Oxford United F.C.

Oxford United F.C.
Oxford United
Oxford United badge
Full name Oxford United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Us, Yellows, The Boys from Up the Hill (as Headington United)
Founded 1893[1] (as Headington United)
Ground Kassam Stadium
(Capacity: 12,500)
Chairman Kelvin Thomas
Manager Chris Wilder
League League Two
2010–11 League Two, 12th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Oxford United Football Club is an English association football club based in Oxford, Oxfordshire. The club play in League Two, following promotion from the Conference National in May 2010. The club had been a non-League side since their relegation from the Football League in the 2005–06 season. The club's chairman is Kelvin Thomas and the first team is currently managed by Chris Wilder. The team is currently captained by Jake Wright.

Oxford United were founded in 1893 as Headington United, adopting the current name in 1960. Oxford joined the Football League in 1962 after winning the Southern Football League, reaching the Second Division in 1968. After relegation in 1976, between 1984 and 1986 the club earned successive promotions into the First Division, and won the League Cup in 1986. Oxford were unable to enter the 1987 UEFA Cup because of the UEFA ban on English clubs in European competitions. Relegation from the top flight in 1988 began an 18-year decline which saw the club relegated to the Conference in 2006. This was the first time in the history of English football that a team that had won a major trophy was relegated from the Football League. After four seasons, Oxford were promoted to League Two on 16 May 2010 after a 3–1 win over York City in the Conference National play-off Final at Wembley Stadium.

Their home ground is the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, with a capacity of 12,500. The club moved to the stadium in 2001 after leaving the Manor Ground, their home for 76 years. Swindon Town are the club's main rivals, with Reading as minor rivals.



Headington United

Oxford United was formed as Headington in 1893,[1] adding the suffix United the following year. It was created by Rev John Scott-Tucker, the vicar at Saint Andrew's church in Old Headington, and a local doctor named Robert Hitchings.[2] A football team was a way for the cricketers of Headington Cricket Club to maintain their fitness during the winter break.[2] The first game played was against Cowley Barracks. Headington had no regular home until 1913, when they were able to purchase Wootten's Field on London Road, but this was redeveloped in 1920.[2] A permanent home was finally found in 1926, when they purchased the Manor Ground site on London Road.[2] The facility was used as a cricket pitch in the summer, and a football pitch in the winter, until the cricketers moved out during the 1940s. In 1899, six years after their formation, Headington United joined the Oxfordshire District League Second Division, where they competed until the outbreak of the First World War; the Second Division was renamed the Oxfordshire Junior League after the resumption of football in 1919. In 1921 the club was admitted into the Oxon Senior League.[3] The first season included a 9–0 victory, with 8 goals coming from P. Drewitt. This remains a record for the highest number of goals scored by an Oxford player in a first-team match.[4] At this time a small rivalry existed with Cowley F.C., who were based a few miles south of Headington. During a league game on May Day, the referee gave two penalties to Cowley; supporters broke past security and players, resulting in the referee being "freely baited".[5] The first FA Cup tie played was in 1931, against Hounslow F.C. in the Preliminary Round, ending in an 8–2 defeat for Headington.[6] The team spent two seasons in the Spartan League in the late 1940s, finishing fifth and fourth respectively.

A move into professional football was first considered during the second season. Vic Couling, the president at the time, had applied for Headington to become a member of a new Second Division in the Southern League.[7] Other teams that applied included Weymouth, Kettering Town and future league side Cambridge United. Despite the plans being postponed, the First Division was going to be expanded by two clubs; Weymouth and Headington were elected. It was later discovered that Llanelli had just one fewer vote than Headington.[7] They played their first season in the Southern League in 1949, the same year they turned professional.[1] Former First Division forward Harry Thompson was hired as manager. The club installed floodlights in 1950, the first professional club in Britain to do so,[8] and the first floodlit game was held on 18 December against Banbury Spencer.[9] Headington United initially played in orange and blue shirts, but changed to yellow home shirts for the 1957–58 season.[10] The reason for the change is unknown. In 1960, Headington United was renamed Oxford United, to give the club a higher profile.[1]

