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OXFORD CITY FC - HISTORY & STATISTICS

© Chris Byrne 2010

1951-1952

The committee considered that this was likely to be a critical season for the club as income was falling steadily season by season, though the Supporters Club were still great providers, and local support was felt to be dwindling.
The 1st XI started the season in puzzling form: a 5-1 victory at Romford and a 5-3 home defeat of Kingstonian followed by a 2-5 home defeat at the hands of Walthamstow Avenue. Then an encouraging 2-2 draw at the Manor with Headington United in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup and a lacklustre 0-3 home defeat in the replay: a total of nearly 17000 watched the two matches, however. After five games though, the Reserves were leading the Reserve Section with four wins and a draw.
The 1st XI were proving to be hugely inconsistent and generally suffering from a weak defence behind quite a potent attack. Certainly there were plenty of goals in matches involving the City: but too many at the wrong end. By early January, with 17 matches played, they had scored 36 goals, only three teams had scored more; and conceded 46, which was more than any other team. Clearly attracted by all this goal-scoring, City’s visit to Kingstonian in November was televised live, and a famous French actress, the papers don’t say who, was allowed to kick off the second half! By February concern was being voiced, both by the committee and by the local press, that City would have to apply for re-election to the Isthmian League: not something that they had had to do since 1926. The league was looking to expand, however, and with Tufnell Park resigning it was thought that City’s position should be safe. With the results not going his way, George Johnson was informed in February that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the season, but he stepped down immediately and returned to his native North-East. Geoff Wyatt, who had played in goal for the team immediately post-war, took over while the committee looked for a permanent replacement.
The Reserves continued to put in some excellent performances and by the New Year it was becoming a four-horse race between City, Romford, Wimbledon and Leytonstone. More than 1200 turned out on a cold February Saturday to see them demolish St Albans 5-1; and a few weeks later two coachloads of supporters followed the team to Wycombe.

1951-2

 A couple of ‘surprise’ defeats towards the end of the season saw them slip from the top of the section and, in the end, they had to be satisfied with third place: just one point behind Leytonstone, whom they had defeated twice, and level on points with Romford, but denied the runners-up spot by 0.039 of a goal (goal average being used in those days rather than goal difference.) Quite remarkably, for a team that did so well, they used 59 different players in their 26 games; five of them, Cook, Dean, Treble, Waters and Wheeler, played for the Isthmian League Reserve XI against the Corinthian League.
City were exempt again until the First Round of the Amateur Cup and had, for those non-motorway days, the long and time-consuming trek to Saltash in Cornwall. After the previous season’s fine performances spirits were high and the two coaches hired by the supporters returned very late at night from a convincing 4-1 win. Unfortunately the cup momentum could not be maintained and City lost “a dull game” 0-1 at home to Athenian League Leyton in the next round. Leyton were to lose in the final to Walthamstow Avenue.
In the local competitions City went out 2-3 to Witney Town in the Senior Cup; and 2-4, having lead 2-0, to Bicester Town in the semi-final of the Benevolent Cup.
Cliff Holton returned to the White House again in April, in an Arsenal XI that also contained Reg Lewis and Jack Kelsey in goal: the Londoners won 8-1. A fortnight later Holton played for Arsenal in front of a somewhat bigger crowd: in the Cup Final at Wembley against Newcastle.
Peter Stone made the Luton Town 1st XI; Dave Meeson had an extended trial with Wolves in mid-season and Sam Sheppard signed amateur forms for Arsenal.

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