A quick rundown of the 2008/09 Grecians.
As the season progresses, we`ll add more detailed profiles and images of every Exeter City player.
In the meantime, here`s an overview of the men who’ve led City’s return to the Football League.
1. Andy Marriott
City`s number one is, in all probability, likely to start the season as the second choice keeper. He played an important part in City`s 07/08 promotion campaign, but a couple of mistakes towards the season`s end saw Paul Jones step in and stay between the sticks all the way to Wembley. 36-year-old Marriott is one of the few names in the City squad recognisable to most fans of rival L2 clubs; a veteran of over 560 appearances boasting 5 Welsh caps and even an England Under 21 appearance
27. Paul Jones
Categorically not the former Welsh international, City`s Paul Jones joined from Orient just in time to feature in Exeter`s amazing 0-0 FA Cup draw at Old Trafford, a performance which won him the player of the round award. He`s just turned 22 and has played over 100 games, so very experienced for such a young keeper, but Jones knows that he`ll need to keep developing to be among L2`s best. He played just 13 games for City last season, but his clean sheet at Wembley saw City promoted.
00. Nick Jordan
Signed 48 before the start of the season from Portsmouth, 18-year-old Jordan developed at the Portsmouth academy where he trained alongside England keeper David James. He`s been deployed as an unused substitute by Harry Redknapp, but it`s unclear whether Jordan will see more action at Exeter.
2. Steve Tully
The 28-year-old Devonian is likeable, ebullient, speedy and committed to the cause. He was also virtually ever-present last season, making 43 appearances. However, you can`t help thinking that a wealthier club than Exeter might have brought in a potential first choice right back with a view to Tully becoming honest and dependable backup. He is sure, however, to be fired up and determined to succeed. With 106 Football League appearances to his name, Steve Tully is the only one of City`s promotion-winning back four to have played at a higher level than the Blue Square Premier.
3. George Friend
Now at Wolves, but we’ll leave him here for now. We wrote the following in pre-season; no wonder there was a bidding war! Still just 20-years-old, Friend is a solid, composed and reliable left back who has also played on the left side of a three man defence and at centre half. Going forward, Friend contributes with neat passing and good movement from deep positions rather than the electric pace and optimistic crosses more commonly seen from lower division full backs. He`s an Exeter City youth product who gives the impression of a man diligently learning his trade with a view to spending his prime years at a much higher level.
5. Danny Seaborne
Like Friend, centre-back Seaborne is also starting only his second season as a key first team player. At the age of 21, he is young for his position and very young for a club captain, but clearly thrives on the responsibility of both roles. In addition to solid defence, Seaborne uses the ball sensibly too, a vital element in Paul Tisdale`s game plan. The City youth product signed a contract extension this Summer, which will keep him at St James Park until 2010.
6. Matt Taylor
Set to experience his first League football at the age of 26, Matt Taylor is often compared to namesake and Exeter legend Shaun Taylor. Both came to the professional game a little later than most, both are rock solid in defence and both have the bravery and the aerial power to pose a serious goalscoring threat at set pieces. Taylor netted 11 times in Exeter`s promotion season. Amazingly, he began his semi-pro career as a goalkeeper with non league Burscough, keeping goal in their FA Trophy Final win against Tamworth. He joined City after spending a year at Team Bath, where he achieved a Diploma in Fitness Excellence.
11. Jack Obersteller
Recruited on a free transfer from Wycombe, for whom he never played a first team game, 19-year-old Obersteller offers cover for both left back and left midfield. He was a Millwall youth product, who played 13 Blue Square games for Grays last season, including a 2-0 defeat at home to City when he was substituted to make way for fellow Grecian Ben Watson.
15. Rob Edwards
Just two seasons into his Exeter career, Rob Edwards has already racked up more than 100 appearances and joined the ranks of Grecian Legends by playing every game of the 07/08 promotion campaign, culminating in a play-off winning goal at Wembley. He joined City from Blackpool as a central defender, but, although continuing to provide defensive cover, switched last season to directing operations from the centre of midfield. At the age of 35, Edwards is likely to make his 700th appearance before Christmas, almost 500 of which have been in the Football League. The former Welsh international and model pro also assists manager Paul Tisdale with coaching duties.
4. Matt Gill
Gill made his debut as a 17-year-old for Peterborough, and went on to play a further 206 Football League games for Posh and Notts County before dropping into the Conference to join City. He`s essentially a midfield enforcer with a good engine, dependable touch and an eye for a pass, and, having forced his way back to the League at the age of 27, Gill will be desperate to prove he can make the step back up to League Two. Paul Tisdale has already issued his former skipper with one challenge, to improve on last season`s tally of 3 goals.