Promotion and Robert Maxwell takeover

Two years later, in 1962, the club won the Southern League title for the second successive season and was elected to the Football League Fourth Division,[11] occupying the vacant place left by bankrupt Accrington Stanley. Two successive eighteenth-place finishes followed,[12][13] before promotion to the Third Division was achieved in 1965.[14] A year before the promotion, Oxford became the first Fourth Division club to reach the sixth round of the FA Cup,[15] but have not progressed that far in the competition since. Oxford won the Third Division title in 1967–68,[16] their sixth season as a league club, but after eight years of relative stability the club was relegated from the Second Division in 1975–76.[17]

In 1982, as a Third Division side, Oxford United faced closure because of the club's inability to service the debts owed to Barclays Bank,[18] but were rescued when businessman Robert Maxwell took over the club.[1] In March 1983, Maxwell proposed merging United with neighbours Reading to form a new club called the Thames Valley Royals,[19] to play at Didcot. Jim Smith would have managed the club with Reading boss Maurice Evans becoming his assistant. The merger was called off as a result of fans of both clubs protesting against the decision and the Reading chairman stepping down to be replaced by an opponent of the merger.[20] Maxwell also threatened to fold the club if the merger did not go through.[21]

Oxford won the Third Division title in 1984 under the management of Jim Smith,[22] who also guided them to the Second Division title the following year.[23] This meant that Oxford United would be playing First Division football in the 1985–86 season, 23 years after joining the Football League. Smith moved to Queens Park Rangers shortly after the promotion success,[24] and made way for chief scout Maurice Evans, who, several seasons earlier, had won the Fourth Division title with Reading.[22]

Oxford at the top

The Milk Cup trophy is standing upright with black and yellow ribbons tied to the handles, to represent Oxford United's colours
The Milk Cup, which is still displayed in the club's trophy cabinet

Oxford United finished eighteenth in the 1985–86 First Division campaign,[25] avoiding relegation on the last day of the season.

They also won the Football League Cup, known at the time as the Milk Cup under a sponsorship deal, beating Queens Park Rangers 3–0 in the final at Wembley. They would have qualified for the UEFA Cup the following season, had it not been for the ban on English teams that had resulted from the previous year's Heysel Stadium disaster.[26] After beating fellow First Division side Aston Villa in the semi-final 4–3 on aggregate,[27] Oxford faced Queens Park Rangers in the final, which was held at Wembley Stadium on 20 April 1986. The final result was 3–0 with goals from Trevor Hebberd, Ray Houghton and Jeremy Charles. After the match, manager Maurice Evans asked long-serving physiotherapist, 72-year-old Ken Fish, to collect a winner's medal instead of himself.[28] It was the last time the League Cup was played under the name "Milk Cup".

1986–87 saw Oxford United survive another relegation battle and stay in the First Division. Robert Maxwell resigned as chairman in May 1987 to take over at Derby County, handing the club to his son Kevin. Maurice Evans was sacked in March 1988 with Oxford bottom of the First Division and destined for relegation after three years in the top flight.

Life in the second tier

Before relegation was confirmed, former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson was named as Oxford's new manager. However, he was sacked three months into the 1988–89 Second Division campaign after a dispute with the chairman over the £1 million sale of striker Dean Saunders to Derby County;[29] Derby were owned by Robert Maxwell, father of the then Oxford United chairman, Kevin Maxwell. Following Robert Maxwell's death in 1991, his personal estate, including the club, became insolvent.[30] After a long search for a new owner, during which Biomass took over the club, Brian Horton was named as Oxford's new manager, and remained in charge until September 1993 when he was lured away to Manchester City in the recently formed FA Premier League. Oxford, now a side in the new Football League Division One, briefly restored Maurice Evans to the manager's seat before turning to Bristol City manager Denis Smith. By the time he was hired, Oxford was deep in relegation trouble. Despite Smith's efforts, Oxford slid into Division Two at the end of the 1993–94 season.[31]

