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Roger Peek Memories


1963 - 1967


Before describing the Football Club in the early sixties a quick bit of history to give some context. I applied to Exeter in 1962 to start in the academic year 1963/64. This was the first year that UCCA existed; you put down 4 Universities with a fifth reserve. Before that one made individual applications to all 17 Universities (excluding Oxford, Cambridge, London & the Scottish Universities); if you lived in the South East and were struggling to get a place then you applied in descending order to Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth. Exeter was the last of the old University Colleges of London to get its charter in 1956 and become a university in its own right. Leicester, Southampton, Nottingham, and Keele all gained their charters a few years before Exeter.

Universities were also of course a lot smaller. In 1963 there were 2,000 students at Exeter and by the time I left in 1967 there were 3,000. Possibly because Arts subjects were stronger, the male/female ratio was approximately 50/50 which was one of Exeter’s attractions c.f. Birmingham where the ratio was roughly 7:1.

The UAU (Universities Athletic Union)  was divided into four divisions : North comprising Durham (which at the time included Newcastle), Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool & Leeds; South comprising Southampton, Bristol, Exeter & Reading; Midland comprising Birmingham, Keele, Nottingham & Leicester; and Welsh comprising Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor & Aberystwyth. This all meant that if you won your division you were automatically in the Semi Final.

In 1963/64 the first team duly won the South division and so reached the Semi Final where we were drawn at home to Sheffield; unfortunately Exeter lost 4 - 1.

The 4 - 2 - 4 formation hadn’t yet become established in England, so in those days we played what was known as a W M formation ie 2 fullbacks, 3 half backs, 5 forwards with 2 wingers. In fact it was more like  4 - 2 - 4 as one half back tended to be more defensive, and one more attacking; whilst the two inside forwards also tended to be one more defensive, usually a skilful ball player, and the other inside forward more attacking alongside the centre forward.

The team in 1963/64 did not include any freshers and was  :

  • Goalkeeper : Derek Shaw?? : 3rd Year
  • Right Back Fred Lendon : 2nd year Maths
  • Left Back : Phil Rawlings : 3rd year
  • Right Half : Brian (Gus) Guscott - Captain : 2nd year PhD Physics
  • Centre Half : Dave Hawkins - Vice Captain : 3rd year
  • Left Half : Bob Galois - Team Secretary : 2nd Year Geography
  • Outside Right  : Paul Burns : 2nd year Maths
  • Inside Right : ??
  • Centre Forward : Bob Kelly : 3rd year
  • Inside Left : Alan Bacon ( from Bristol doing Ed Year)
  • Outside Left  : Dai Shepherd : 3rd year

At the time Bob Kelly’s girlfriend was Rosemary Dinneage; she distinguished herself as possibly the only Exeter graduate to appear as the centrefold of Playboy Magazine in October 1964 (wisely after she had graduated). She was renamed by Playboy as Rosemary Hillcrest which was fairly appropriate and filmed walking through the “University grounds “ which actually were the precincts of the cathedral. Sadly my memorabilia does not include this issue of Playboy Magazine.

Fresher Trials

As a fresher you went to the Freshers Fair which was held in the Union building; the Rowing club were keen to sign me up as a cox being a short gobby individual but I knew I wanted to play Soccer so signed up for the Fresher trials on the first Thursday. From these trials about 4 were selected for the 2nd team : Pete Thackray ( Inside Right) , Martin Jarvis (Left half), Harry Grey (inside forward) and Roger Peek (Right Back), but none good enough for the first team.

The 2nd team played I think in the local Exeter league. This contained  a lot of village teams who inevitably had at least one set of brothers in the team.

If you fouled one, retribution came from the other brother. My first match for the second team was at Gras Lawn (now a housing estate) against Feniton; we lost 4 - 2 and their left winger scored two goals, but I survived to play the rest of the season for the second team.

At this time Michael Parkinson wrote a column in the Sunday Times where  he wrote about his heroes from Barnsley -  I remember him writing about a Skinner Normanton, a left half in the Ron Harris/Norman Hunter mould, but less benign.

