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© Chris Byrne 2010


In the light of John Maskell’s comment at the end of the previous season it was unsurprising that there were a several movements in the close season, and first few weeks of the new season, with Alexander, Allen, Burgess, Doyle, Lee, McCrea and Tate all finding new clubs. The pre-season matches went well, however, including a very competent performance in a 1-1 draw against a reasonably strong AFC Bournemouth side.
There was a slow start to the league campaign, though, and the team had only five points under its belt after the first six matches. There were, at least, encouraging results in the First and Second Qualifying Rounds of the FA Cup with United Counties League Ampthill Town being dispatched 4-1, followed by a strong performance to overcome Southern League side Oldbury United 3-0 at the end of September. The news of the month, however, was the surprise resignation of John Maskell just before the second of those matches and another ex-City player, Ian Rundle, who had managed previously at Flackwell Heath, taking his place. He was quick to realise the magnitude of the job facing him as his realistic comment in the local press made clear: “...even if I had more money I wouldn’t go overboard. There just aren’t enough players in the area to accommodate three top non-league teams”.
Andy Lyne continued to produce successful Reserve sides as they remained unbeaten until mid-October and were comfortably leading the Southern Combination League.
Ian Rundle could not have had a much harder baptism as manager with successive matches seeing City dismissed from three cup competitions in ten days: firstly at Barton Rovers in the Hitachi Cup (a disappointment after the previous year’s heroics); then a 2-1 home defeat by Southern League Moor Green in the FA Cup and finally an FA Trophy loss at Cambridge City.
An 11-1 defeat of Kidlington in a hastily-arranged friendly might have cheered things a little, but it wasn’t until early November that the next league points were mustered with a 2-0 win over Woking and then a morale-boosting 5-0 defeat of Clapton.


Despite all the upheaval two players in particular were putting in notable performances. Goalkeeper Mark Teasdale, who had arrived the previous season from Western League side Devizes Town, was watched by both Watford and Orient scouts; and Kevin Durham would move on to play at a higher level with Wycombe and Barnet before dying at the tragically early age of 29, was attracting interest from both Fulham and Watford.
Results over Christmas and the New Year were still disappointing with only a 1-0 victory over the Metropolitan Police bringing in much needed points and, with bad weather setting in, no league points at all were gained in January or February from the four matches played. There was a 7-0 demolition of Eynsham in the Senior Cup to cheer the supporters in mid-January, but Morris Motors, Hellenic League leaders, pulled off a minor shock in the next round when they beat City 2-1 at the White House. And this in the same week in which the Senior Cup itself was stolen from the White House trophy cabinet!
The Reserves, meanwhile, were getting very rusty with a seven week gap between matches because of the weather and other teams’ cup commitments, but returned to league action in late January with a 3-1 defeat of a strong Stevenage side to keep them on top of the league. In fact they didn’t suffer a league defeat until the end of March.
A new month and some better weather brought better fortunes for the 1st XI with four successive league wins, which went some way to easing the growing fears of another relegation, and a narrow defeat in the Wallspan Floodlit Cup against a Cambridge United side that contained nine first-team regulars.
The poor weather at the turn of the year had produced quite a backlog of fixtures for both sides and the middle of April saw both the Reserves and the 1st XI having to play four games in a week after which the Reserves still led the Combination, but the senior side slipped back with three successive defeats, although two draws and two wins at the end of the month finally pushed them beyond the relegation zone.
The Reserves battled their way through to the League Cup Final again and, as three years previously when they had been victorious, met Barton Rovers who gained revenge for the earlier loss and took the cup for the first time. Some poor results in a hectic run-in saw Berkhamsted edge City out of pole position in the league, and the Reserves had to settle for the runners-up position.
The Whitsun Tour was to take in the Algarve for the first time and, eventually, two games, against Olhanese and Imortal were arranged.
Off the field there were monetary concerns (as always) when the club was refused a Public Entertainments Licence by the City Council after a petition from over 60 local residents who were concerned about the excessive noise.
There was still no sign of the Senior Cup and Morris Motors, who went on to beat Bicester Town in the final, were presented with the now-redundant Professional Cup in its place.
There was better news for the Club when the recently formed Oxford Bulldogs played the Thames Valley Chargers in an American Football match at the White House in front of almost 900 fans. Channel 4 representatives were watching too, and it was hoped there might be some televised matches from the ground later. On the negative side the newly-seeded pitch cut up badly and the possibility of an all-weather pitched was put forward: an idea that would gain momentum the following season.
And finally: Rod Collett’s excellent programme finished 5th (out of 702) in the Wirral Programmes Club’s annual awards (2nd in the Isthmian League overall).

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