Promotion success in Division Two

Oxford's league positions from 1963 to 2007

Denis Smith set about restoring Oxford United to the First Division, and brought in two strikers who were experienced in the top division: Southampton's Paul Moody and Nottingham Forest's Nigel Jemson. Oxford finished 7th in 1994–95,[32] after heading the table at Christmas, but finished runners-up to near neighbours Swindon Town in 1995–96 and regained their place in Division One. Robin Herd, co-owner of the March Racing Team, took control of the club in 1995. In June 1995, Oxford United's board of directors had unveiled plans for a new 16,000-seat stadium at Minchery Farm to replace the dilapidated Manor Ground.[33] The club had hoped to move into the new stadium near the Blackbird Leys housing estate by the start of the 1998–99 season, but construction was suspended during the 1997–98 season because construction company Taylor Woodrow were not paid for the work which had already been undertaken.[34]

The 1996–97 season saw Oxford looking hopeful of gaining promotion to the Premier League, but the squad lacked the strength to make this form consistent and they finished seventeenth, following the sale of star defender Matt Elliott. Despite Smith's departure to West Bromwich Albion in December 1997, United finished eleventh in the 1997–98 final table of Division One under his successor Malcolm Shotton, who had been assistant manager of the Barnsley side which had recently gained promotion to the Premier League. Shotton had also been Oxford's captain during the glory years of the mid-1980s. During October and November 1998 the backroom staff at the club went unpaid, due to United's financial situation, and supporters rallied round, delivering food parcels to the ground. Supporters set up a pressure group called Fighting for Oxford United's Life (FOUL),[35] which began to publicise the club's plight through a series of meetings and events. Chairman Robin Herd had effectively given up on the club, and in April 1999 Firoz Kassam bought Herd's 89.9% controlling interest in Oxford United for £1, with which he also inherited the club's estimated £15 million debt. Kassam reduced £9 million of the debt to £900,000 by virtue of a Company Voluntary Arrangement, by which unsecured creditors who were owed over £1,000 were reimbursed with 10p for every pound they were owed.[36] Secured creditors were paid off when Kassam sold the Manor to another of his Firoka companies for £6 million. Kassam set about completing the unfinished stadium, gaining planning permission for a bowling alley, a multiplex cinema, and a hotel, among other things, following a series of legal battles which were eventually all settled.

Oxford's poor form continued into the 1999–2000 season, forcing Shotton to resign in late October with the club deep in relegation trouble. However the team's form improved and they finished twentieth in the Division Two final table, one place clear of relegation.[37] After the 2000–01 campaign, Oxford were relegated back to the basement division of the league after a 35-year absence, with 100 goals conceded.[38] They suffered 33 league defeats, the second-highest number of league defeats ever endured by a league club in a single season.[39]

Division Three years

Oxford began the 2001–02 season with a new stadium and a new manager. They finally completed their relocation to the Kassam Stadium after six years of speculation. Former Liverpool and England defender Mark Wright was given the manager's job, but resigned in late November after being accused of making racist remarks to referee Joe Ross.[40] Wright's successor Ian Atkins was unable to make much of a difference and Oxford finished the Division Three campaign in 21st place, their lowest-ever league position, although there was never any real threat of them losing their league status.[41]

Oxford had a more successful season in 2002–03, spending most of the year in either the automatic promotion or play-off places. But defeat in their final game of the season meant an eighth-place finish, not even enough for a play-off place.[42]

A good start to the 2003–04 season saw Oxford top of the table at the end of November.[43] However, manager Ian Atkins was sacked in March after agreeing to take charge at rivals Bristol Rovers and, under his successor Graham Rix, the club fell to ninth place in the final table.

Relegation to the Conference

Rix was sacked the following November, with Oxford in the bottom half of Football League Two, known as the Coca-Cola League Two for sponsorship reasons. Oxford replaced him with the Argentine Ramón Díaz, who was unable to secure anything higher than a mid-table finish. Diaz and his team of assistants left the club at the beginning of May 2005,[44] with ex-England midfielder and former West Bromwich Albion, Rushden and Oldham manager Brian Talbot immediately signed on a two-year contract as the replacement. Apart from a brief winning streak in September which saw United reach eighth in the table, Talbot found little success and was sacked in March 2006 with the club in 22nd place.[45] He was replaced by youth team coach Darren Patterson.

