Chris Williams writes:
I woke up feeling dopey this morning. In these strangest of times it is important to have a routine. I am fortunate because for the last week I have had an almost identical one each morning. Every day at 5am my cat meows on the landing and I ignore her. At 5.05 she will advance into the bedroom and meow a little louder and at 5.07 precisely she will have had enough of being ignored, leap on the bed and walk casually up my back until she can meow directly in my earhole. Now that she has my attention I will bumble downstairs to feed her and then, wide awake, get up and see what the day brings.
As you can imagine, getting up at 5.15 can leave me feeling a little grumpy, but not this morning. Today I switched on the laptop and the first thing I read was an email that sent my sagging spirits soaring. It came from a fan and I’ll copy and paste it right here (avoiding names to spare blushes):
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
ONE VERY HAPPY BOY!
This highlight will stay with him FOREVER.
So, al that happened was that a young fan had saved his pocket money up to order the home shirt but because of the lockdown he hadn’t received it. When we heard about it we contacted Matty Taylor, his favourite player and he rang him up for a quick chat. It didn’t take long, Matty messaged me to say he loved doing it, and there we are: one happy young Oxford fan.
Now I was feeling happy so I looked at my twitter and there was a message from another fan. Last week they emailed in and asked if I could send a decent image to print up as a backdrop for their son’s birthday. I was in a two hour queue at the doc’s at the time so rang our brilliant programme designers Alchemy to ask them to forward a suitable image. “Tell you what, we’ll go one better” they said. “We’ll do them a birthday card in the style of the current programme.” A week on and a simple tweet left me feeling happy at another job well done.
“Everyone go one better” is the way we are doing things round here. A local care home emailed: can Karl record a message because some of their residents are Oxford fans? Nope, can’t. Get the residents to compile a list of questions they might want to ask a football manager and then Karl and I will answer them on Zoom and I’ll send the video over.
Essentially I’m feeling a little bashful; it may sound like I am bigging myself up here. Not at all. The video was Karl’s idea. The programme was Alchemy’s, the phone call was Matty’s. Every day the club does a ton of stuff. It gives us energy - the RTC and Women are walking MILES today, the Academy are up to amazing things...
Zzz free, now wide awake, I spoke to Adam Harris, commercial whizz kid. He volunteered to help the NHS and has been doing that throughout- so has Michelle Walton our Safety Officer - but so many people volunteered that Adam then offered to help another key service as well. I won’t even attempt to name all the staff who are doing truly amazing things but trust me, I work with incredible people, public spirited and caring and every single one of them is doing something good. Why? Because it makes them feel better and because when all of this is over they will be able to say they played their part.
Yeah right. “When it’s over”. Who knows when? But it does feel as though we are slowly getting there. Seeing the news that Andy Whing and James Constable are the new management team at Banbury lifted my spirits because they are two top guys but also it just hints that football will be back.
When it does then Oxford United will be ready. There is so much plotting and planning going on by those working through these extraordinary times. Some of it will become apparent over the next few weeks: another great idea to help the NHS, news on season tickets and so on.
But what I am trying to say, through my sleep deprived ramblings, is that you all knew that you had a team to be proud of. The players are brilliant- they are making calls, doing what they can and will be ready when required. But I hope that over the last few weeks you have seen that it’s not all about the team. You have a club to be proud of.
Chris Williams is the club's Communications Manager but the views in the article are his own, not necessarily those of the club
Too serious this week? No chance. Read it again and see if you can spot all seven dwarfs…