The Football Neutral: Match Forty Nine – Oxford City vs Guiseley

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…The game ebbed and flowed for a while, and it wasn’t a bad game at all but the entertainment on the terrace was second to none.  Again using “Seven Nation Army” as a theme, the Oxford fans responded to a “Yorkshire” chant from the Guiseley lot with “Mild, Flat Caps and Whippets”.  The Guiseley fans weren’t annoyed, indeed they applauded the creativity.  This was followed by further excellent, written on the spot Oxford songs – the benefit of a smaller crowd iss these things can spread to fans that want to sing much more easily – such as “You’ll Never Take the Woolpack” and “You’re Just a Bus Stop Near Minston”.  That last one was researched on the spot by Alex, and was then followed with a chant from both sides of “Local Knowledge!”.  Brilliant.

The fans were desperate to see substitute Paul Stonehouse be brought on to the pitch, singing songs about him (one set to “Stay Another Day”, for crying out loud) and even asking Snow White to walk around the pitch and ask the manager to bring him on.  Just as that started to pre-occupy us, Tom Winters scored in the 70th minute to put Oxford back in front.  As we sang in celebration, keeper Scott joined in with us.  It might not be the biggest crowd, but it must be fun playing in front of that lot when things are going right.

I chatted with Alex and the others about the club website during a brief lull in the singing.  When I visited it to enquire on ticket prices it looked like it had been hacked by someone spamming you about knock-off university courses.  It turns out that it wasn’t, it’s just that the club has been bought by an American who is using the Oxford City name to get interest in his other businesses in the USA and beyond.  It’s certainly true that the Oxford name has kudos attached to it, you only have to look at how many tourists in London are wearing Oxford hoodies on their flights back home.

Snow White now had his own dwarf, which was an Oxford fan called Sam (on his knees).  Sam would later regale us with the song “Any Dream Will Do”, belting it out as we laughed at him uncontrollably.  Yussuf would add his second – and Oxford’s fourth – in the 85th minute, and that just kicked the party up a notch.  Snow White managed to find seven dwarves now….

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The Football Neutral: Match Seven – Guiseley vs Histon

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This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!

I eventually arrived in Guiseley 10 minutes after kickoff.  Parking was easy, all of twenty meters from the stadium.  I casually wandered up to the turnstile.

It was closed.

I panicked.  The feeling of embarrassment of getting to a game and then somehow missing it was replaced by genuine anger at the turnstiles being closed so bloody early.  I knocked.  Nobody answered.  I presumed that was that, so went for a walk.  As luck would have it I passed another turnstile (marked “away turnstile for segregated fixtures”) that was still open.  I walked in and disturbed the nice chap who was watching the door.  He was engrossed in the game.  He let me in, took my money and gave me some sweets.

He noticed my accent, and we got chatting.  Initially he thought I was a Histon fan (seriously, without looking on a map or Wikipedia, YOU have a go at a Histon accent. No clue) but I told him about my project and he was an utter joy to chat to for a few minutes.  He explained to me that I’d visited at a tough time for the club, only one win all season and six defeats in a row.  As he said that, Guiseley nearly scored with a cheeky long range effort that bounced in front of the Histon keeper and nearly foxed him.  As we chatted, Guiseley certainly didn’t seem like the sort of club that were struggling – no long ball, lots of decent passing and attacking intention.

My new mate told me of the best player he’d ever seen play for the club: Frank Worthington.  I explained that I’m a Leicester supporter and he’s also the best player my Dad ever saw play for us (beating Muzzy Izzett into close second place).  Apparently Wortho was well into his forties when he rocked up at Guiseley and was still an inspiration.  Would have loved to have seen him play at that level, socks rolled down and a rakish mustache accompanying his mullet….

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