Exeter City sign Ryan Woods on permanent deal

Exeter City sign Ryan Woods on permanent deal

Exeter City have re-signed Ryan Woods, this time on a permanent two-year deal. The midfielder enjoyed a successful loan spell at St James Park last season, making 14 appearances towards the end of the campaign.

Woods’ departure from Championship Hull City was confirmed on Monday, with Gary Caldwell quick to re-sign the 30-year-old. Woods played an instrumental part in City’s upturn in form in the second half of the season, winning plaudits from supporters, and will be a popular returning name amongst the Big Bank faithful - many of who called for his return to SJP on social media over the summer.

Even before last season, Woods is no stranger to League One, having spent the first half of this season on loan at Bristol Rovers, and arrives at SJP with well over 250 appearances in the Championship. The 30-year-old began his career with his hometown club Walsall before progressing through Shrewsbury's academy, before making over 100 appearances for Salop in both League One and Two.

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He earned a move to Brentford in 2015, reportedly for £1 million, and played all but 16 league games in his first three second-tier seasons. He's also featured for Stoke City, Millwall and Birmingham City before signing a three-year contract with Hull in August 2022, making 26 appearances for the Tigers in the 2022/23 season.

Woods made 16 appearances for Bristol Rovers in the first half of last season before his initial loan spell in Devon and is now delighted to be back. “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,” Ryan said on his return to SJP.

“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.”

Manager Gary Caldwell waxed lyrical about Woods’ return, emphasising the impact the midfielder had in the second half of the 2023/24 campaign. “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!” Gary 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.”