“What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city. It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”—
An article on the Exeter City website caught my eye yesterday and got me scrabbling through the numerous shoe boxes in which I keep my collection of football programmes looking for my copy of Exeter City’s centenary brochure of 2004. As you can see they played a Brazil Masters XI, what a coup by Exeter City to get this team, including the likes of Careca, Dunga and Jorginho and officially sanctioned by the CBF, to travel over from Brazil especially for this game. Marvellous stuff, but why? Why would the greatest football nation on the planet take time to put an all-star team together and send them to play a lower-league English football club?