The Chattanooga Football Club spotlighted an unlikely entity during their Thursday “Owner of the Week” twitter post. The Scenic City’s blue-clad and community-owned team revealed another shareholder, this time a team from across the eastward ocean.
The Exeter City Football Club, the aptly-named team from Exeter, England, plays in League Two of the English soccer pyramid. Nicknamed “the Grecians,” Exeter City FC was in fourth place out of 24 in the league before the season was put on hold due to COVID-19. During CFC’s 2019 ownership campaign, the club reached out to different people who might be interested in supporting the club.
“Staff member Peter Woolcock was already a member of his hometown team Exeter City, and their Supporters Trust,” said CFC Managing Director Jeremy Alumbaugh via email.
“Peter reached out to then-Trust Chairman Martin Weiler. The ECFC Supporters Trust made a purchase during the CFC Ownership Campaign.”
Alumbaugh emphasized the fact that the club Exeter City FC did not have an ownership stake in the club. Rather it is the Supporters Trust who made the purchase. While CFC does not disclose the number of shares a shareholder purchased during the ownership campaign, Exeter City’s Supporter Trust confirmed they bought a single share.
“Supporter and Community ownership works! We were absolutely delighted when we were approached and we do look out for your results,” said an Exeter City statement on the CFC Twitter page. “Maybe we’ll get to play one another one day!! Congratulations on your success. We wish you and your community many years of good memories. As we’d say in the UK… ‘Come on you blues!!!!’”
Like the Chattanooga Football Club, Exeter City FC is owned in the majority by fans, with supporters owning over half of the voting shares in Exeter City. This is according to the ECFC website in 2015. Exeter City FC Supporters Trust Chairman Nick Hawker explained why the Supporters Trust invested in Chattanooga’s oldest soccer team.
“The investment was a single share and a gesture of ‘solidarity’, more than anything else,” said Mr. Hawker. “In the UK, football clubs are embedded in the communities in which they reside, owners are (for many) mere custodians of a representation of that community.”
CFC’s spring season has been cancelled, but according to the team, players will hopefully resume training in late-May. From there, the league is attempting to bring together a summer tournament that will hopefully bring four to six matches to Finley Stadium. After that, a Fall season is planned to run from late-August into November.
When asked if a friendly between CFC and Exeter City may happen in the future, Alumbaugh had a very simple answer.
“We would never rule it out.”