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OXFORD CITY FC - HISTORY & STATISTICS

© Chris Byrne 2010

1980-1981

1980-1

It was to be hoped that the new season would get off to a good start after the disappointments of the previous season but early results did nothing to lift the gloom. August finished with no league goals or points, as well as dismissal from the Hitachi Cup (1-2 against Eastbourne United) and the FA Cup (0-2 against Cheltenham Town).
Bobby Moore rang the changes in attempts to find a winning combination and by the end of September only Paul Lee and Peter Berwick were ever-presents but results seemed to have turned the corner. League form certainly picked up as the month continued, the comings and goings of players settled to a trickle and a 5-1 defeat of Wokingham was the team’s best league score for some considerable time. The best result of the month, though, had to be the win in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy when goals from Paul Lee, Les Whitton(2) and Steve Adams gave City a 4-2 win at Alliance Premier club Wealdstone.
Meanwhile the Reserves were having a steady season having moved from the Oxfordshire Senior League to the Southern Combination; and the Youth team were playing well in the Berger Youth League and performed strongly in the FA Youth Cup where they eventually lost in the 3rd Round to a strong Wimbledon side.
Apart from a narrow defeat at Premier Division Croydon in the next round of the FA Trophy results became steadier as the year drew to a close, though off the field various matters were making sure that supporters were keeping an eye on the local press. The club acquired the White House public house from Morrell’s and after suitable refurbishment ran it as a free house and, perhaps, tempted fate by renaming it The Folly.

There was, however, continuing uncertainty over the non-payment of the recently increased rental for the Supporters’ Club premises to landlords Brasenose College and a court appearance was a distinct possibility. As a move towards a nationwide ‘pyramid’ of non-league clubs City were invited, along with all the members of Isthmian Premier division, to apply for entry to the Alliance Premier League (the forerunner of the Conference). At this time the newly constituted Alliance was only taking clubs from the Northern and Southern Leagues and the Isthmian League was still wary of the ‘newcomer’ and warned its members that should they apply and be turned down there would be no guarantee that they would be accepted back into the Isthmian.
The new year saw results take a definite upturn though pleasure at a good run of form was tempered by news of the sudden death of ex-manager Maurice Kyle in mid-January. Four league matches were played in February with sixteen goals being scored and none conceded as well as progress made in the Senior Cup with defeats of Clanfield (5-2) and Morris Motors (2-0)
The run came to an end at the beginning of March with a home defeat at the hands of Kingstonian but the month saw City’s involvement, at the invitation of the Isthmian League, in the sixth non-league Anglo-Italian tournament. The first match, which drew a good crowd to the White House, was against US Sanremese and it took a while for the players to get to grips with the very physical approach of their visitors who gained the upper hand and a two goal lead. City fought back well, however, with Steve Adams pulling one goal back and then scoring the equaliser well into injury time when Paul Lee converted a penalty after an Italian defender had lashed out at a City player, bringing cheer to the home crowd but causing anger and histrionics among the opposition. The following Saturday Modena were the visitors and this time the home side were on the receiving end of an injury-time goal which gave Modena a narrow 2-1 win to make it very unlikely that City would progress further after the next two games in Italy in April.
League results continued to be positive, though the club was not now in contention for any of the promotion spots, and a 3-0 win against Woodcote set up a Senior Cup Final against Thame United, who had surprised everyone by beating both Banbury United and Witney Town en route. City were less fortunate in the Benevolent Cup where they went down 0-2 at the White House after Perry Tunesi had snatched a very late equaliser in the first match at Banbury.
The first match of the away leg of the Anglo-Italian tournament saw City completely dominated by their hosts Francavilla and go down to a heavy 5-1 defeat, but, with only pride to play for, they bounced back in their final match and a Stuart Haigh hat-trick saw them home to a 3-1 win over Civatanovese.
A comfortable 4-0 win over Ware brought the league season to a close with the club in a respectable seventh position, but in the final match of the season, on the Bank Holiday Monday, Thame United’s strong form continued and saw them claim the Senior Cup at the Barracks Ground with a crushing 5-1 defeat of City: one of the biggest wins for many years.
Harry Redknapp had already announced that he would be leaving at the end of the year, and rumours had been rife for some time that Bobby Moore would also be leaving the club. He finally resigned on May 22nd with half of his three-year contract still to run. John Delaney, for many years a player at Wycombe Wanderers and with a good knowledge of the local football scene, took over the reins.

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