Noel Blake

Noel Blake was born in Jamaica but began his football career with Sutton Coldfield Town before joining Aston Villa in 1979. A central defender, he made four appearances for Villa before joining Birmingham, via a spell on loan at Shrewsbury.

In 1984 he moved to Portsmouth for £150,000, signing for Leeds four years later. Stoke was his next port of call, before a move to Bradford and then to Scotland with Dundee United.

In 1995 he returned to the south of England to join Exeter, becoming assistant manager under Peter Fox. He continued to play, though his appearances were limited, and was appointed caretaker manager in January 2000 following Fox's departure before being given the job on a permanent basis in May.

Blake managed to keep The Grecians in the league as they finished five points clear of bottom placed Chester.

The following season saw another battle for survival as former Tottenham midfielder Steve Perryman, recently returned from coaching in Japan, assisted Blake.

Once again Blake kept the club in the league but another disappointing start to the season in 2001/2002, which saw Exeter at the bottom of the Nationwide League, led to his dismissal in late September.

Grecians' chairman Ivor Doble was full of praise for Blake, who he feels still has far to go in the game.

"Noel has been with Exeter City for seven years, first as a player and assistant manager and, since January 2000, as manager," he said.

"In all aspects of his playing and managerial roles, he has given total commitment to the Grecians.

"Noel has achieved much in his professional life and, clearly, will achieve much more in the years ahead.

Everyone at Exeter City is very sad about Noel's departure. We wish him and his family success and happiness for the future."

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