Matt Taylor leaves for Rotherham: What next for Exeter City?


Exeter City’s proudest moment in 13 years, promoted to League One once again after years of near-misses and could-have-been’s.

The streets of Exeter filled with celebrations as the Grecians partied long into the night despite a last-gasp loss to Port Vale at home earlier that day.

Although they had lost out on the title, they had already secured their promotion to League One following a 2-1 victory over Barrow two games earlier.

Matt Taylor had finally led his squad to the third tier after missing out in their 2019/20 campaign, a bitter defeat to Northampton Town in the play-offs final.

However, after a strong start to their jump to League One, Taylor has decided to go, leaving St James’ Park for The New York Stadium whilst replacing Paul Warne at Championship-side Rotherham United.

A change has been rumoured for some time now, as the ex-centre back’s managerial reputation has grown since he first became a manager in 2018.

President of the Exeter City Football Club Julian Tagg and chair of Exeter City Supporters’ Trust thanked Taylor for his time at the team, saying:

“Everybody at Exeter City is disappointed to lose Matt. He has been a fantastic manager for our club and will of course be rightfully recognised for taking the team to League One for the first time in ten years.

“Coming through the club firstly as a player, our under 23’s manager, and, ultimately our manager, he has understood the importance of our ownership model.”

So, what’s next for the club as they head into the third month of the season?

Firstly, they will have to find someone who knows the structure as well as Taylor. The 40-year-old made 160 appearances in the red and white stripes between 2007 and 2011, netting 17 goals during this period as well as steering the ship for the past four years.

Taylor’s assistant, Wayne Carlisle follows Taylor to Rotherham after three years as his assistant manager, leaving him out of contention for the job.

Currently, the ideal short-term candidate appears to be Kevin Nicholson, Exeter’s head of coaching since he joined them in August 2019. However, he has previously seen action as a manager when he headed National League-side Torquay United between 2015 and 2017.

The board at Exeter have placed both himself and coach Jon Hill in interim charge of the first team as they look around for a new manager.

The team sheet at St James’ Park may also see a shake-up following Taylor’s exit, with many key players seeing strong tenure’s under his leadership in recent seasons.

Jevani Brown’s recent success against Forest Green Rovers, snatching a hat-trick against last season’s League Two champions, could leave him as an ideal striker to join Rotherham, showing a good capability in front of goal against some of the best in League One.

It is yet to be seen how the squad will be affected by his departure, whether their League One campaign will continue to success or come tumbling down due to a huge loss in Taylor

However, whoever replaces Taylor will need to show strong form as they settle in or potentially find themselves overwhelmed in a competition filled with better-funded outfits compared to Exeter’s budget.

Whatever comes of this, fans will surely be backing their new manager as they once again hope to sing “we are going up” this summer.

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