With the second half of the season underway we’re looking to build on our good momentum from our recent home games.

Gary Caldwell and his team are working hard to sign quality players to reinforce the squad, and we’ve welcomed two new players – who look to be very good indeed.

The January window is a challenging time, every team is looking for a proven striker, you can list the attributes they need and be sure we’re all searching for someone similar – and there ain’t many of those around.

It’s been well documented that our playing budget is towards the lower end of a league which features six former Premier League teams – with the budgets to match.

Add to that the other factors that affect a player signing for a club, it is a complicated jigsaw puzzle of a process, which begins long before the window opens, and, as we know from bitter experience, can change dramatically right up until the eleventh hour.

However, I’m sure we’ll be seeing some more of those social media signing emojis in the coming weeks. I don’t know how our media team will top the signing announcement for Ben Purrington, which featured none other than our media manager Scott Palfrey’s cat Madge. Apparently, she’s enjoyed her 15 minutes of feline fame and having a real purrrrpose in life…

Signing from one of the most northerly clubs in the UK, Ross County, meant it was an 11-hour drive to Exeter for Ben last week. I am somewhat disappointed that he escaped through our pretty efficient Academy net but chatting to him during a break from the long trip back from Blackpool, not only did I find out why, and that gap has long since been closed, but also bumped into Kevin Nancekivell, his coach from the age of 14, who was at the services with our friends from down the road. Ben was only on the pitch for a short time at Blackpool, but still managed to show his class, watch this space.

Blackpool was also the scene of Pierce Sweeney’s 350th appearance for the club – to think we nearly lost him to Swindon, which would have been a catastrophe - for which team I’ll let you decide! (*how do you do a smiley face in a newspaper?) Seriously though, he is a leader in so many ways, a real character that you always want with you and a solid reliable player that we all appreciate. As for his ability to write a newspaper column, it can only get better!

Although the game wasn’t to be ours, it was always a tough ask with Blackpool boasting the best home form in the league, the boys battled in front of an incredible 425 travelling supporters. Once again, thank you to every supporter who backs our club, home and away. It was great to catch up with Blackpool’s new millionaire owner Simon Sadler again. An investment banker, but a genuine local man with Blackpool in his heart.

Some of the management team are running 5k a day in January and using the training for the Exeter Half Marathon, which is organised by our partner charity, Exeter City Community Trust and takes place on February 10 and 11. The group is raising funds for the Exeter City Community Fund which supports six local charities – you can find out more here - www.justgiving.com/campaign/ecfcrunforacause

It’s been an incredible season so far for our Exeter City Women, topping the league and this week beating Southampton 8-1. Crowds at their home ground of Exwick Sports Hub and we’re looking forward to their next match at St James Park on March 13.

Coming up, we face Cambridge at home on Saturday, and then there is a run of games in quick succession; an away trip to a certain Matt Taylor’s Bristol Rovers on Tuesday and then back up north to Barnsley on January 27.

See you at SJP – Up the City!

Julian Tagg
Exeter City Club President