As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, one aspect of the lockdown has been the coming together of families and friends during the crisis. But, this camaraderie has transcended not just households, but football clubs too. As clubs up and down the country gear themselves up for the business end of the season, those at the bottom end of the Football League have been speaking out about the financial dangers that suspending the season has had.
One such club is that of Exeter City. One of the sides that have qualified for the League Two play-offs – with the rest of the season coming to an end as it stands – Exeter are currently 2/1 favourites to beat Colchester United on their own ground on June 18. In fact, with both teams scoring over 50 goals this season, it’s worth following btts and win tips ahead of their clash as it’s likely to have everything a good playoff tie should have.
Pandemic causing an economic hole
Whilst on the field the Grecians are a force to be reckoned with in the last tier of the Football League, off the field, the situation has been bleak in recent months with the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent suspension of all sporting activities playing havoc with clubs’ finances.
Chairman Julian Tagg recently appealed for members and supporters to make donations, not to claim for refunds on season tickets, advanced ticket sales and even the Plymouth Argyle away tickets. With Exeter City Supporters’ Trust’s chairman Nick Hawker in tow, the duo pulled on fans’ heartstrings which has led to an unbelievable response ahead of the Sky Bet League Two playoffs.
Exeter fans can hold their heads up high
Incredibly, donations from the Plymouth Argyle tickets came to £3,896 as season ticket donations accrued an extra £16,817.50 as fans scrambled around for extra change in order to keep their club’s head above water. At a time when their own finances may not be as secure as they once were, it is extraordinary, if not very surprising, to see such a dedication to their own club.
How the playoffs were calculated
With the rest of the season cancelled, the remaining playoff spots were determined on a points-per-game system which saw Exeter drop from fourth to fifth. The Grecians travel to Essex on Thursday, June 18 before the return leg on Monday, June 22. If they progress through the semi-final, City will play at Wembley on Monday, June 29 with the chance to join League One at stake.
And, with such belief and pride in their team and club, fans will be dreaming of making the third tier of English football. Priced at just 2/1, City are clear favourites to be joining Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle in League One next season.