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© Chris Byrne 2010


After the six year absence of league football Alf Jefferies, Peter Castell, Cyril Long, Harvey Townsend, Ralph Walker, Sgt J Wick, Harold ‘Nipper’ Jones, Vic Forrester, Roy Hagar, Percy James and Alec Wanless took the field against Dulwich Hamlet on September 1st 1945, and, with goals from Forrester, Wanless and James(2), started what was to be an exciting and rewarding season for City with a 4-1 victory. Of the eleven only Alf Jefferies had played in the last game of the 38-9 season, so this was a very experimental side. This set the scene for the weeks that were to follow with City’s forward line in sparkling form: they beat both Kingstonian and Clapton 7-2; Wimbledon 5-1 and did the double over Wycombe Wanderers with a 3-1 victory at home and a 6-2 win away.
They went to the top of the table in the first week in December and finished the year unbeaten in the league. In fact it wasn’t until mid-February that their first league reversal occurred when they went down 3-2 at Leytonstone where it was reported that “... the Leytonstone players were numbered and it is understood that this idea will become universal next season among amateur players.”
Walthamstow Avenue and City continued throughout the season to vie for the top place and the two sides finally met in east London on the last Saturday of April with the London side brushing City aside 4-1 in bizarre circumstances. City had apparently left Oxford with only 10 players on the understanding that their eleventh man would meet them at the ground as he had to travel from Wolverhampton: he never arrived. The team was completed by George Arlett – a pre-war player – who had gone to the match as a spectator and was extracted from the crowd with the help of a P.A. announcement. In the week that followed the local papers were full of letters castigating the management for allowing such a calamity to befall the club in their biggest match for years. 6128 fans saw City gain revenge 2-0 in the return match at the White House the following week, but the chance of the Isthmian crown had gone and the Avenue went on to take the championship by two points. City only lost three league matches during the season – the third was at Kingstonian in March – and scored 91 goals in their twenty six games.


The Reserve Section of the Isthmian League didn’t restart for this season and so the Reserves played in the Oxfordshire Senior League and had a mixed season.
That it was a very different game in immediately post-war England is illustrated by two items from the press of the time ...
City’s visit to Romford involved breakdowns and a late arrival, but, as there were 4000 supporters waiting patiently, the referee decided the teams could play 30 minutes each way, with a shortened half-time, before the light faded.
As mentioned above City arrived a man short at Walthamstow: this was not the first time that this had happened during the season. Only ten men were present at kick-off time at Tufnell Park in March and so the Park lent City a player for the match: a 2-2 draw!
The club had good runs in the various cup competitions. They reached the 3Q round of the FA Cup going out at Slough and losing to the same team in the 2nd Round Proper of the Amateur Cup. Locally they won the Oxfordshire Senior Cup, 4-0, against Headington at the White House in front of a record crowd of 6788; and the Oxfordshire Hospital Cup (2-1 against Banbury Spencer), which also drew a crowd of over 6000.
Tom Berry and Alex Blakeman played for the Isthmian League XI; and Blakeman and Alf Jefferies both signed amateur forms for Brentford and played in a Victory Cup Final against Eastern Command.

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