On 21 March 2006, Firoz Kassam sold the club for approximately £2 million (including the club's debts) to Florida-based businessman Nick Merry, who had played for United's youth team in the mid-1970s.[46][47] Merry immediately initiated changes to the upper hierarchy of the club. Jim Smith, one of the club's most successful managers, returned to the helm bringing in five new players on his first day in charge.

Smith was unable to prevent relegation in the 2005–06 season. After 44 years in English league football, Oxford were relegated to the Conference National from League Two after finishing in 23rd place,[48] becoming the first former winners of a major trophy to be relegated from the league. Coincidentally, Accrington Stanley, the side who went bankrupt in 1962 allowing United to be elected to the League, were one of the two teams promoted into League Two.[49]

Current Oxford manager Chris Wilder

Life in the Conference

Jim Smith was retained as manager for the 2006–07 season. It started positively for Oxford, with 14 wins and 8 draws from their opening 25 games.[50] However, this was followed by a run of eleven league games without a win from November, which saw them drop into second place just after Christmas, a position in which they remained until the end of the season. On Boxing Day 2006 a crowd of 11,065 watched United draw 0–0 with Woking at the Kassam Stadium, the largest-ever attendance for a Football Conference match (excluding play-offs).[51] They qualified for the play-offs by coming second,[52] facing Exeter City in the play-off semi-finals; however, they lost on penalties after two legs.

On 9 November 2007, Jim Smith resigned as manager and first-team coach Darren Patterson was named as the new manager.[53] Oxford spent most of the 2007–08 season in mid-table, though a run of 9 wins in their last 11 games saw them finish in 9th place, 10 points outside the play-off places. On 2 October 2008, Nick Merry stepped down as chairman to be replaced by Kelvin Thomas,[54] who had been part of the management team at the time of Merry's takeover. Just under two months later, Patterson was sacked after a poor run of form, just over a year after he had become manager, and was replaced by former Halifax Town manager Chris Wilder.[55] Following Wilder's arrival, the team won 15 of the remaining 21 league matches that season.[56] A 5-point deduction for fielding an unregistered player resulted in a seventh-place finish, four points and two places short of the play-offs.[57] Oxford led the table for most of the first half of the 2009–10 season but dropped into the play-off places by the end of the season, finishing third. They beat Rushden & Diamonds over two legs to advance to the play-off final against York City.

Oxford United lining up with York City at the Football Conference play-off final in 2010

Return to the Football League

On May 16, 2010, Oxford won the Conference National play-off Final against York City 3–1 to return to the Football League for the 2010–11 season.[58] The attendance was over 33,000,[59] notably large for a non-League club. Oxford's first game in the return to the Football League was away to Burton, which finished in a 0–0 draw. Oxford got their first win back in the Football League on September 4 against Morecambe at the Kassam Stadium, winning 4–0, thanks to a James Constable hat-trick.[60] United finished their first season back in the Football League in 12th place.[61]


Panoramic view of the Kassam Stadium

Oxford United had no regular home until 1913, switching between the Quarry Recreation Ground, Wootten's Field, Sandy Lane and Britannia Field, all in Headington.[62] In 1913 they were able to purchase Wootten's Field on London Road. However, this was redeveloped in 1920 before a stadium could be built. Having purchased a new site, the club played at the Manor Ground between 1926 and 2001, before moving to the Kassam Stadium. The ground hosted United's record crowd of 22,750 against Preston North End in an FA Cup sixth-round match on 29 February 1964.[1] The four stands were named after the roads they were positioned on: Beech Road, London Road, Cuckoo Lane and Osler Road. In the 1990s, the Taylor Report was published calling for the improvement of football stadiums. The Manor Ground's terracing was becoming redundant and redeveloping the ground was too costly, so the club decided to move to a purpose-built all-seater stadium on the outskirts of the city, costing in the region of £15 million.[63] Construction work began in the early part of 1997, but was suspended later that year due to the club's financial problems.[34] Construction of the new stadium resumed in 1999 following a takeover deal and Oxford moved there in 2001. The last league match at the Manor on 1 May 2001 saw a 1–1 draw with Port Vale. The site was sold for £12 million and the stadium was later demolished. The land is now occupied by a private hospital.

