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© Chris Byrne 2010


In the euphoria that followed England’s World Cup victory football supporters and the local press were looking forward to the new season with a feeling of optimism, though this was tempered by worries over income at the White House ground. ‘Mac’ McGowan, the Secretary, announced an £1145 loss over the previous season brought about, he felt, by poor cup runs and increasing costs. The Reserves’ involvement in the Reserve Section was seen as a particular drain on finances and joining the Hellenic League or the Oxon Senior League were options being considered, but, as they stood at the time, Isthmian League rules demanded that their member clubs played sides in both the Senior and Reserve Sections. The Annual Meeting also expressed disappointment that the OFA considered that the club was not good enough to be involved in the Oxfordshire Benevolent Cup, and had arranged for Oxford United to play Leicester City for the trophy.
The 1st XI, to be captained again by Bob Jackson with John Woodley as his deputy, was more settled than it had been for some time and started steadily in the league, but this was to be the season that the team would be remembered for its cup exploits.
The FA Cup started at the First Qualifying Round with a comprehensive demolition of Spartan League Addlestone, who were previously unbeaten, with a Woodley hat-trick leading the way in an 8-0 scoreline. A visit to Athenian League Hounslow, conquerors of St Albans, in the next round was successfully negotiated 3-0 and a 3-2 win, coming back from 2-0 down after 20 minutes, over Wolverton took them through. For the first time in 35 years City were handed a home tie in the final Qualifying Round. Although Oxford United had a home match with Reading on the same day, City went ahead with a 3.00 kick-off and, perhaps, suffered from this decision as only 1250 turned up to see City sweep past Finchley 5-1 to reach the First Round Proper for the first time since they played Gillingham in 1933. Cup fever hit the city. The match against Bristol Rovers was to be all-ticket with the gate limited to 9250 and prices raised: 4/- (20p) for Ground entry; 7/6 (37.5p) for the North Stand and 6/- (30p) for the East and South Stands.


The big day arrived and, surprisingly, only just over 5000 fans were there to see how the amateurs might fare. It looked as though the professionals might not be too taxed when firstly a John Lamb own-goal, and then a disputed penalty, neatly dispatched by Davis, sent the Rovers in 2-0 to the good at the break. However the home side dug deep and after 64 minutes John Woodley burst through the middle to fire past Hall and then, five minutes later the Oxford support sensed an upset when Tony Bradbury netted from close in. Both teams had chances in the final twenty minutes but a Woodley header that struck the angle of post and bar almost rounded off a tremendous cup-tie. Though they were not outclassed in the replay, City’s chance of glory had come and gone and Rovers produced a professional 4-0 win. After the match John Woodley, who had greatly impressed the Bristol management in both games, signed amateur forms for them.
The following Saturday City returned to league duty with a 2-0 win against Hitchin which signalled the start of a useful run of five successive victories and by the end of the month they had matched the previous season’s league tally of 29 points in thirteen fewer matches.
The start of the New Year brought around the First Round Proper of the Amateur Cup and City’s great cup season continued with a 3-0 victory at Eastbourne and a home draw in the 2nd Round against North Shields. Nearly 5000 saw a dogged 0-0 draw at the White House and nearly 7000 watched as Eric Metcalfe equalised with ninety seconds of extra time remaining in the replay in Northumberland a week later, which produced the game that no-one wanted: a mid-week match on a neutral ground. The second replay took place on Doncaster Rovers’ ground on the Wednesday. This involved considerable travelling for both teams, and very little money would be made from an encounter so far from both teams’ homes. City’s John Lamb even had to fly from Wiltshire after helping RAF Lynham to defeat RAF Henlow in that service’s cup competition! Though the crowd was small, those who were there saw a terrific game with the score progressing 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 3-3 (City’s score first) before Ron Goodison scored the decisive seventh goal towards the end. Three days later, despite appeals to the FA for a postponement, City travelled to Hendon for their 3rd Round match. This time it was the City who were on the receiving end of a come-back when their exertions in the previous round caught up with them in the second half and they conceded three goals to lose 4-3.
After all the cup excitement league games were perhaps a bit of an anti-climax, but the season continued steadily, albeit with quite a backlog of matches, and a satisfactory tenth position was attained. John Woodley was again leading scorer, with 38 goals, but Steve Morton (37) and Tony Bradbury (35) were close behind.
The Reserves started poorly and were at rock-bottom at the end of October, but turned things round and went through January and February unbeaten in the league.
The cup successes continued at local level and they easily triumphed over Morris Motors in the Senior Cup Final 6-2 before capturing the Smith Memorial Cup in mid-May with a 3-1 aggregate defeat of Banbury United.
At the beginning of March Steve Morton made a piece of unwanted history when he became the first City player sent off in an Isthmian League match: and the first in any match for twenty years. He was sent off again in April, along with Mick Ramsden, when playing for the Army against Guernsey. They were not alone, however, as local referee M. Le Cheminant sent all eleven Army players off for persistent bad language and dissent! Perhaps a sign of the changing times, but Mick Ramsden was also sent off towards the end of the season for retaliation in a ‘bruising’ encounter at Kingstonian.
John Woodley and John Shippey continued to impress on the larger stage. Woodley played for an FA XI against The Army at Aldershot and against the AFA at Bromley, and was invited by the prestigious Middlesex Wanderers to join their close-season tour of Japan, Korea and Thailand. John Shippey was a reserve for three England Amateur international matches during the season and played in the Final Trial at Brentford.
Two long-standing players moved on at the end of the season. Tony Bricknell finally retired after 17 seasons and Arnold Jackson left to be player-coach at Clifton Hampden after eleven seasons.
The Oxford Boys team didn’t quite match the 65-6 season’s record, but were still playing good enough football to attract 1815 supporters for their match against Slough, which they won 3-0, and a similar number against Portsmouth in the next round, in which future City manager Andy Lyne scored the only goal in a 2-1 defeat.

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