8. Emmanuel ‘Manny` Panther
Panther was born in Glasgow and played 46 games north of the border for St Johnstone, Partick and Brechin City. He joined York in 2005, and spent three seasons with the Minstermen, always looking powerful and effective against the Grecians. He doesn`t seem to have played his way during pre-season into Paul Tisdale`s starting eleven, but his physical presence and no nonsense approach certainly make him a very useful option to have on the bench.
7. Ryan Harley
Having been released by Bristol City, Harley was signed from Weston-super-Mare midway through last season. His measured passing is widely regarded as the final piece in the jigsaw assembled by Paul Tisdale, since City usually looked a good deal more creative and composed with Harley in midfield. As if to prove the point, he came off the bench in last season`s play-off second leg at Torquay to score the goal that sparked Exeter`s dramatic comeback and ultimately led to Wembley and promotion.
21. Dean Moxey
At the grand old age of 22, Deano is the longest serving player at the club. He was still five months short of his 18th birthday when, in October 2003, he made his City debut as a substitute at Accrington Stanley. Initially a left back, he developed into a left sided midfielder and is increasingly regarded as a genuine attacking left winger. With over 150 appearances to his name, Moxey signed a new contract over the Summer, but an injury on England ‘C` duty left him sidelined throughout the pre-season period.
22. Liam Sercombe
On the opening day of last season, Liam Sercombe made his City debut in a 4-1 win at Altrincham, and there was talk of the youngster cementing a position as a first team regular. However, he was injured in the very next game, and only made a total of seven appearances, a number of which were as a very effective right back. Sercombe was born in Exeter on 25 April 1990; the very day that City beat Southend to secure promotion to what`s now League One.
18. Neil Saunders
Having missed all of last season through injury, Saunders has again struggled with knee problems during pre-season. A Watford youth product who joined City after an exceptional 2006/07 season at Team Bath, Saunders has played 14 minutes of Conference football while on loan at Barnet. Ever ready to keep the faith, he`s regarded by quite a few City supporters as a potential League Two star for the Grecians, if only we can get him fit.
16. Marcus Stewart
By a huge margin, Marcus Stewart was City`s biggest signing of the summer, having been prised away from Yeovil Town where he`d been hailed their 2007/08 player of the season. He`s a fine attacking header of the ball who showed in pre-season that his first touch is still near-perfect. Stewart played much of last season in midfield for Yeovil, but his main role for City could well be as a forward in a 4-3-3- formation. With 242 goals to his name, have Exeter City ever had a greater goalscorer on our books?
20. Richard Logan
Last season`s top scorer with 19 goals, Logie is another former Ipswich man whose five sub appearances are perhaps not so well remembered as Stewart`s time at Portman Road! At the age of 25, City are Logan`s fifth club, although he has also turned out in brief loan spells at four others. As a big man with good feet, an eye for goal, League experience and increasingly a willingness to work for the team, Logan could be a key player for Exeter City.
9. Adam Stansfield
Devon lad Stansfield is the man who all City fans truly want to see succeed. His strike ratio is no better than one goal in every four games, but his extraordinary work-rate and appetite for running the hard yards has earned his enormous respect from the Grecian faithful. Turning 30 in September and back in League Two – a level he`s played at before with Yeovil – this season is a massive opportunity for Stansfield to prove his quality.
12. Steve Basham
Injury has hampered his time at Exeter, but Bash still played over 30 games last season, about half of them as a substitute. His greatest asset is his link-up play, and, like Marcus Stewart, the 4-3-3 formation could be made for him. Although occasionally described as a veteran, Basham is still only 30 and, having looked fit and lively in pre-season, he seems in good shape to play a major role this season.
10. Craig McAllister
A somewhat uninspiring signing, having drifted in the previous year from Woking to Oxford via Grays and Rushden, McAllister nonetheless showed in pre-season that he might have the braun and the brain to prove an effective targetman. Statto types will be interested to note that Oxford picked up 34 points from the 17 games in which McAllister played last season – good enough form, if applied across a season, to mount a serious title challenge.
19. Ben Watson
Sixth in line for a starting place up front, and by far the least experienced of City`s attacking options, it would seem logical for nippy striker Watson to go out on loan. The 22-year-old made 11 of his dozen City appearances last season from the bench, and showed cast iron nerves to tuck away a play-off penalty at Plainmoor.