Since 2001, Oxford United have played at the Kassam Stadium.[64] The all-seater stadium has a capacity of 12,500 and has only three stands instead of the usual four; when first planned in 1995 it was originally going to have a 16,000-seat capacity, but by the time the stadium opened Oxford was playing in a lower division, so the smaller capacity was deemed adequate. Construction of the fourth stand is not expected to take place for several years, although foundations have already been put in place.[65]

The record attendance is 12,243, which was achieved in the final game of the 2005–06 season, when a defeat against Leyton Orient condemned them to relegation from the Football League. The stadium has also hosted Rugby Union matches, a woman's international football match, an Under-17 international football tournament and a music concert.[66]

Crest and colours

The bronze Ox outside the stadium

The crest reflects the name and history of the city. Oxford was originally a market town situated near to a ford on the River Isis, which was used by cattle. The club crest depicts an ox above a representation of a ford to symbolise the location.[67] In 2008, a bronze statue of an ox was unveiled outside of what would have been the west stand.[68] It was subsequently vandalised in January 2011, being covered in pink paint[69] and the club used the opportunity to raise money for a breast cancer charity.[70]

The shape and design of the crest has changed numerous times since it was first produced. When playing as Headington and during the early years of Oxford United, the crest included a full ox crossing the ford, as well as the initials H.U.F.C. (pre-1962) or the name Oxford United (post name-change). Between 1972 and 1980,[10] the crest became circular, showing just the ox's head on a yellow and black background. The words 'Oxford United Football Club' were placed around the ox. For the next 17 years, the crest was simply the ox's head coloured blue, with various combinations of wording surrounding it. For example in the 1987–88 season, the wording 25th Anniversary was placed under the crest.[71] In 1996, the crest had a shield shape and contained the ox's head over the ford, on a yellow background. This version was retained until the move to the Kassam Stadium in 2001, when club steward Rob Alderman designed the current version.[67] It has a similar design to the preceding crest, but the ox and ford are contained in a circle with a yellow background, with the remainder of the crest being coloured blue.

While playing as Headington United, orange and blue striped shirts were worn with navy shorts and socks. The design of the shirt changed regularly, with the stripes being changed every few seasons. After joining the Southern League, the blue stripes were lost for good and a lighter shade of orange used for the shirt.[72] The yellow kit was first worn during the 1957–58 season, with black shorts and yellow socks. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the black shorts were first replaced with yellow ones, and then with light blue shorts. Since the early 1990s, the strip has been composed of the yellow shirt and navy coloured shorts and socks.[10] A large variety of away kits has been used over the years, ranging from red and black stripes on the shirts, to a fully white kit.

The first sponsor to appear on the shirt was Sunday Journal, a local newspaper, in 1982.[10] Between 1983 and 1985, there were three sponsors: BPCC, Pergamon and the Sunday People. Following those were Wang Laboratories (1985 to 1989), Pergamon (1989 to 1991), Unipart (1991 to 2000), Domino (2000 to 2001) and Buildbase (from the move to the Kassam Stadium in 2001 to 2010).[10][73] Following the return to the Football League, Bridle Insurance were announced as new shirt sponsors.[74]

Supporters and rivals

Oxford's average league attendances from 1963 to 2007. Note the red line represents the move to the Kassam Stadium

Oxford have a number of independent supporters' clubs and groups such as OxVox (the Oxford United Supporters' Trust) with a current membership of over 400, and the Oxford United Exiles.[75][76] The club itself also runs a Juniors club, aimed at younger fans and offering a number of bonuses to the club's members such as birthday cards and a free T-shirt.[77] The official matchday programme for home games costs £3 and was voted best Blue Square Premier Programme of the Year for the 2007–08 season.[78] A number of songs are sung during home games, such as Yellow Submarine (with adapted lyrics) and songs relating to the old Manor Ground. Since January 2009 an ultras group known as "Oxford Ultras" has maintained a presence at home and away games with colourful displays and constant singing.[79]

The club have a number of celebrity supporters, such as Richard Branson,[80] Timmy Mallett,[81] Tim Henman[82] and Jim Rosenthal.[83] The club's mascot is Ollie the Ox.[84]

