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© Chris Byrne 2010


There was again quite an exodus of players ahead of the new season: Buswell, Harris and Maskell moving to Witney; Howlett and Crossingham to Thame; and Goodison to Chesham. One of the major problems facing players from this area appeared to be the time involved in travelling to the London area with them having to lose a Saturday morning’s pay in order to travel. The League had brought in a new rule in the close-season limiting players to play for clubs within 50 miles of their homes. The FA had, additionally, required amateur clubs to sign a legally binding document stating that there were no payments to their players. Clubs were told they would be expelled from their league if it could be shown that irregular payments were being made. The age of ‘shamateurism’ was clearly in its last throes, though it would still be another ten years before the amateur ceased to exist.
There were some interesting additions to the squad with John Shippey joining from Alton Town; George Pullen from Wycombe along with Welsh amateur international captain John Fisher. With keepers John Maskell and Martin Spackman both joining Wycombe during the season, the arrival of John Shippey was particularly welcome and, although the Oxford Times reserved judgement after the Trial Match, saying “... though he tended to move too far out of his goal, his display was encouraging”, his was a very significant signing.
The 1st XI again had an excellent season in the league winning 20 matches, the same as the previous year, and, though they scored fewer goals, moved up to a final position of 5th, the best finish they would achieve for many years. Much of the credit for the victories would have to go to the goal-scoring feats of John Woodley who scored a club record of 64 goals during the season including six hat-tricks. He scored his 200th 1st XI goal in March. A 4-0 Boxing Day victory over old rival Wycombe, and a 5-0 defeat of Bromley on the last day of the season (another Woodley hat-trick) were the high points. On the other hand, a 7-1 defeat at champions-elect Hendon in March, and a 2-1 home defeat by Enfield, who played the first 20 minutes with only eight men, were decidedly disappointing.


The Reserve Section of the league saw a rather poor year for the City. Because of the escalating costs involved in travelling the League had decided that teams would not play every other team, thus avoiding the longest journeys, and there were ongoing discussions about the viability of the Reserve Section.
In the FA Cup City fought their way through to the Fourth Qualifying Round. A 2-1 defeat of Banbury Spencer (“...a dismal affair; a sad lack of enthusiasm”) was followed by a 2-0 win over Newbury Town and a 4-2 defeat of Hemel Hempstead, after a 1-1 draw, gave City a tie at Southern League Chelmsford City. The professionals won the day 6-2.
Because of their performances in the previous season, City entered the Amateur Cup in the final Qualifying Round. City, with three Oxford University players (Bristowe, Farr and Hardcastle) in the team, were held 2-2 by Hertford Town at the White House, but won the replay 2-1. They readily overcame Southall 6-0 in the First Round Proper and then squeezed past Hitchin Town after a replay to set up a home tie with Northern League Whitby Town. The eagerly awaited match brought in close on 4000 spectators, but the game didn’t live up to expectations and Whitby won 2-1 on their way to facing Hendon at Wembley in the Final, where they lost 3-1.
In the Senior Cup City had two 7-1 wins: against Quarry Nomads in the semi-final and against the holders, Morris Motors, in the Final. The 3-2 victory over Witney in the Benevolent Cup Final saw them play their 58th competitive match of the season, and Woodley score his last two goals of the campaign. The other final in which City were involved, the AFA Invitation Cup, produced a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Wycombe, after a hard-fought win in the semi-final against Worthing.
John Fisher was appointed 1st XI captain during the season, and also lead the Welsh team against Ireland and Scotland. John Woodley reached the final England Trial, and was felt unlucky not to win a cap. Gordon Peaper, however, won his first Youth International cap against Eire and played another four internationals before the season’s end.
John Shippey’s goalkeeping was attracting attention and he played for an FA XI against the UAU at Highfield Road in March, and in the same month Steve Morton was in the British Army side to play the French Army.
City old-boy Vic Mobley captained England U23s and, being picked for the match against Holland in December, was on the verge of becoming the first ex-City player to win full international honours since the remarkable Johnny Arnold – he also played cricket for England - in the early 1930s. Mobley had to pull out through injury, though, and was never picked again.
One sad note was the death in a car accident of Peter Molloy just two days before he was to play his first match for the Reserves: he was just 15.

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