An exciting series of exhibitions, films and events celebrating the incredible history of Exeter City Football Club has been announced.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, a third funding award from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will support the creation of several new events, including the ECFC Museum Trust photography exhibition, which charts the visual history of the club from the post-war era to the present day.
The exhibition, due to be held in the Park building, has been made possible thanks to generous donations from the family of former ECFC Goalkeeper Barney Singleton, former ECFC Photographer Chris Howes, and Devon Live, who have donated the Express & Echo ECFC photographic collection to the Museum.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant totals £49,700, and Exeter City FC, the ECFC Supporters Trust, ECFC Museum Trust, Devon County Council and the University of Exeter have also contributed additional funding.
Professor Gabriella Giannachi and Dr William Barrett from the University of Exeter have worked with their community partners for the past six years to help collect, preserve, share, and celebrate the history of the football club. Supported throughout by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, this work has seen the establishment of the ECFC Museum Trust, several public exhibitions and a dedicated digital physical and archive, the Grecian Archive, and a museum room.
As part of the forthcoming heritage work Professor Giannachi and Dr Barrett will work with Exeter City Football Club, the ECFC Supporter’s Trust, the City Community Trust, the South West Heritage Trust, Devon County Council, and the Unified Football Supporters Organisation (the UFSO).
Fans, staff, and former players of the club will help to deliver a number of films, oral histories, and additional displays, that will include a film and exhibit that explores the historic and contemporary connections between football and the LGBT communities in Exeter, and an away end exhibition that will celebrate some of the most popular and notable people who both played and managed teams against the Grecians.
A series of significant anniversaries will also be marked through celebrations and displays, including the 30th anniversary of the club’s division 4 title win in 1990, the 100th anniversary of ECFC’s entry into the English Football League, and the 125th anniversary of the first known football match to have taken place at St James Park: the latter of which will also see the launch of a new book by ECFC Museum Trustee Aidan Hamilton, which charts the history of St James Park from well before that date to the present day.
The City Community Trust will run a series of health and well-being workshops to senior citizens and war veterans in the South West. There will also be a series of heritage walks, which will be designed by the project team and volunteers to allow people to get active while exploring the hidden heritage of various parts of the City, including St Sidwell’s, St James, St Thomas, and Heavitree.
The team will be going on the road to Portsmouth, London, and Huddersfield, to deliver a series of workshops aimed at further identifying and sharing best practice in the exhibition and preservation of sporting heritage, and will result in the creation of a white paper and film to share with sports clubs around the world.
Professor Giannachi said: “Investigating ECFC’s rich history through its sporting heritage over the last hundred years tells us a lot about changes in society in the South West and possibly in the UK more widely. The curation and preservation of sporting heritage is a relatively new field and we are working with a number of other clubs and organizations nationally and internationally to identify a best practice framework that could benefit other clubs and sport museums. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund for making our work possible.”