EXETER CITY VIEWPOINT
It has been two weeks since the Grecians were last in competitive action and two weeks since the controversial incidents that occurred during the 2-2 home draw with Bury.
However, it was not a contentious refereeing decision that caused such furore, but the reactions to manager Paul Tisdale’s second-half substitutions with his Exeter City side trailing 2-1.
Tisdale decided to go to the preferred 3-4-3 formation that he has implemented several times this season with Exeter chasing a game and Danny Coles, who had not been at his best, was ironically cheered when his number was held up.
The next change was the one that really had people talking, though. David Wheeler, who had notched his first goal and performed well on the day, was replaced, leading to boos from certain sections of the home crowd and a chant aimed at Tisdale of: “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
Rightly or wrongly, the manager allegedly waved back at the Big Bank and clapped them, but the changes worked with Exeter salvaging a point, although it was an afternoon when they really needed all three.
Since then, Coles has taken to Twitter to vent his disappointment at the home “support” and the man accused of not knowing what he was doing came close to leaving the club and taking the managerial vacancy at Portsmouth. Ultimately, though, he was overlooked in favour of Richie Barker and Steve Coppell.
However, Tisdale was interviewed for the job and, along with Oxford United’s Chris Wilder, was down to the final three.
I have always maintained that Exeter City fans will not realise what impact Tisdale has had at St James’ Park until he has gone, nor will they ever appreciate the work he has done or the success he has had until his time has drawn to an end.
The fact that Tisdale splits support as much as he does really is quite staggering. It is hard to quantify exactly how much, but there is no denying the dissenters are vocal in their disapproval at the direction in which he is taking the club.
I am convinced they are home fans, as such negativity aimed at him and the team is almost unheard of at away games. While Tisdale’s time is being called into question, you can perhaps understand why the home fans are unhappy.
Attendances are down and the truth is that home form has not been good enough. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, City have won only 19 of their 53 league games at St James’ Park while losing 21.
The manager stated at times last season that it did not matter where it was you got your points, so long as the tally kept ticking over. But the longer City’s poor home record continues, the more that suggestion looks wrong because fans will not come and watch a team performing poorly and failing to get results. And that is why they are unhappy.
Tisdale has achieved many good things in his time at Exeter, but turning around the home record is his biggest challenge right now. Sort that and get the team playing well and hopefully those vocal dissenters will be back onside.