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The Grecians have been down in League Two for six years running now and even though 2019/20 has been more than just decent for the squad, their success over the years has rarely been founded on big-money signings.
For that reason, it doesn’t really come as a surprise to see that they’re simply not the spending types. Of course, there are a couple of fresh signings that were quite big for the club as a whole, but it’s also quite telling that it’s been almost 30 years since they’ve last broken their transfer record.
The purchase of Shaun Taylor from Swindon Town back in the 1991/92 season for a club-record fee of £225,000 still sits on the very peak of the mountain and is, quite frankly, likely it stays there for a while longer too. The then 28-year-old defender couldn’t be dethroned ever since but Exeter City did come pretty close in 2008/09.
And by pretty close, we mean kind of close. Marcus Stewart arrived from Yeovil Town for a sum of £99,000, still some way off Taylor but the closest they could get. The top three is then rounded off by Jayden Stockley whose services were acquired from Aberdeen FC in 2017/18 for £97,000.
But the situation is much more impressive and the transfers are more expensive and more recent when it comes to departures from the club. Matt Grimes was sold to Swansea City in 2014/15 for £2m and that deal remains the biggest piece of business the Grecians have ever done.
Still, he wasn’t the only expensive exit from Exeter City. In 2017/18, Brentford came knocking and ended up buying Ollie Watkins for a reported fee of £1.8m. A season after that, they also sold Jordan Storey to Preston North End for £765,000.
Taylor’s arrival to the club was quite a big thing considering the record sum that was splashed to get the defender into their ranks. And luckily for them, he ended up having quite a spell before his eventual departure for Bristol City some years down the road.
But it’s mostly the departures that have gotten the most heat throughout their history. Grimes, Watkins and Storey were all huge sales and the Grecians made quite a profit and ruffled some feathers with their exits.
And there were also some other transfers that turned out to be quite successful like Jamie Cureton’s two spells or Daniel Nardiello who was signed from Blackpool, following his release in 2010.