In a 2003 survey of football fans, Oxford's main rivals were Swindon Town, with Reading seen as the other rival team.[85] The rivalry with Swindon stems from the clubs' close proximity, as well as the fact they have played each other 53 times since 1962. During the height of football hooliganism, trouble flared up between the sets of fans. In 1998, 19 Swindon supporters were arrested during a match at the County Ground,[86] while in 2002 there was an incident between supporters after Oxford fans returned from an away fixture.[87] Oxford fans use nicknames when talking about Swindon such as moonraker, in reference to the myth that they tried to rake the reflection of the moon out of a pond.[88] The rivalry with Reading was heightened during the chairmanship of Robert Maxwell, due to his desire to merge the two clubs. This was met with strong opposition from both sets of fans, with United supporters staging a "sit-in" on the pitch before a game against Wigan in protest.[89] Despite being the second team in the city, there is less rivalry with Oxford City due to their lower position in the pyramid system (there have been no competitive matches between the two since 1959).[90]

Oxford United were the best-supported club in the Conference National before Luton Town joined the division.[91][92] The home match between Oxford and Luton, which drew a crowd of 10,600, was used to highlight the passion for English football during the 2018 World Cup bid.[93]


As of 16 November 2011.[94]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Ryan Clarke
2 England DF Damien Batt
3 England DF Anthony Tonkin
4 England MF Paul McLaren
5 England DF Michael Duberry
6 England DF Jake Wright
7 Northern Ireland MF Adam Chapman
8 England MF Simon Heslop
9 England FW James Constable
10 England FW Deane Smalley
14 England MF Asa Hall
15 England MF Alfie Potter
16 England DF Andrew Whing
17 Northern Ireland DF Tony Capaldi
No. Position Player
18 England MF Josh Payne
19 England DF Ryan James
20 Scotland MF Peter Leven
21 England GK Wayne Brown
22 England DF Harry Worley
23 England DF Ben Purkiss
26 England MF Liam Davis
27 Scotland DF Steven Kinniburgh
28 England FW Jonathan Franks (on loan from Middlesbrough)
29 England FW Tom Craddock
30 England FW Robert Hall (on loan from West Ham United)
32 England FW Tyrone Marsh
34 England GK Max Crocombe

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
11 England FW Jon-Paul Pittman (at Crawley Town until 12 December 2011)[95]
24 England FW Matt Green (at Mansfield Town until 31 December 2011)[96]
25 England FW Aaron Woodley (at Banbury United until 1 January 2012)[97]
England MF Simon Clist (at Hereford United until 3 January 2012)[98]

Retired numbers

  • Oxford United have retired the number 12 shirt for their fans as part of the 12th Man Initiative, which is a collective of supporters who raise funds to pay for certain transfers.[99][100]

Notable players

For more details on this topic, see List of Oxford United F.C. players.

Club officials

Former Directors Nick Merry (L) and Jim Smith (R)
  • Chairman: Kelvin Thomas[101][102]
  • Advisor: Jim Smith
  • General Manager / Club Secretary: Mick Brown

Coaching and Medical Staff

Managerial history

Below is a list of Oxford United managers since Harry Thompson's appointment in 1949 to the present day.

