The planning is well under way for next seasons matchday programme and we want you to help us write it.
The award-winning programme prides itself on innovative and unique content and over the years has featured a host of guest writers as well as many students looking to make their way in to sports media and fans who simply have a story to tell.
This season we again appeal for your help.
We have a new series, provisionally entitled ‘Object Lessons’, where we want to hear from fans who have an Oxford United keepsake that they hold dear.
Communications Manager Chris Williams explains:
“Think of it like ‘Show and Tell’ but everything is yellow and blue and has an Ox’s head in the middle of it. Ideally, we would love people to write about something they have at home that means a lot to them - it could be an old kit, it could be one of Peter Rhoades-Brown’s unused right boots, a flag, a trophy; there must be loads of things out there.
“If people have objects but aren’t confident about writing then no worries, send us a picture and some details and we’ll do the writing for you*.”
So get in touch. If the Manor Ground arch is in your back garden or you have a collection of pin badges, share your story with us.
All you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org and you can star in next season’s programme.
Article 1 in the series is below:
Object Lessons by Chris Williams
Not many people have their kitchen door propped open by a national award. Olivia Coleman may keep her airing cupboard ajar with an Oscar and maybe Gary Barlow wedges a Grammy under a wonky table leg, but how many people have a memento of one of the strangest periods in their football club’s history currently serving as a door stop?
Let’s start at the very beginning. In 2004, Chairman Firoz Kassam summoned secretary Mick Brown to his office and said: “Mick, I am appointing a football legend as Manager: Ramon Diaz.” Mick, being a football legend himself, had never heard of him but smiled politely and tipped me off as I entered the room, whispering the name. Except I heard Ramon Vega, then then Tottenham and Switzerland centre-half. This led to a very strange conversation where the Chairman underlined his Ramon’s credentials (won the World Cup, won the league with Monaco) and I tried to tally that with the clunky defender who was hardly making himself a White Hart Lane hero.
Later that day I was introduced to Ramon (Diaz) and he was announced as our manager. We smiled, shook hands, and I then found out that he didn’t speak a word of English. He had a translator, Giuliano, but there were times when he wasn’t around and I needed to speak to the Ramon. Before I worked at Oxford United I spent 15 years teaching people English as a Foreign Language. Most of them were Japanese and I could speak a little Japanese as a result. Ramon had managed in Japan and so we found a way of communicating: schoolboy Japanese in which we could order a taxi, say that the weather was cold, but not conjugate a verb. Or hold a conversation.
I had an idea though. Early every morning, before work, I would meet Ramon and his backroom team and hold English lessons. Some were emergency football expressions, others were grammar based. It was hysterical. Ramon’s English was the worst of the group but he was the boss so they deferred to him and always let him answer first. We would return after work and do another hour, then go to the pub; we won the Oxvox Quiz Night despite the fact four people on the team spoke no English and the other two were communicating in Japanese.
It ended in tears, of course it did. Ramon and his team were relieved of their duties and returned to their homes in Argentina and Monaco. But before he left, Ramon sought me out and presented me with the silver Coca Cola bottle that he won as Manager of the Month in January 2005, Still the last time an Oxford Manager won the award. “For you, teacher,” he said. “Arigato” I replied.
*I say we. I mean Martin