective. Fans are fond of quoting Bill Shankly’s famous phrase about the sport being more important than life and death, but that gets put to one side when you hear some genuinely upsetting news that actually does deal with life and death situations.

This news concerns Torquay United defender and former Exeter City club captain Chris Todd who has just been diagnosed with Leukaemia.

Chris arrived at Exeter City after being released in Swansea City, via a brief spell in Ireland. He was brought to the club by Neil McNab in 2003, one of the few decent things to come out of the much-maligned coach’s short-lived reign at St. James’ Park.

Although he couldn’t stop the Grecians’ relegation from the league, the happy-go-lucky Welshman became a mainstay of Exeter’s defence during their time in the Conference. First he formed an impressive partnership with Santos Gaia, then Gary Sawyer. Other defenders came and went but Toddy remained at the heart of the back four.

When Paul Tisdale took over as manager of the club in 2006, there was always very little doubt who he’d pick as captain. Chris was a popular player in the dressing room and a strong leader on the pitch and as one of the few players who’d stuck with City through the lean times, his appointment was appreciated by the fans.

As captain, Chris helped lead the Grecians to their first trip to Wembley at the end of the season, although the side lost to Morecambe.

At the end of that season, Chris followed Exeter’s former assistant manager Paul Buckle down the A380 to Torquay United, where he again became a mainstay of their defence as they mounted a challenge to bounce straight back into the league following their relegation.

The disease was only picked when when a nurse recommended he have a blood test after he struggled to recover from an operation. He was told the news on Monday. Part of the complications of the disease includes an enlarged spleen, which could easily rupture on contact and Chris was lucky to get through a 5-a-side game unscathed on the morning he found out about his disease.

I’ve met and interviewed Chris on many an occasion and he’s genuinely one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet in football. He’s always cheerful and, unlike many modern footballers, is happy to chat to anybody – fans or journalists. Many an interview would finish with both of us in fits of laughter.

Typically, the defender is taking the news in his usual good-humoured manner:

“Obviously it’s a bit of bad news for me.

“I’m very pleased to be at a club where they are giving me 100% support and I’ve got my family behind me, who are amazing. It’s hard to accept but I’m a fighter, as anybody who knows me will tell you. I have had upsets in my career and this is just another step. I will deal with it and I will be back.”

You can hear further reaction on Gemini FM’s page here.

Chris will learn on Monday at what stage the disease is at – at best, it could still be in its early stages and he could be back on the pitch within a few months.

What makes it, to me, even more shocking is Chris is, at 27, still a young man. He’s only a month older than me, but also has a fiancee and a young daughter to care for.

Chris Todd is one of football’s good guys. He’s also a fighter, and I hope that the fighting spirit that you always see from him on the pitch will see him through this dreadful time.

Get well soon Chris.


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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com