The U’s take on Sheffield Wednesday at the Kassam Stadium on Good Friday (3pm) and the game will see the return of a former player with an amazing back story.
Chris Tardif played 58 games for the U’s after joining from Portsmouth in 2004 but as he told us, his career might well have taken a very different path…
“I loved football as a kid” he told us “but back then the opportunities weren’t as great when you lived on Guernsey! People from the Channel Islands didn’t tend to become footballers- Matt Le Tissier broke that mould and we now have Alex Scott, ‘the Guernsey Grealish’, at Bristol City who we have great hopes for.
“But back then I was down to go to Sandhurst and train as an army officer. Then in the same week I got an offer to go and join Portsmouh as an apprentice. My dad said I could always go back to the Army if it didn’t work out so I signed and loved playing football for a living. I had some amazing managers: Jim Smith, Harry Redknapp, Alan Ball among others and I got into the Pompey side quite young.
“Then Graham Rix signed me at Oxford and I absolutely loved my time there. I have such great memories. I made a save at Orient that was as good as any I made, and another at Shrewsbury that got on Soccer AM’s ‘Save of the Week’. I remember playing at Swansea and laughing because they changed the words and there were thousands of Welsh fans chanting ‘We hate Tardif!
“But the game I remember was at Wrexham when we needed to win to stay up. Jim had brought in another goalkeeper, Andrea Guatelli, but he got injured so I went on as a sub. We battered them but couldn’t score and that just about meant we were dropping into the Conference, which was terrible. But I rang my wife Laura as I was getting on the team bus to go home and she said ‘”You’d better hurry, I think I have just gone into labour”. I remember getting a lift back with Chris Williams because the team bus would have taken ages, and having all these emotions as we raced down the country* about becoming a dad but also the terrible result that day!
“That next season in the Conference was when I made a decision to step away. I realised I wasn’t good enough to earn the big money and be able to look after my family after I stopped playing so I stepped away and played at the highest level I could part-time while starting out on a second career. That led me to what I do now. I am a Project Manager for Integrated Office Projects back here in Guernsey, we do office fit outs, mainly on the islands and I really enjoy that.
“I played for the Guernsey team and then became Manager as well but now I manage a club team here, Rangers. I catch myself sometimes sounding just like Jim used to all those years ago!
“We’ll all be back as a family for Sheffield Wednesday - their Manager Darren Moore is another old friend so it will be great to come back and see everyone. Oxford played such a big role in my family’s life and I still have strong feelings towards the club - I was at the game at Portsmouth earlier in the season and enjoyed seeing the team play again. Hopefully we can come and see people and see the new Manager get off to a winning home start as well.”
Make Chris feel at home again in the restaurant before the game and when he steps back on to the pitch at half time.
Match Tickets are available right now from oufctickets.co.uk or by calling 01865 337503 or 337513
Our guest against Bolton is Mark Creighton, and Shandon Baptiste is Guest of Honour against Portsmouth
Book your place for a two-course meal and hear from our formner stars with a Q&A ahead of kick-off.
The full package includes:
- Two-course meal
- Premium Seat in South Stand Upper
- Programme and Teamsheet
- Half Time Tea and Coffee
- Q&A with Shandon Baptiste
- Cash Bar Facility
- Man of the Match Presentation Post-Match
Season Ticket Holder £50 per person
Non-Season Ticket Holder £80 per person
If you have any issues booking online, please contact the ticket office on 01865 337533 or email email@example.com.
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*while adhering to national speed limits at all times.