Saturday, 21 January 2012

My First Oxford Match: Gareth Brown

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who got my first taste of the mighty yellows that day in April 1996. In the latest of our 'My First Oxford Match' series, Gareth Brown reveals his first and only visit to the Manor Ground. As ever, your contributions to this series would be hugely appreciated, just write down your memories of your first match and email them to

Oxford United 1-0 Blackpool (06/04/96)

It's almost like a rite of passage, being taken to your first football game by your dad. We got the tickets from the club as I used to do Oxford United football courses at the Didcot Lesuire Centre. My dad wasn't an Oxford supporter, he was a Chelsea supporter from the Islington area, despite having Arsenal-supporting parents.

When we got to the Manor Ground, my dad was approached by stewards, asking how much he'd had to drink, obviously phishing for trouble-making fans. I remember going through a massive turnstile (or it was to me at the time).

I couldn't tell you which stand we were in, but we were almost in line with the halfway line and the Blackpool fans were on the stand to the right. It was a massive game at the time and both sets of fans were right up for it, especially with promotion at stake.

I don't remember much about the game itself, though I remember the goal and how fitting it was to come from my favourite player at the time, Joey Beauchamp. I remember him volleying the ball into the air and it dropping into the net with the keeper having no chance. I then remember the cheer that proceeded. It was a brilliant feeling, one I have yet to tire of. I have since seen the goal on Youtube and it's much better than I remember.

Sadly this was my first and only time at the Manor Ground. I remember bugging my parents for months to go to another game however I was unable to go until I started going with a friend in 2001 when Oxford United moved to the Kassam Stadium. I hate to miss games nowadays, especially at home. 


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