Top 5 Exeter City FC Players in History

Simon Wells
Authored by Simon Wells
Posted Thursday, June 27, 2024 - 10:18pm

Despite their storied history, Exeter City FC has never played above the third tier of English football. The Grecians are the club that has spent the most seasons in the third tier without ever advancing to the second tier. The club's only major title came in the 1989-90 season when Terry Cooper guided Exeter to the Fourth Division championship, marking a significant achievement in their long history.

Over the years, Exeter City has produced some outstanding players who have made a mark in higher leagues. These players brought glory to the club and drew considerable interest from local fans. The passion for Exeter City extends beyond just watching games, as many fans bet on their matches. For those looking to enhance their betting strategies, understanding bookmaker’s tactics for major football tournaments can provide valuable insights​

1. Tony Kellow

Tony Kellow is arguably the greatest player ever to wear the Exeter City shirt. The Cornish striker joined Exeter in 1976 and quickly became a fan favorite with his scoring prowess. Kellow's ability to find the back of the net was unrivaled, and he remains the club's all-time leading scorer with 129 goals. 

He was exceptional in the 1980-81 season, scoring 20 goals and leading Exeter to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, an unprecedented feat for the club​.

2. Alan Banks

Alan Banks was a key player for Exeter City during the 1960s and early 1970s. A prolific striker, Banks scored 101 goals for the club, making him the second-highest scorer in Exeter's history. 

His partnership with Ernie Wilkinson was particularly effective, and he played a crucial role in the club's promotion to the Third Division in 1964. Banks' dedication and consistent performances have made him a legend at St James Park.

3. Fred Whitlow

Fred Whitlow's contribution to Exeter City during the 1930s remains unparalleled. Whitlow was known for his incredible goal-scoring record, netting 72 goals in just 122 appearances. 

In the 1932-33 season, he scored 33 goals and remains among the best in the club's history. Whitlow's ability to score from seemingly impossible positions made him a nightmare for defenders and a hero for Exeter fans​.

4. Matt Grimes

A more contemporary player, Matt Grimes, has also left a significant mark on Exeter City. A product of the club's youth academy, Grimes debuted for the senior team in 2013 and quickly established himself as a midfield maestro. His exceptional vision and passing ability earned him the club's Player of the Season award in 2014. 

Grimes' performances caught the attention of Premier League clubs, and he was eventually signed by Swansea City. He continues to be an influential figure in English football, exemplifying the talent produced by Exeter's academy​.

5. Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins is another standout player who began his career at Exeter City. Joining the club's academy at a young age, Watkins developed into a versatile forward capable of playing in multiple attacking positions. His breakout season came in 2016-17, where he scored 16 goals and helped Exeter reach the League Two play-off final. 

Watkins' impressive performances earned him a move to Brentford and Aston Villa, where he has become a key player in the Premier League. 

Final Thoughts

Exeter City FC has a proud history of developing and nurturing talent, as seen in the careers of these five exceptional players. From the goal-scoring exploits of Tony Kellow and Alan Banks to the modern-day successes of Matt Grimes and Ollie Watkins, these players have left an indelible mark on the club. Their contributions have brought success to Exeter City and elevated the club's reputation within English football. 


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