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You’re out of the FA Cup. So what better to do with that free Saturday in December than to bring forward a match due to be played on a cold Tuesday evening in March? So, with the agreement of out opponents, Burton Albion, the match was brought forward from 3rdMarch to 6th December. So far so good, but that left very little time to get all the usual sponsorships and hospitality sales in place. Step forward the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust with the suggestion of making it a ‘Supporters Sponsored match’.
The fans, who own the club through the Supporters’ Trust, responded in force and made the day a huge success. Supporters were asked to give a minimum of £5 in sponsorship and, in return, were entered in to a prize draw giving them the chance to choose the ‘Man of the Match’, be ‘Director for the Day’, or win a shirt signed by the entire Exeter squad, amongst other great prizes. In less than a week more than £3,400 was raised in sponsorship, with 50% of people generously donating more than the minimum. This easily covered what would normally be expected in sponsorship and with 84 places sold in hospitality; the outcome was positive all round.
The day of the match dawned crisp and bright, the two teams evenly matched ending in a 1-1 draw. Trustee and main mover on the initiative, Elaine Davis said ‘It was a fantastic, life-enhancing day and we would like to thank all the supporters and club staff who helped make it so special and such a success’. Following the match all those who had sponsored the match were invited on to the pitch for a group photo to mark a new Trust initiative and one that many supporters have suggested should become a yearly event. Though, hopefully next year, not in place of an FA Cup match.