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Exeter City have been down in the English fourth tier going for six years now and even though the latest campaign has been more than just decent for them, their success over the years has rarely come from big-money signings.
With that said, it doesn’t really come as a big surprise to see that they’re simply not the biggest spenders around. There were, of course, a couple of recent arrivals that were definitely big for the club as a whole, but it’s also quite telling that it’s been nearly 30 years since they’ve last surpassed their transfer record.
The signing of Shaun Taylor from Swindon Town way back in the 1991/92 campaign for a club-record fee of £225,000 still sits on top of the mountain and is, if we’re being completely honest, likely to stay there for a while longer as well. And while the then 28-year-old defender is still to be dethroned ever since, the Grecians did come pretty close in the 2008/09 season.
And by close, we mean kind of close, of course. Marcus Stewart was signed from Yeovil Town for a reported fee of £99,000, which is still some way off the top-dog but still the closest they would ever get. The final place in the top three goes to Jayden Stockley whose services were acquired from Aberdeen FC in 2017/18 for a sum of £97,000.
But the transfers going the other way are way more impressive, much more expensive and even more importantly, still fairly recent. Matt Grimes went to Swansea City in 2014/15 for £2m and that deal remains their biggest piece of business in the history of the club.
Still, he wasn’t the only lucrative exit from the Grecians. In the 2017/18 season, Brentford came knocking and snatched Ollie Watkins away for a reported sum of £1.8m. One season after that, they also gave away Jordan Storey to Preston North End for £765,000.
Taylor’s signing was quite a big thing for the club considering the record sum that was forked out to get the defender into the squad. Luckily for them, he also ended up having quite a successful spell before his eventual departure for Bristol City some years down the line.
But it’s mostly the big and lucrative exits that have gotten the most attention throughout their history. Grimes, Watkins and Storey were all huge departures and needless to say, Exeter City made quite a profit and turned some heads with their transfers.
And there were also some other deals that ended up being quite successful. Like Jamie Cureton’s two spells or Daniel Nardiello who was signed from Blackpool, following his release in 2010, just to name a few.