Well Peter Thackray was out of this era - a skinny, ball playing inside forward with fairly lank, slightly greasy hair, socks round his ankles, very white legs,  and always had a fag at half time. He was though a master penalty taker. He always shaped to put the ball into the left hand corner but put it into the right hand corner usually with the goalkeeper transfixed on his goal line. I played with him for 4 years and I still thought every time the ball was going to the left hand corner!!

I think a few years after leaving Exeter he went to Oxford for a Post Grad course, got a blue at cricket but had to cut his hair  before playing at Lords!

In the summer vacation in 1964 Martin Jarvis went to Switzerland for mountain climbing and sadly died  on the mountain as  a result of  an accident.

At this time the University and St Lukes were entirely separate and big rivals. At soccer, in  a good year, we managed to draw with St Lukes. To put this in context one of the St Lukes team was Alan Pinkney who went on to play for Crystal Palace.

Also to give some perspective the University rugby team also played St Lukes; however the University first team played the St Lukes extra Wednesday fifteen and still lost convincingly. Again to give some context, at this time St Lukes included amongst their students Dick Uzzell; he went home mid week to play for Newport vs The All Blacks and managed to drop kick the winner with Newport inflicting a rare defeat (3 - 0) on the touring All Blacks. The St Lukes first rugby team was full of either international, regional or county players. I went to watch South Western Counties vs The All Blacks who included Colin Meads. By today's standards he was not that big but at the time he looked a giant and  it seemed as though it took at least 3 South West County players to stop him.


At the start of the academic year we went back a week early for pre-season training which was conducted by an FA Staff coach for the South West. He was very good and gave us good routines for corners, free kicks etc. This was the only professional help that we had. Training was organised by the Captain on a Monday and Thursday evening. It was just for fitness and mainly consisted of doing shuttle runs up and down the car park outside Devonshire House. If there was no match on a Wednesday then we might have more football related training on the pitch at top field.

This year again there were no freshers good enough to get into the first team which was :

  • Goalkeeper : John Lowth : 3rd year Maths
  • Right Back : Roger Peek - Team secretary : 2nd Year Maths
  • Left Back : Barry Howlett : 1st year PhD Chemistry
  • Right Half : Fred Lendon - Vice Captain : 3rd Year Maths
  • Centre Half : Alan Davidson : 2nd year Law
  • Left Half : Bob Galois - Captain : 3rd year Geography
  • Outside Right : Paul Burns : 3rd Year Maths
  • Inside Right : Pete Thackray : 2nd Year
  • Centre Forward : Pete Dawes : 2nd year PhD Geology
  • Inside Left : Ian Manson : 3rd Year
  • Outside Left : Pete Wilkinson : 2nd Year German
  • Reserve : Ron Ball

Our first game of the season was against HMS Raleigh; a Royal Navy training establishment. First game nerves but we needn’t have worried as we won 17 - 0!!

First team games were most importantly the UAU fixtures against Bristol, Southampton, Reading and this year included Battersea College of Technology, soon to become Brunel University.

We won 4 but lost convincingly to Southampton at home and so came second in the Southern Division. This despite a prolific goal scoring season from Ian Manson.

The next year one of Harold Wilson’s 7 ”new” universities, University of Sussex, joined the group.

Apart from the UAU games we played a series of “friendlies” against other Universities, Colleges and military establishments.We had fixtures against Birmingham, and Cardiff Universities, Imperial College, Kings College London, King Alfreds College, Winchester, St Pauls College Cheltenham. The military establishments included RAF Chivenor, RAF Locking, BRNC Dartmouth (with their supporters shouting “ keep it on the deck”), RNEC Manadon, and RM Lympstone.

In those days a UAU fixture involved all teams travelling together to play men's and women's fixtures on the same day. So we left Exeter with 5 coaches  to travel to Reading, Bristol, Southampton &  Brighton for the new Sussex University. Four of the coaches returned at 5 or 6pm with one late coach leaving at 10 or 11pm for the dedicated drinkers - usually the Football and Rugby players.

We did however play the occasional  friendly against Exeter City. When we went to watch them at St James’s Park we didn’t think they were very good. Once we played them we soon realised that they were different class. They had an ageing, mid thirties, bald headed midfielder called Arnold Mitchell; he never seemed to move but somehow was always available to get the ball in space.

