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OXFORD CITY FC - HISTORY & STATISTICS

© Chris Byrne 2010

1963-1964

There were more ‘ins and outs’ at the start of this season than usual. Peter Slade went to league-newcomers Hendon; goalkeeper Dennis Syrett moved along the A40 to Wycombe; whilst Taylor, Evans, Thorne and Jones all left for Witney Town. Doug Buswell and Arthur Howlett returned from Chesham.
In the light of the expansion of the League (Enfield, Hendon, Hitchin Town and Sutton United were admitted) and the difficulties encountered with the previous season’s fixture-backlog, the League informed all its clubs that they were not to play in any knock-out competitions other than those organised by the FA or the County FAs.
The new clubhouse had risen over the close season and was opened by the Mayor on August 14th, and it was reluctantly decided to increase the cost of admission to the ground to 1/6 (7.5p).
Wimbledon again set the pace in the league on their way to a hat-trick of championships, but the 1st XI got off to a good start to the season and gained points steadily, “...continuing with the 4-2-4 system – copied from the continentals”. In November they recorded their biggest league win for three years, 6-1 against Maidstone, and had gone eleven games unbeaten by late December, at which point they were losing 0-3 when the fog descended bringing an early end to the home match with Wycombe. They won the ‘replay’ 4-2! In mid-March a 6-1 loss at Sutton brought a run of victories to an abrupt halt, but the team had worked its way up to 5th position by then. In mid-April, when City gained a 2-0 revenge win against Sutton, they had gone nine home games without conceding a goal and notched their 18th victory. This match was notable for the debut of Gordon Peaper, at the age of 14 City’s youngest ever player, who had played a match earlier in the day for Oxford Boys. A good finish to the season saw a 4-0 win at Leytonstone and a similar score against Kingstonian at the White House in the last home game: this strength at home, only 6 points dropped all season, was one of the reasons for the final 6th place finish. The other main strength of the season lay in the free-scoring attack: ninety goals were scored for the first time since 1945-6 ... and for the last time in the Isthmian League for thirty years.

1963-4

Unfortunately the last match of the season, which had started with the team only needing three goals to beat their league scoring record, saw a performance in which the “... general approach was lamentable” and ended in a 3-1 defeat by Clapton: their only home win of the season!
The Reserves started poorly and had a rather undistinguished campaign with forty-four different players starting in an unsettled season.
In the FA Cup a 5-0 reverse at Hemel Hempstead saw City put out of the competition in the Second Qualifying Round. Starting in the early rounds again they did much better in the Amateur Cup. A 10-1 rout of Easington Sports was followed by a closer 4-3 win against Bicester, after a 3-3 away draw. They then got past Witney, 4-1, and Wokingham, 3-2, to reach the First Round Proper where, after an exciting 0-0 draw at Sutton, a good crowd of over 3000 saw the home side go down to the league-newcomers 1-2 in an “...end to end contest”.
In the more local competitions City lost 2-1 after a replay to Bicester Town in the Quarter Final: Morris Motors would win the cup for the first time for over forty years. In the Benevolent Cup Final they were outplayed by Oxford United who won 5-1.
Elsewhere the County had reached the final of the Southern Counties Amateur Cup for the first time since 1922 and Ron Goodison captained the team, which also featured Champ, Jackson, and Woodley, in a remarkable game. Middlesex were 3-0 by half-time but Oxfordshire clawed their way back to 5-5 after ninety minutes and then scored the cup-winning goal in the second half of extra-time.
Ipswich Town gave 7-day notices of approaches for Ian Rundle and keeper John Maskell: Rundle played for their reserves against Norwich Reserves in February, and Fulham scouts kept an eye on City’s other goalkeeper Martin Spackman. Gareth Isaac, a Welsh Youth international, moved to Cheltenham, and then back again; and Bernard Harris returned from a three-year stay in Australia.
At Whitsun the club were invited to take part in an international tournament in Belgium along with sides from France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy and Holland. They beat Duren 1899 FC (Germany), Sittardia Sittard FC (Holland), both 2-1, but lost 0-1 to the Belgian side Union Sportive Cheratte. City were presented with two pennants, one plaque ... and a miner’s lamp. A team from FC Sochaux, France’s first ever professional club, were the overall winners.

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