Thursday, 26 January 2012

My First Oxford Match: Simon Berendt

Our 'My First Oxford Match' series is back again for another installment, this time provided by Simon Berendt - something of a trial by fire for a young Mr Berendt, as not many people experience a 5-3 local derby thriller in their first match! Don't forget to send your memories of your first Oxford match to

Oxford United 5-3 Swindon Town (07/03/92)

I had been to 2 other matches before my first Oxford game, I’d seen Villa lose to Everton and get relegated, and I had been to see Pompey draw 2-2 with Watford, Pompey were 2-0 up at half time!

So, neither of the home teams had won. If one of those games had been a home win, my life would have been very different!

So I was at school (Wheatley Park) when my mates on the school bus suggested we should go to Oxford, for some sort of local derby.

So who did Oxford play that day! Swindon. I didn’t know what this meant! I was 13! I remember the atmosphere being a bit charged, and looking back I now know why. I was enthralled by the noise on the right side of the London Road. I migrated to the left as time went by.

The walk up to the London Road turnstiles, under the gateway, being frisked, looking into the Manor Club, and up the steps to the terrace, it always took my breath away seeing the Cuckoo Lane in the distance, and instantly the world was a much smaller place.

I have just ‘Rage Onlined’ for the team that day, that was a cracking side. I remember Durnin going absolutely mad when he scored, and Joey taking my breath away, what was he doing playing for this lot, far too good!

So the home win, loads of us caught the bus home singing and cheering the whole way. And what a win, a 5-3 thumping. I remember the crowd baying for a 6th!

I was hooked.

I am so lucky it was versus Swindon as well. I don’t think I missed another home Saturday (wasn’t allowed to go to evening games) for about four years – till I moved to the sodding IOW. I used to get there at 1:30 and be one of the first (if not the 1st one) in, so I could sit on a step, read the programme and feel the atmosphere build.

The Kasstad is a football ground, true, but the Manor was my football cathedral. I loved it, the escape from a grim day to day life to a place when I was with souls who were just like me. 


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