Good afternoon and welcome to today’s game against Rotherham. Today is also Military Day and it is a great pleasure to welcome past and present members from our armed forces.
It is therefore doubly disappointing to be missing today’s game due to business commitments in the USA but I am delighted to confirm Oxford United’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, which will be formally signed at today’s game.
It is worth quoting the aims of the Covenant:
“To recognise and support those who proudly protect our nation, who do so with honour, courage and commitment, the Armed Service Covenant is the nation’s commitment to you.
"It is a pledge that, together, we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives."
This seems to me to be the very minimum we should be seeking to achieve as a society in relation to our service men and women.
I am privileged to be a Trustee of Walking with the Wounded, a military charity which seeks to help and support our most vulnerable veterans and ensure they have the best chance possible to reintegrate into ‘civvy’ street.
The organisation of the day is a huge logistical exercise, as you will see from today’s amazing programme of events. All those involved deserve a massive thank you.
Military Day also is an opportunity for reflection and regain a sense of perspective. Please give it your full support and take full advantage to show your appreciation for those who do so much for us.
Turning to today’s game, we face another play-off contender in Rotherham in what will be a very competitive game.
Our recent performances, especially against Bristol Rovers and Charlton, have been excellent and let’s hope we can consolidate on our recent run of good performances and results and remain in and around the play-off places.
The Bristol Rovers performance, in particular, was impressive in every respect, defensive resilience, outstanding team spirit and high quality attacking football. I felt the result was well deserved and showed the potential we have to push on this season.
Once again, our away support was fantastic and I would like to thank you all for your wonderful support.
We delivered again against a strong Charlton side and I felt, ultimately, we were a shade unlucky not to take all three points.
Overall, I feel that the team is increasingly comfortable in our playing style and is growing in confidence and belief.
Pep and the coaching team, alongside the players, should be applauded for the focus and professionalism which characterises every training session and the preparation for every game. It is beginning to reap its rewards and if we can maintain recent performance intensity and quality, then we can look forward with justified optimism.
Please celebrate Military Day and enjoy the game - COYY!