The Only Way is Exeter – What Klopp and Liverpool need to know
The fixture list hasn’t been too kind to Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side, but tonight they head to the south-west for just the sixth-ever meeting with Exeter, so what do the former Dortmund boss and his Merseyside men need to know about this evening’s opponents?
From Brazil to spoon-bending board-members and hat-wearing managers, Exeter has pretty much seen it all in a history lasting almost 115 years.
So here’s everything Klopp and co need to know about their underdog hosts…
FA Cup pedigree
Exeter are no strangers to an FA Cup shock, and the then-Conference side held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in a thriller of a Third Round clash 11 years ago.
Admittedly United’s starting 11 that day included Jonathan Spector, David Bellion and Eric Djemba-Djemba, but still.
A draw. At Old Trafford. Even Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t break the resolute underdogs in the second-half.
Exeter have even reached the FA Cup last eight on two occasions. They did so most recently in 1981 after thumping Newcastle United 4-0 in the fifth round.
You just can’t beat it for famous fans at St James Park.
Celebrity spoon-bender Uri Gellar briefly became part of the board at Exeter in the early part of the 21st century, and somehow coerced Michael Jackson to famously pay a visit to the ground in 2002.
You are not alone at this club for well-known faces, with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, local favourite Joss Stone and TV’s omnipresent Noel Edmunds are claiming to support The Grecians.
Longest serving manager
A good pub quiz question this.
After Arsene Wenger, who is the longest-serving manager in the Football League?
Paul Tisdale, of course. Hat n’all.
Tisdale will be celebrating 10 years at the helm this summer, and in that spell has returned Exeter to the football league and taken them for a spell in League One too.
Exeter and Brazil go way back
En-route from a pre-season tour in Argentina in 1914 (we’re not sure why either) Exeter stopped off in Rio de Janeiro for a few days to play some regional sides.
Staying in Rio alone and not visiting Sao Paulo, the Brazilians were forced to select – selecao – their best players from each state, and thus forming the first match played by a Brazilian national side.
Selecao is still a term which resonates strongly with Brazil’s national team today, 102 years later, while Fluminense – who hosted that match – remain partner clubs with Exeter even now.
The first Englishman to referee a World Cup Final – George Reader in 1950 – played for City in 1920, while former Tottenham boss David Pleat also turned out for the Grecians in the late 1960s.
Lee Sharpe brought an end to his Football League career at St James Park in 2002, while Arsenal legend Cliff Bastin began his in Devon before being snapped up by the Gunners in 1929.
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