We are delighted to have one of football’s good guys back with us on Saturday as our Guest of Honour.
Dave Waterman was a battling midfielder for both the U’s and Pompey and will make his first return to the stadium since leaving us in 2004 after 88 appearances for the U’s.
“I had great times at Portsmouth and a good rapport with the fans and I found exactly the same thing coming to Oxford” he told us this week.
“I settled in straight away but I was only there for two years, because unfortunately my son Oakley became ill while I was at Oxford and I made the decision to move away from football after that. We lost Oakley a year later and to be honest, the club couldn’t have done any more for me at the time while Oakley was ill. I was only able to train very sporadically but I was in the side and the compassion from the fans and the club as a whole who came together and showed me a lot of support.
“I’ve still got photos on my Facebook page. I got the Players’ Player of the Year award and there’s a photo of me in my tracksuit and Oakley in his Oxford kit and he’s holding a little trophy when it was presented. It was sad times but it was also good times.”
As a result of Oakley’s passing, Dave set up the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation to help families with terminally ill children find some respite throughout their treatment.
“We’ve still got the Foundation going,” he tells the matchday programme on Saturday “We’ve got a lodge now that families can use, we’ve got a caravan in the New Forest and the next step is we’re looking to buy a property near Southampton Hospital that families can use when their kids are in having treatment because it’s an expensive time.
"There are families whose parents are actually having to sleep in cars overnight because they couldn’t afford a guest house or hotel and they want to be with their families while they’re going through a tough time. We have to do a bit more fundraising but we’re looking to buy a flat to help out families that way.
“Everything’s voluntary for me but my wife Lorraine does all the admin and she’s the backbone of it all behind the scenes. She works two days a week for the charity; we had to take that step because it takes up so much time.”
To find out more about the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation and to donate, visit http://oakleywatermanfoundation.com
We are sure that fans of both clubs will make Dave more than welcome when he is introduced on the pitch at half time on Saturday.
A reminder that Saturday's game is ALL TICKET. Portsmouth have sold out of their full allocation which should make for a great atmosphere, but with that in mind you need to have been on the Oxford United database since before Christmas and have a purchase history with us to buy tickets in the home areas. No tickets will be on sale on the day of the game.
Visit www.oufctickets.co.uk or call 01865 337533 to book