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© Chris Byrne 2010


August began with City losing at home to Witney Town in the Benevolent Cup semi-final, but generally showing some good form in their pre-season friendlies. Matches against Premier Division sides Sutton United and Leatherhead were drawn and won respectively, and a 1-1 with a strong Luton Town XI provided cause for optimism.
Unfortunately the league campaign started poorly with only one point gained in the first three matches, and that from a dull 0-0 home draw with Farnborough Town watched by a crowd of under 100. This continuing lack of support also brought about the demise of the City Travel Club at the end of August when long-time City fan Dave Underwood found himself unable to fill enough seats in a small minibus to break even. He had started the venture a few years earlier when, under manager Bobby Moore, supporters had been banned from travelling on the team coach.
City slipped down the table as September wore on, though they did get past their first opponents in the Hitachi Cup, Feltham, with the only goal of the game, and it was the middle of the month before they recorded their first league victory. And the end of the month before their first three points on the road. There was to be no FA Cup run this year either as they were put out of the competition by Dorchester Town, although the Southern Premier side needed a late penalty in a replay to overcome City after a 2-2 draw at the White House.
The Reserves were again competing successfully in the Wallspan Southern Combination and represented the league in the B&W Champions Cup in September, but fell 3-0 to Middlesex & Border League champions Harrow Borough Reserves.
The Centenary celebrations were reaching their climax at this point with a Grand Dinner in October; a Centenary Ball at the Town Hall in November; and a display put together by John Shepperd in the Central Library over the two months.


October saw the arrival of Servowarm, the central heating company, as sponsors, and a sudden change of fortunes for the 1st XI as the team began to gel and the points increase steadily. There was only one league loss during the month, at home to Walton & Hersham, though Windsor and Eton put the club out of the Hitachi Cup and a visit to Corby Town ended in a 1-0 reverse in the FA Trophy. The general improvement, though, was enough to win John Maskell the Division 1 Manager of the Month award.
The Reserves had slipped a little in the league, but were still making progress in the League Cup. The Youth XI gained, however, an unwanted place in the City record books when they went down 19-0 against Cambridge United at the end of the month.
The next ten weeks saw the 1st XI put together a tremendous 14-match unbeaten run, including a 7-0 trouncing of Hornchurch, which pulled them into the top three, and briefly to the top. Bruce McCrea and Mark Pearson were selected for an FA XI against the University; and an Isthmian League XI came to the White House in mid-November to play a match as part of the Centenary celebrations. An entertaining match by all accounts produced a democratic 3-3 draw, but still the spectators stayed away: under 100 clicked through the turnstiles.
1983 started on a negative note as the Reserve and Youth XIs were scrapped with immediate effect. Tony Rosser was quoted as saying, “...something had to be done. The Reserves and Youth teams cost us money to run and it just isn’t coming through the turnstiles. We have got a good senior side who are near the top of their league and we are not getting the support. I feel we have carried out our side of the operation in putting the club on a sound footing, yet we have not had the backing of the public.” The players and management of the two discarded sides were very disappointed, and Bob Green, the Youth manager, said, “...the decision will do the club no good.” Fortunately the Youth side managed to continue to play under the auspices of Worcester College Old Boys as Worcester College Youth.
When Lewes brought the unbeaten run to an end in late January it was still very close at the top of the division with five points covering the top five teams, but the promotion push was given something of a setback in February when there were two successive defeats. Progress was being made in the Senior Cup with a 3-0 win at Headington Amateurs and a 4 1 defeat of Woodstock Town taking them through to a semi-final match with Morris Motors, a team that had given City some difficult games in the past. This proved not to be banana-skin this year as a good crowd of over 300 at the Pressed Steel ground saw City overwhelm their Hellenic League opponents 7-0.
Good results were still keeping them in contact with the promotion places into April leading into two successive ‘six-pointers’ in the middle of the month. A 2-2 draw with Harlow allowed the Essex side to stay just ahead of City; and a 1-0 loss at leaders Worthing made the gap almost too great and a 0-0 home draw with Epsom & Ewell the following Saturday confirmed they would finish outside the top two places.
The weather was not good at the end of the month and the Senior Cup Final, due to be played at Thame, was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. City won the toss for venue and they easily overcame a lacklustre Banbury United 5-0 at the White House in early May to round off a season, that was not without its problems, in fine style.

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