Another entry in our My First Oxford Match series, this time provided by Ed George. It's testament to his loyalty that he kept coming back, despite experiencing relegation in his first taste of Oxford United! If you'd like to contribute your own memories to us, you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oxford United 5-0 Stockport County (09/05/99)
The 1998-1999 season for Oxford was one to forget. Older U's fans may remember we were relegated to the English Division 1 (the Championship) after only needing to have gained another 3pts to stay up. It was a gloomy time in our history with the Kassam Stadium still being built, finances in a mess and a black cloud seemingly over the club's head (especially after nearly beating Chelsea at the Manor in the FA Cup!).
My First game was on 09/05/1999 - the last day of the season against a mid-table Stockport. We had no chance of promotion and the mood was grim. I was only 7 and I could see the faces of everyone sinking as many of them, still coming to terms with it all, began to think of life in Division 2.
I remember looking up at all the giant 'men in yellow' whilst holding my Dad's hand. Picking up our tickets and taking our seats in the sacred Manor Ground I had heard so much about. The opposition taunted us about relegation and many of our fans just took the abuse, too upset to come back. My Dad had told me that we weren't expected to win and "I'd be lucky to see Oxford score a goal". As per usual, my Dad's football predictions could not have been more wrong.
Oxford played their game of the season. Nearly 6000 U's fans packed the Manor expecting very little and to everyone's surprise, The U's put FIVE away against a shocked Stockport County. Players like Joey Beauchamp and Phil Gilchrist played the game of their lives and the atmosphere at the Manor suddenly for an instant lost its glum side and became one of optimism. "Division Two will be a breeze" joked my dad. Obviously, the history books proved once again my Dad's predictions are usually poor at best.
I would love to tell you more about the game, who scored and the response from the fans. But unfortunately these escape my memory. I was young!
The last thing I can remember after the match was my Dad's face as we left. It was sad. As a 7 year old who had just seen his first football game and a 5 - 0 drubbing, this confused me greatly. Obviously in hindsight I can see that the club was in deep trouble but at the time I couldn't understand. Hopefully in my lifetime we shall return to our former glory!