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OXFORD CITY FC - HISTORY & STATISTICS

© Chris Byrne 2010

1952-1953

Oxford City were re-elected, Tufnell Park Edmonton resigned, and Barking and Bromley were admitted to the Isthmian League giving 15 clubs: the highest number since the league was formed. Although it had received some support, a motion to limit the number of transfers to one per club per season in the league was defeated at the Annual Meeting. However, a move to remove the rule that stated “... the 28 day qualification rule shall not apply in the case of a club whose players are solely Old Boys of a Public School” was upheld!!
The summer also saw City playing host to Isthmian League teams for cricket (drawn) and bowls (won) matches: these more-or-less annual matches had a long history stretching back over thirty years.
In the close-season the club had been looking at ways to raise the £1800 needed for full floodlighting: locally there was considerable discussion about the setting up of a Floodlit League which might help to offset the decrease in income caused by falling Saturday attendances. The plans for the floodlights were put on the back-burner later in the season when the City Council decreed that planning permission could only be granted for a one year trial period. Floodlit matches were catching on, though. City keeper Doug Calcutt represented Wiltshire at Swindon against Pegasus in that team’s first ever floodlit match; and Clarke, Martin and Stone represented Oxfordshire at the Manor against Staffordshire in the first ever inter-county match under lights.
Geoff Wyatt was reported in the press in July as saying that “... we have not, as yet, a team that is good enough for Isthmian League football” and the Oxford Times carried an advertisement stating that “Applications were invited from players wishing to take part in the Trial Matches that are to be held on August 12th, 14th, 16th & 19th”. Peter Stone was appointed captain and there was a good response to the advert and several players were recruited from other local sides, though it was clear that Mr Wyatt’s concerns were not mere scaremongering as the season started with three successive defeats. A win at Ilford’s Newbury Park, for the first time since the War; and a 6-2 scoreline against fellow-strugglers Clapton raised hopes briefly, but as the weeks went by it became clear that a weak defence and a lightweight attack would produce another re-election fight for the club. There were some heavy defeats, including an 8-1 trouncing at Dulwich Hamlet; only one league match was won after mid-November; and there was a pointless run from early February until the 2-2 draw with Romford on April 18th.

1952-3

Involvement in the FA Cup was quickly over for another year after a 1-4 defeat at the White House by Wycombe Wanderers: a game that the referee finished seven minutes early with the score at 0-3 and took the players off. The shouts from the crowd and the intervention of the linesmen produced a change of mind and the final minutes were played out - with two more goals being scored!
To add to the club’s woes fierce gales on November 6th blew off the roof and back of about half of the South Stand and deposited much of the retaining wall in White House Road, though the lifting by the government in December of restrictions on the use of steel for building meant that the club could start to think again about the provision of more up-to-date stands.
Geoff Wyatt’s reign came to an end at the start of December when his contract was ended by the committee as they decided that the overall running of each team should be in the hands of the team captain.
As a senior Isthmian club the Amateur Cup was entered in the First Round in December but in a match in which “...City never looked like scoring and the home side should have had several more goals” Athenian League Tooting & Mitcham won comfortably 5-0.
With an unsettled side the Reserves had an uneven season but produced some good results. They lost a close match in the Charity Cup Second Round at Banbury NAC, but entered the Reading Senior Cup for the first time and fought through to the Fourth Round before losing 2-6 to Flackwell Heath.
The Senior side’s poor season continued in the Senior Cup where, after struggling to overcome Dorchester 4-2, they drew 3-3 at Chipping Norton Town and then lost the replay 4-5 to a goal late in extra-time. This result, and the shock defeat the same day of the Colts XI by Balliol Boys in the Minor Cup, had the local press reaching for their pens and bemoaning the current state of the club. In early May they did fight their way through to the final of the Benevolent Cup with a 3-2 defeat of Witney Town, but this would have to wait until early the next season.
It had been hoped that Glentoran, the Irish League’s only amateur team, might visit the White House over Easter, but plans fell through. Instead City had an enjoyable visit to the North-East to renew acquaintances with two cup adversaries, and league concerns were put aside for a few days with a battling 3-4 loss to Crook Town, and an exciting 5-2 win at Bishops Auckland.
Danny Spiers had a trial with Portsmouth; Bowness had a month’s trial in goal with Swindon Town before turning professional with Tonbridge; and Peter Peverell, who was a reserve for England in the Youth International against Scotland, signed amateur forms for Brentford in March – and then unfortunately missed the remains of the season with a dislocated knee.
Clapton and City lived to fight another day as the League wished to maintain 15 members and there were no new applicants, but there were growing concerns that, with the rise of Headington United, who had just won the Southern League for the first time, and Pegasus, who won the Amateur Cup for the second time, perhaps City’s decline might be permanent.

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