The Oxford United Chairman, Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth, wrote the following notes for the Accrington Stanley programme
A football season is a long one and today we play just the tenth game. We are only two points behind the play-offs, seven off top, and there are 36 games still to play. I do understand the frustration of a draw on Saturday against Gillingham, but we are still in a strong position. I told Karl, Craig and the staff and players to keep good faith, put everything in and we will start the winning way. I think we all know that there is more to come from this side.
As the last two seasons have shown, it can take time for everything to fall into place. All teams get injuries in pre-season; Sam Long missed the first few games but is back now. Most teams have loans who have to fit in; I thought Herbie Kane had an outstanding game on Saturday and is only going to get better as he settles into the club. What I like about Karl and the staff is that they don’t panic, they just trust each other, and they keep working to a clear and well-thought-out plan, knowing that in the long term things work out.
That is not to say we will automatically win tonight against Accrington. Our visitors have yet again started very strongly, and we know they have their own plans and systems which are very effective at this level. It usually produces an exciting game and I hope you enjoy your evening under the lights at the Kassam Stadium. I will miss it very much but will be watching on iFollow as usual.
I noticed that iFollow won a ‘Best Technology in Football’ award last week for the way it connected fans to their clubs during lockdown. I do enjoy watching the games and listening to the commentary from BBC Oxford; we are very lucky to have them as broadcast partners because their knowledge and passion for the club is so obvious.
There were big discussions in the summer and clubs were asked to vote on whether to stream games now we are out of lockdown would affect attendances at matches. In the end the solution was that streaming midweek games was okay, but not to stream Saturdays to those in the UK.
I see both sides of this argument and am very grateful to be able to watch my team from home, but I miss the experience of watching football at the ground so much! There is nothing quite like being there, hearing the crowd, seeing the things a camera misses, feeling the excitement of a live crowd.
We are monitoring things closely and looking at all the data available on whether streaming is affecting crowds. In the end, I think technology will win and eventually all games will be streamed live. But all I would say is that as much as I will enjoy seeing tonight’s game, I am so very, very jealous of everyone who gets to see the game live.
Wherever you are, enjoy the game.
You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc