Ryan Woods says rejoining Exeter City was an easy decision (2024)

RYAN Woods says it was an “easy decision” to rejoin Exeter City after having his contract terminated by Championship side Hull City earlier this week.

The 30-year-old midfield playmaker enjoyed a superb loan spell with the Grecians last season, featuring 14 times after joining in a loan deal at the end of the January transfer window. The Grecians won eight of those games and lost just twice, which underlines how effective he was during his short stay in Devon.

Even a red card in the penultimate game of the season – a 2-1 win at Northampton Town – could not spoil such a productive spell which saw Woods fall back in love with the game after a difficult few years.

Read More - Exeter City sign Ryan Woods on permanent deal

Read More - Exeter City sign striker Jay Bird on a one-year contract

On returning to Hull, where he was not wanted, from his loan spell with City, Woods agreed a settlement on his contract, which was announced on Monday. Within 24 hours, he was back with a club that values him so highly, penning a two-year deal to stay.

“This was such an easy decision and the desire the club showed wanting me to come back, and the desire I showed in wanting to come back – it was so easy in the end,” Woods said.

“I have spoken before about the enjoyment factor I had last season - I hadn’t had that in such a long time – and my performance I think represented that on the pitch.

“When I settled my love for football came back and if I’m honest the season ended too soon for me, I have really just been wanting this to happen because I couldn’t wait to come back.”

Ryan Woods says rejoining Exeter City was an easy decision (1)

Having started his career in the Academy at Walsall, Woods joined Shrewsbury Town, where he was to make his debut and go on to make over 100 appearances for the club. His performances earned him a £1 million move to Brentford, where he racked up 128 appearances.

After a successful loan spell with Stoke City, the move was made permanent where he made a further 39 appearances, while he also had two loan spells at Millwall. But Woods joined Hull in the summer of 2022, making 27 appearances before he joined Bristol Rovers on loan at the start of last season.

That move failed to work out when Rovers sacked Joey Barton and replaced him with Matt Taylor and when January came around, boss Gary Caldwell moved quickly for a player he was keen to sign last summer.

Now, he has Woods for the next two years – and the City chief could not have been happier to land what he called his number one summer target.

“Woodsy was our number one target of the summer. I remember at Port Vale at the end of last season I grabbed him and shouted ‘one more year’ for him, and fortunately we’ve got him for a bit longer!” Caldwell said.

“I am delighted to bring him in. He’s such a big character and someone who understands what it takes to be successful at a higher level, and I think we all saw last year the change in not only the results but the way in which we controlled games, got the team playing, and he really understood the pace of the game.

“Most importantly he is delighted to be here, and he was only ever going to come back here after everything was sorted with Hull.”

Woods was not the only new arrival at St James Park yesterday with young striker Jay Bird signing a one-year deal earlier in the day.

The 23-year-old joins on a one-year deal, with the option of a second, after being spotted by Grecians’ scout Malcolm Crosby whilst playing for Scottish Championship side Arbroath last season, where he made 40 appearances in all competitions, scoring ten goals.

Bird is a free agent, after leaving Arbroath following their relegation from the Championship, but Caldwell is mindful that the Grecians are signing a player with potential and not the end product.

“Jay is someone that Malcolm Crosby spotted and I knew coaches at Arbroath that mentioned to me his quality and potential,” Caldwell said.

“He is someone we need to be patient with allow time to integrate with the squad, and improve physically and get used to the different loads we are putting through his body over the next few weeks.

“We see a massive future for him, but I’d ask the supporters to be a little more patient with him.”

Ryan Woods says rejoining Exeter City was an easy decision (3)

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Having joined the Academy of his hometown club, Milton Keynes, Bird made only six appearances for the club, scoring three times, before he was released in the summer of 2022. He also had an eight-game loan spell with Wealdstone prior to leaving Stadium MK, but after his release, he joined Dagenham & Redbridge.

Bird struck twice in 14 games for the Daggers before he headed north of the border and joined Arbroath at the start of last season, but the opportunity to return south and join the Grecians was too good to turn down for the young striker.

“It feels like it’s taken a long time, but it’s good to be here,” Jay said. “I have been here since last week training and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I am so ready to get started and kick on!

“Seeing the names on the training ground wall of who has come through the academy, and myself coming through at MK Dons, they are so important and it attracted me to the club that there is a pathway you are able to pursue.

“The manager was very straightforward with me and told me the best man with play, and I really like managers like that.”

The addition of Bird certainly adds more options to Caldwell’s attack following the recent acquisition of Josh Magennis, who signed after his release from Wigan Athletic.

The Northern Ireland international also penned a one-year deal with the Grecians and with Millenic Alli and Sonny Cox already at the club, Caldwell will no doubt be pleased to have four strikers already signed ahead of the new season.

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Ryan Woods says rejoining Exeter City was an easy decision (2024)
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