The first time we played them it was a Thursday as a warm up for the weekend. Their left winger was Jeff Tolchard, part of a famous West Country sporting family; his brother Roger played cricket for Leicestershire. Next day The Express & Echo reported that after a friendly match in which Jeff Tolchard excelled he would be playing on the Saturday. The University right back obviously made him look good…

Next time we played them they had an excellent goal scorer in their team - Alan Banks; the score was another drubbing about 8 -1 but Alan Banks took the ball round the goalkeeper and rolled the ball towards the empty goal, only for the right back to anticipate this and slide in to put the ball out for a corner. Alan Banks said “ well played full back”…..

The year was notable for the first appearance of The Who in the Union building. The social secretary, Mike Mutter, had apparently been scouring the London clubs in the summer vac, saw The Who and booked them (for £80!!) when they were unknown. By the time they played at Exeter in November 1964 they had their first hit in the charts - “I Cant Explain”. The group was different from anything else that had previously appeared. Walking up to the Union building (Devonshire House) they were playing, and it seemed the whole building was shaking with the noise. In those days no minders, no security men etc so when you went to the Gents there were The Who also having a pee. They were also notable for Keith Moon throwing his drums at the crowded audience and Pete Townshend smashing the amplifiers with his guitar creating huge feedback.


Pre  Season training was taken by John Newman of Plymouth Argyle fame.

The main memory from this was advice to “get your elbows well up” when you jump to head the ball.

This year saw the arrival of several Freshers who were good enough to get straight into the first team, including David Watts, John Garvey and Barry Mead

The team was :

  • Goalkeeper : Pete Oldham : 2nd year
  • Right Back : Roger Peek - Vice Captain : 3rd year Maths
  • Left Back : Barry Howlett - Captain : 2nd year PhD Chemistry
  • Right Half : David Watts : 1st year Maths
  • Centre Half :Alan Davidson : 3rd year Law
  • Left Half : Bob Galois : 4th Ed year
  • Outside Right : Peter White : 1st year
  • Inside Right : Pete Thackray : 3rd year
  • Centre Forward : John Garvey : 1st  year Maths
  • Inside Left : Ian Manson : Post Grad Diploma
  • Outside Left : Barry Mead : 1st year Economics
  • Reserve : Ron Ball

Roger Peek was injured in the Freshers trial and so played only the second half of the season.

The most notable name here was David Watts. He had gone to the same school as Ray Davies of The Kinks fame. If you have a copy of the Kinks CD - The Very Best of the Kinks - you’ll find track 18 entitled David Watts, about a boy at his school who was good at everything. Captain of football, captain of cricket etc  - that was our David Watts!!

With this influx of talented freshers we were hopeful of winning the Southern UAU but sadly still fell short, winning 4 (Bristol, Battersea CAT, Sussex, Bath CAT) and losing 2 (Reading, Southampton).


  • Goalkeeper : Colin Appleby : 1st year Maths
  • Right Back : Roger Peek : 4th year  Statistics MSc
  • Left Back : John Coventry : 1st year
  • Right Half : Graham Eyles : 2nd year
  • Centre Half : David Watts : Captain : 2nd year Maths
  • Left Half : Mickey Clarkson : 1st year
  • Outside Right : Crawford Gordon : 1st year
  • Inside Right : Pete Thackray : Ed year
  • Centre Forward : John Garvey : Vice Captain : 2nd year Maths
  • Inside Left : Brian Dyer : 2nd year
  • Outside Left : Peter White : 2nd year
  • Reserves : Barry Mead; Geoff Cull; Giles Phillips

Another year where we had  some talented freshers including an excellent goalkeeper in Colin Appleby, a spirited left back in John Coventry, a skilful left half in Mickey Clarkson and a very hard working right winger in Crawford Gordon who helped to cover the deficiencies of the right back. However yet again we fell short and weren’t able to win the Southern UAU.

A feeling of not quite good enough or perhaps not quite fulfilled potential; whatever, it was disappointing from 1964/65 to 1966/67 not to repeat the success of the 1963/64 team.


- Roger Peek