Good afternoon and welcome to this year’s FA Cup. I think sometimes people underestimate how famous this competition is and how much the history means around the world. I certainly grew up watching every final on TV and will be at today’s game hoping we can make progress, although I fully expect a passionate and close game of football between two totally committed sides.
It has been a good couple of weeks for us and the team is going well at the moment. The 125th Anniversary celebration game against Shrewsbury saw a very strong win in front of a big crowd. One of our first aims has to be to try and get crowds of that size on a much more regular basis, preferably without having to offer half-price tickets; we want to be sustainable as well!
You saw the reaction from the players when a big crowd got behind them. Help us build the crowd each week by bringing friends and family and everyone getting behind Karl and the team.
I would like to mention two groups of fans I met that day. Firstly I went to Headington to the Britannia Inn where the Yellow Army were walking to the game from the pub where the club was formed. What struck me was the range of ages doing that walk; there were plenty of young fans as well as supporters who have been coming to games for years. I would have liked to have joined them but other commitments meant I needed to go to the stadium at that time, but when I arrived there I met the Ultras who had been in the stands since 9am putting up flags and the banners that you see behind the goal every game. Again, they gave up their free time to get to the ground six hours before kick-off, just to try and show their support and help create a brilliant background for the game.
I am gradually meeting more and more of you and I love to see the passion that you have for your club. There are challenges in running any football club but with every week that passes I am finding a new thing that makes this a very special club. I loved hearing the old players at that game and the dinner in the evening talking about their time here and how they loved it.
And then you have the contrast of the young footballers coming through into the team right now. Congratulations to Harvey Bradbury and Aaron Heap who made their debuts at Wycombe on Tuesday night, the latest players from an Academy programme that is making huge strides under Dan Harris and all of the staff there.
But everywhere I look there are positives: Oxford boy Josh Ruffels captaining the side on Tuesday, Gavin Whyte getting another international call up, the under 18s making progress in the FA Youth Cup: the list goes on and on and I could fill much more than one page with good things happening here right now.
I hope, like me, you are enjoying what is happening, and I hope that by 5pm today we can add ‘In the draw for the second round’ to the positives.
You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc