Thursday, 19 January 2012

My First Oxford Match: Graham Deacon

Graham and Ollie with Matt Green
The next entry in our My First Oxford Match series comes from Graham Deacon, recalling his early experiences of the Manor in the late 60s and the rediscovery of his love for the club after taking his son Ollie to his first match. We're currently inviting contributions for this series, so if you'd like to share your memories of your first Oxford match, please email

My first experience of Oxford United came at the age of around three years old. My mother was recovering from an operation so my dad sent me, along with my older sister, to stay with my Uncle Bobbie, Auntie Eileen and my four grown up cousins, Robert, Brian, Celia and Eric. As residents of Northway, they lived in the old heartland of Oxford United and aside from spoiling and making a fuss of my sister and me, were avid followers of the newly promoted Third Division champions. My Uncle Bobbie and Auntie Eileen took me to my first match in the chilly months of the 1968/69 season. I can’t remember who we played or the score but I remember sitting for that first game, and it turns out it was my only time in the Beech Road Stand. I remember proudly throwing, at least twice, my newly acquired gold and black bobble hat as far as I could, only for it to be retrieved each time by my good humoured uncle!

As a footnote, at the age of 21, I was able as a season ticket holder, to treat my dad to the ‘nicer’ seats at Wembley for the Milk Cup Final. As kick off approached we noticed a couple of vacant seats next to us, which as the whistle blew were occupied by some fluke my now London resident cousin Brian and my Auntie Eileen.

Ollie with Jack Midson
My son Ollie’s first match, at the age of 5 years old, was the 2-1 win over Histon in 2009. It was also my first match in several seasons. The butterflies you get in the pit of the stomach when your team go a goal down soon returned, reminding me why I abstained for a while when ‘soon-to-be-hero’ Jack Midson lobbed Billy Turley from the left hand side of the 18 yard box. Ollie asked if we were allowed to like the ‘red’ team but soon shut up as I force fed him expensive toffee éclairs from the Kiosk in the stadium. He did well to enjoy his first experience but got bored and wanted to go home at half time. Luckily Beano got a late brace to turn the game on its head and father and son went home happy and returned a few weeks later for the Wrexham match and we’ve missed very few together since. Ollie has started his love affair with Oxford and due to him, I have rediscovered the up and down thrills of supporting the yellows again. 


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