Jim Smith has had three spells as manager.
Name Dates Achievements Games Win % Notes
England Harry Thompson August 1949 – December 1958 Southern League Champions (1953);
Southern League runners up (1954);
Southern League Cup Winners (1953,1954)
466 47.20 [106][107]
England Arthur Turner January 1959 – February 1969 Southern League runners up (1960);
Southern League Champions (1961,1962);
Fourth Division Promotion (1965);
Third Division Champions (1968)
504 43.25 [15][108]
England Ron Saunders March 1969 – June 1969 12 50.00 [109]
England Gerry Summers July 1969 – October 1975 293 31.74 [110]
England Mick Brown October 1975 – July 1979 187 28.88 [111]
England Bill Asprey July 1979 – November 1980 81 27.16 [112]
England Ian Greaves December 1980 – January 1982 50 44.44 [113]
Scotland Roy Barry (caretaker) February 1982 – February 1982 6 33.33 [114][115]
England Jim Smith March 1982 – June 1985 Third Division Champions (1984);
Second Division Champions (1985)
167 53.30 [116][117]
England Maurice Evans June 1985 – March 1988 League Cup Winners (1986) 140 31.51 [118][119]
England Mark Lawrenson March 1988 – October 1988 23 17.39 [120]
England Brian Horton October 1988 – August 1993 251 31.47 [121][122][123]
England Maurice Evans (caretaker) August 1993 – September 1993 3 0.00 [124][125]
England Denis Smith September 1993 – December 1997 Second Division runners up (1996) 248 40.08 [125][126][127]
England Malcolm Crosby (caretaker) December 1997 – January 1998 5 0.00 [128][129]
England Malcolm Shotton January 1998 – October 1999 88 29.95 [130]
England Mickey Lewis (caretaker) October 1999 – February 2000 22 27.27 [131][132]
England Denis Smith February 2000 – October 2000 30 26.67 [126]
England Mike Ford (caretaker) October 2000 – October 2000 6 0.00 [133]
England David Kemp October 2000 – April 2001 31 22.58 [134]
England Mike Ford (caretaker) May 2001 – May 2001 1 0.00 [133]
England Mark Wright May 2001 – November 2001 22 18.18 [135]
England Ian Atkins November 2001 – March 2004 122 38.52 [136]
England Graham Rix March 2004 – November 2004 29 20.69 [137]
Northern Ireland Darren Patterson (caretaker) November 2004 – December 2004 3 33.33 [138]
Argentina Ramon Diaz December 2004 – May 2005 25 40.00 [139]
England Brian Talbot May 2005 – March 2006 44 22.73 [140]
Northern Ireland Darren Patterson March 2006 – March 2006 3 33.33 [138]
England Jim Smith March 2006 – November 2007 82 41.46 [116]
Northern Ireland Darren Patterson November 2007 – November 2008 59 40.68 [138]
England Jim Smith (caretaker) December 2008 – December 2008 4 50.00 [116]
England Chris Wilder December 2008 – Present Conference National Play-off winners (2010)[141] 130 50.77 [142]



The largest recorded home attendance at an Oxford United game was a match against Preston North End in the sixth round of the FA Cup at the Manor Ground on 29 February 1964. The attendance was 22,750,[147] which exceeded the stadium's capacity, so scaffolding was needed to put up makeshift stands for the excess supporters. The largest attendance at the Kassam Stadium for a football match was 12,243 for the final match of the 2005–06 League Two season against Leyton Orient.

Oxford's largest-ever scoreline was a 9–1 win in the FA Cup first round versus Dorchester Town on 11 November 1995. In the league, their largest win was 7–0 versus Barrow in Division Four. Their largest defeat was 7–0 away to Sunderland in 1998. Their longest unbeaten run in the league was 20 matches in 1984.[148]

John Shuker holds the record for the most league appearances with 478 between 1962 and 1977.[149] John Aldridge holds the record for most league goals scored in a season in the 1984-85 season, scoring 30.[150] Graham Atkinson holds the record for the most league goals with 97.[151]

The most capped player in international appearances is Jim Magilton with 18 caps for Northern Ireland. The largest amount of money Oxford have received by selling a player was £1,600,000 for Matt Elliott's transfer to Leicester City in January 1997. The largest transfer fee Oxford have paid was £470,000 for Dean Windass' transfer from Aberdeen in August 1998.[152]


  • Bickerton, Bob (1998). Club Colours. Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600595-42-0. 
  • Howland, Andy and Roger (1989). Oxford United: A Complete Record (1893-1989). Breedon Books. ISBN 0-907969-52-6. 
  • Brodetsky, Martin (2009). Oxford United: The Complete Record. Breedon Books. ISBN 978-1-85983-715-3. 
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Further reading

  • Williams, Chris (2006). Lords of the Manor. 
  • Howland, A and R (2001). Oxford United: The Headington Years. Marlow: Perfitt-Bayliss. ISBN 0-9541797-0-6. 
  • Swann, Geron; Ward, Andrew (1996). The Boys from up the Hill: An Oral History of Oxford United. Oxford: Crowberry. ISBN 0-9507568-2-2. 
  • Morris, Desmond (1981). The Soccer Tribe. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0 224 01935 X. 

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