Friday, 20 January 2012

My First Oxford Match: Simon Atkinson

Our First Oxford Match series continues with some wonderful recollections from Simon Atkinson of early visits to the Manor in 1982. If, like Simon, you want to share your nostalgic memories of your first Oxford match, then please email

Oxford United 1-1 Chesterfield (27/03/82)

Then, as now, OUFC gave out free tickets to schools. I think our school got tickets because the Youth Team played there and a few of us showed up to cheer them on. We had four tickets in the Beech Road stand for the game against Chesterfield.

I wouldn't say the London Road was a wall of sound when we got there, but it certainly sounded vibrant and interesting. So much so that we decamped to watch the game from behind the goal rather than the staid old main stand. The London Road in those days had no left side or right side. And no fence at the front - just the moat.

I remember the fans singing the "Forever and Ever..." song they still sing today. They also sang a song called "Roy Bur-ton" in honour of their rather scruffy goalkeeper. And I recall they, slightly half-heartedly, sang "We won the Boat Race" in recognition of events earlier that day on the Thames.

I don't know whether I went there on that first game but I have fond memories of the shop under the London Road end which sold programmes, badges, scarves, flat caps etc.

Anyway, from then I was hooked. I went to another couple of games that season, which included a frustrating 0-0 home draw to Burnley. We followed the 3 Burnley coaches home (well until we turned off at Hopcroft's Holt anyway). I remember being in awe of how they were going to be on those buses ALL that way home. Burnley was much further from Oxford in those days, with the M40 petering out at Wheatley.

This was, from memory, the season when Robert Maxwell arrived to save the club. It was also the season when Oxford beat Swindon 5-0 at the Manor. I think Brock and Briggs and Shotton were in the team by this point, but would need to look that up.

Oxford were clearly an improving side by this point and of course this was the eve of the back-to-back promotion seasons, and so things got even better. And then of course they got gradually worse....


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