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© Chris Byrne 2010


Before the start of the new season it was agreed that prices must rise and so entrance to the ground would now cost 9d (nearly 4p) while a place in the stand would be 1/3 (just over 6p). Boys (N.B. not “children”!) would still be charged 6d (2.5p) for ground entry. The reserves were to play in the Reserve Section of the Isthmian League and over 1400 turned up for their first home match when they beat Clapton Reserves 4-2. The reserve team had little continuity in those early seasons and few players were seen as “... ready to step up”, but that first side did contain Aubrey Oakey, who would play many times in goal for the 1st XI and then go on to be such a hugely important figure in the history of Witney Town, and also a young Cliff Holton. Cliff made his 1st team debut in front of a crowd of nearly 5000 against an Icelandic Sports Association XI and scored City’s only goal in a 1-1 draw late in September and became a very popular player before moving on to Arsenal, who eventually converted him from a full-back to a free-scoring centre-forward.
A number of players had left City for other local clubs, a matter that lead the Oxford Times’ football correspondent to complain about the growing lack of loyalty among footballers, and the 1st XI were having a less successful season than in 45-6, but were, nonetheless, in mid-table by the turn of the year: then came one of the hardest winters on record. The City, along with most other teams, went five weeks without a match as the Arctic weather, followed by dreadful flooding and gales, took over, and it was March 1st before a good crowd of around 3000 ventured out of enforced hibernation to see their team return to league action to demolish Tufnell Park 6-1. A steady run-in through the rest of the league season, including a gripping 5-4 win against Ilford, saw them finish in a creditable fifth position with Leytonstone taking the championship.
Again there seemed to be a gentlemanly approach to the football. As in the previous season a team arrived at the White House with only ten men, Clapton this time. Because of fog they arrived late and so the match kicked off at 2.45 and was reduced to 35 minutes each way, and Rex Adams turned out for them to complete the eleven. More oddly, on Easter Monday City arrived at St Albans with only ten men and their second-string centre forward, W. Cooper, donned the hooped shirt, and to add insult to injury promptly scored a goal for the City!


The Reserve section of the Isthmian League was resurrected this season, with all the league’s member clubs having to play a team in both Senior and Reserve Sections: always seen as something of a problem for City who, generally, had more travelling to do and so the Reserves tended to run at a loss. The team performed steadily and finished in the top half of the table. The weather caused even more problems for the Reserves than the 1st XI in terms of a fixture backlog. The Oxfordshire Charity Cup semi-final against Headington United went ahead in a snowstorm and to make matters worse the Reserves had contrived to forget their shirts, so when the referee finally ordered the match to start (at 3.20) they played in a motley mixture of pullovers and ‘skins’ – and won 5-2! There were still several games left to play when May arrived and so, on May 3rd, at The White House the Reserves played Romford Reserves at 3.30, winning 3-2, and then Wimbledon Reserves at 5.45, drawing 3-3!
It wasn’t one of the club’s best years in cup competitions. They lost their first matches in the FA Cup (2-4 at Windsor & Eton); the Amateur Cup (2-3 at Maidenhead); and the Oxfordshire Senior Cup (2-4 to the 16th Battalion RAOC – one of the many services teams that existed, both locally and nationally, at that time.) They did reach the final of the Oxfordshire Hospitals Cup, but fell 1-3 to the side they had beaten in the previous year’s final, Banbury Spencer, on the last day of May in front of a shirt-sleeved crowd of 3500!
Oxfordshire again entered a team in the Southern Counties Amateur Cup and five City players were chosen for the County: Alf Jefferies, Harvey Townsend, Ralph Walker, Dennis Gordon and Ralph Martin. Frank Edwards was selected to play for The Civil Service against the R.A.F. – there were many representative games then, and Dennis Gordon, another City player who would eventually play at the highest club level, signed amateur forms for Spurs.

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