The Story of Exeter's St James Park - Land of Grecian Glory
Once a humble field used for fattening pigs, this site has seen extraordinary things from murder and menageries to circuses and celebrities.
Aidan Hamilton traces the land’s ownership from its scandalous aristocratic origins in the seventeenth century through to its role as home to Supporters’ Trust-owned Exeter City Football Club in the twenty-first century.
This book commemorates the 125th anniversary of the first association-football match ever played at St James’ Park in 1894, a ground that has also hosted cricket, rugby, athletics, cycling, boxing, baseball and American football.
At the turn of the century, football was booming in this former rugby stronghold but there were substantial setbacks to the club’s ambitions including two world wars; a devastating fire that destroyed the original grandstand; and the death of former manager Arthur Chadwick in the newly rebuilt stand.
There were good times too: hard-earned promotions; historic FA Cup giant killings; and visiting international superstars, as well as continual ground improvements over the decades, making it safer than ever before.
To this day, Exeter City and its stadium remain constant threads throughout the remarkable social and economic changes both in football and wider society that are charted in this book.
About the author:
Aidan Hamilton was born in Taunton. As a 13-year-old, over Easter 1971, he travelled down by train to watch two games at St James’ Park, both 0-0 draws. In the mid-1990s, he wrote his first articles for the Exeter City programme, and he joined the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust in 2004. An advisor to the Trust’s History Group and a trustee of the Exeter City Football Club Museum Trust, he is the author of Have You Ever Played Brazil? The Story of Exeter City’s 1914 Tour to South America (2014). He has taught English in Brazil, China, and France, where he currently lives.