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Read Darryl Eales' Programme Notes

20 February 2016

Executive chairman Darryl Eales writes in the Accrington Stanley programme

Good afternoon and welcome to today’s game against fellow promotion contenders Accrington Stanley.

Accrington were great hosts earlier in the season and we warmly welcome their players, fans and officials. 

Reflecting on Tuesday evening, I felt we were unfortunate to lose in a game of evenly matched sides with contrasting playing styles. I won't comment on the penalty but will congratulate Northampton on extending their incredible run. 

Today we have an early opportunity to bounce back and I am sure Accrington will provide a stern test.

I feel our recent home performances, with the possible exception of Blackburn and the first 20 minutes against Mansfield, have maintained our high standards but we have not been rewarded in terms of points. This is sometimes how it goes and we need to have the patience and belief that has served us well throughout the campaign.

The good news is that the unity of purpose and collective spirit is stronger than ever across the entire coaching and playing squad. After 30 games we have 55 points which, undoubtedly, puts us in a strong position. 

The crowd on Tuesday was fantastic in all respects and it was wonderful to see the stadium close to full again. The players appreciate this fully and I thought the reception you gave them at the end of the game was brilliant and spoke volumes about the camaraderie that exists between players and fans.

We have also sold out our allocation for Wimbledon away, which follows the rearranged game away at Exeter next Tuesday. Our support, both home and away, shows the latent potential of the club and the collective desire to progress. 

This potential has also been evidenced by the amazing sale of Wembley tickets - already pushing 25,000. We want to make this a real Oxfordshire day out and use it as an opportunity to introduce as many as possible to the joy and passion of supporting OUFC. We plan an extensive marketing campaign but please help as much as you can to assist this push - over 30,000 would be amazing and could we even dream of taking more than in 2010?

Furthermore, we will be launching a wide range of Wembley merchandise to suit all tastes - it would be wonderful to get cars, shops, schools, factories and offices to visibly support the Wembley build up and then make the day a true sea of yellow! 

One issue that has accompanied the upswing in crowds is car parking and getting to the ground. While we do not have a magic solution, it is clear that we need to try and find ways to improve access on match days. I will be working with the stadium company and relevant councils and agencies to see if between us we can provide a better answer.

Finally, I want to mention two community initiatives which I hope everyone can get behind. First, our own Dan Bond is participating in Oxford's answer to "Strictly"! Dan is one of 12 men taking part in the annual charity dance competition Strictly Oxford 2016, organised by Step by Step Dancing School. Strictly Oxford is being held in the city’s New Theatre on 17th April for the fifth year in a row, with the aim of raising funds for specialist Littlemore care home Vale House, which provides support for people with dementia. 

Second, we have this week been announced as the local lead charity for the Oxford Half Marathon. This is a huge opportunity to raise funds for the Trust and help our communities and we’re asking as many people as possible to run, jog or walk their way round in aid of the Trust. The club is 100 per cent behind this and will be working across the county to inspire people to get involved. We’ll be giving training tips and inspiration to everyone who takes on the challenge and, who knows, you might even be running alongside a few well-known club officials

For me, the Trust and our community give the club a greater sense of purpose and puts football into a wider perspective. Let's all fully support both the team and the Trust!

Enjoy the game today and get behind the team for what promises to be a very entertaining 90 minutes.



You can read the full programme online at from 1pm.

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