EXETER CITY 1976-77 FOURTH DIVISION RUNNERS-UP
EXETER CITY have always lived in the shadow of Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle but it was the Home Park connection which helped them claim their second ever promotion.
Bobby Sexton and John Hore moved to St James Park after being shown the door at Home Park following their Division Three promotion success two years earlier.
And when Sexton was put in charge of the Grecians after John Newman’s departure to Grimsby Town, they repeated the success.
City had spent 11 years in the basement division after being relegated just two seasons after their only promotion in 1964.
But spurred on by a strike force of Tony Kellow (19 goals) and Alan Beer (21) they finished runners-up behind Ron Atkinson’s Cambridge United.
Promotion was largely down to losing only once in their last 12 games and according to Hore it brought them briefly out of Argyle’s shadow.
And Hore – who was later to take Argyle to within 90 minutes of an FA Cup Final – feels Exeter could have even won another promotion.
He says that had Sexton kept the same side together and not returned to Argyle, they would have gone up again with goals from Kellow and Beer.
“John Newman left us and Bobby Sexton took over and he was the best manager I played under. Although I also played alongside him in the promotion team at Plymouth,” said Hore.
“He was a good manager and a good coach. We only had a very small squad and the promotion at Exeter was a far greater achievement than the one at Plymouth.
“That is because we only had a very small squad and had part-timers filling in but we were a good side especially with Tony Kellow and Alan Beer up front.
“Kellow could hold the ball up and little Alan was a great player. Lammie Robertson in midfield was one of the best players I have played with.
“Bobby Sexton ended up going back to Plymouth, but he reckoned that if that team had kept together we could have gone up another division,” he added.
“Plymouth have always been the biggest club in the West Country in terms of Torquay and Exeter but this was most definitely Exeter’s season to shine.
“Don’t get me wrong, on the playing side this was a far bigger achievement. I also managed Plymouth when they were so close to going all the way in the FA Cup.
“We had alot of experience: John Templeman, I’d played 500-odd games, Bobby Sexton had played over 400 games and Peter Hatch had played 400 odd.
“Lammie had a lot of experience. Nicky Jennings had been with me in the youth team at Plymouth. It’s funny Bobby and I left Argyle after promotion to come up here. And it was our second promotion in three years. It’s funny how you have to wait until almost the end of your career – all that scrapping and struggling in the first ten years, all the fighting relegation then two promotions come along as quickly as that.”
1. Peter Hatch: He remained in the Exeter area and worked for the Royal Mail as a postman.
2. Bobby Sexton: He managed Exeter, Plymouth, Blackburn, York and Newcastle. Also coached at Sunderland and Manchester City but has now retired after scouting for Sunderland.
3. Richard Key: His brother Lance was a goalkeeper. He has owned a care home called Blackwater Mill in Newport on
the Isle of Wight.
4. Jack Edwards: The trainer managed both Exeter and Torquay United, and was assistant manager at Plymouth Argyle and scouted for Leeds United for many years.
5. Phil Howe: A local player who has remained living and working in the Exeter area.
6. Tony Kellow: He served the club as assistant, commercial and social club manager. He also ran pubs and worked as a labourer before his death in February 2011, aged 58.
7. John Templeman: He worked in Saudi Arabia, coached in Sweden, then worked in insurance in his native Sussex and also managed a sports centre.
MIDDLE ROW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
8. Alan Hooker: He has managed Glastonbury, lives in Street, Somerset working in a Clarks Shoe Factory.
9. Alan Beer: Lives in his native Swansea and is working for the car dealership Bassetts Honda Group in South Wales.
10. Keith Clapham: He emigrated to Australia but is now believed to be living in Christchurch, Dorset.
11. John Newman: Managed Exeter, Grimsby, Derby and Hereford. Also coached at Burton and Worcester City before retiring.
12. Tony Morrin: He now lives in West Houghton near Bolton and works as a taxi driver.
13. Nicky Jennings: Worked as a as a probation officer in Wimborne Minster, Dorset before retiring.
14. John Hore: Managed Plymouth Argyle taking them to an FA Cup semi-final and then owned a fitness club with his wife in Exeter before retiring.
FRONT ROW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
15. Harry Holman: His father Harry played for Exeter and ran a family haulage business. Harry Jnr worked in the same industry.
16. Bobby Hodge: He was player coach at Clacton Town before returning to Devon and working as a carpenter.
17. Graham Weeks: He is team-mate Mike Jordan’s brother-in-law and has worked as a telecommunications engineer for British Telecom in the Exeter area.
18. Mike Green: A clerical officer for the MOD, Builders Merchant Supervisor and a careers officer, then an academic at Loughborough University until his death in February 2009.
19. Mike Jordan: A former self employed builder, for the last 12 years he has been contracts manager for Heavitree Brewery.
Lammie Robertson: He has worked as an independent financial advisor and scout for a number of clubs, including Sheffield United.
Forbes Phillipson-Masters: He became a painter and decorator and has now expanded the business and is involved in building and developing.
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