Grecians 2002

Obviously it is welcome news that the problem with Exeter City's players pay-packets has been solved. Now the team can settle down to the drama of staying in the middle of the Third Division. Nevertheless, I think that there may well have been a number of other solutions to the pay problem. It really is time that our local football moguls came up with some more imaginative ideas.

For instance, does the club really need to own so many players? Is such a sizeable squad actually required? In my view, they could get by with five players, perhaps six. These players would require certain physical proportions, and I'm afraid that none of the current team would fit the bill, but that's foot-biz.

What I'm suggesting is the purchase of five very large lads - tall, broad, and possibly possessed of tremendous flab. Their job would be to block the goalmouth entirely. It might take a bit of masochism, having to deflect shots for ninety minutes, and there would certainly be no way of springing the offside trap, but a keen eye on the opposition should ensure a clean sheet, and a series of exciting goalless draws should be more than enough to ensure that City finished well away from the relegation zone.

With only five (or six) players on the books, the wages bill would go down dramatically. Now you may argue that opposition teams might start adopting the same tactics, but just think about that for a moment, will you? The result would be exactly the same.

Of course, experts will be thinking that I've missed the obvious - that the FA would not allow Exeter City to field a team of only five (or six) individuals. I've thought of that. What an opportunity there would be to fill the remaining five (or six) places in the squad! Or even fill the seats on the bench! There are many, many supporters would give their right eye teeth, and possibly their season tickets, to be able to play for City. It's not just that it would cost the club nothing. It could be a tremendous source of income for the club as well, with queues forming early outside St. James' Park for the chance to wear the red-and-white. Away fixtures would be no problem either. There are supporters who would happily pay for - even buy the coaches, if they felt they'd get a good kick-about at the end of the trip. Besides, have you been to Carlisle? The shopping's good.

There might be a weekly lottery to see who would play. Or perhaps it is more sensible to think of the spin-offs - having your photo taken by the Express And Echo (very reasonable rates), with the club taking a percentage (negotiable. Ed.) We could have a birthday player. Or a celebrity player, like Will Young (WILL TO SCORE, THE CITY WILL, EXETER WILL WIN - great headlines). Or, let's face it, we could get Ivor Doble togged up and racing around. The marketing possibilities are endless. Local schools would have an allocation, ensuring Exeter City went into the record books as fielding the youngest player ever in the Football League.

I am also sure you are familiar with the phrase 'Football's a funny old game'. It's probably in the Oxford Book Of Quotations. Not to mention the Dagenham and Redbridge Book Of Quotations. With so many of the opposing teams lining up in the penalty area to take a pot-shot at our immovable giants, it wouldn't be long before a careless opposition goalkeeper was lured to the wrong end of the pitch, at which point the Exeter Volunteer Six (or Five) might very well score at the far end. More points! It is amazing nobody has thought of this before.

One other idea I had was to Pay The Players In Beer.

Beer has many fine properties, far above the value of money. And it also has a very nice Pecorama.

From Express and Echo