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PLAYED FOR BOTH Michael Raynes

A look back as Oxford welcome Carlisle United

8 August 2023

Club News

PLAYED FOR BOTH Michael Raynes

A look back as Oxford welcome Carlisle United

8 August 2023

Saturday sees Oxford United play their first home game of the season as we welcome Carlisle United to the Kassam Stadium.

It’s a chance for Carlisle Boss Paul Simpson to return to a club where he starred on the left wing at the Manor in the 1990’s, one of 27 players to have played for both clubs.

Among that number is defender Michael Raynes who looks back at his time at both clubs fondly:

“I got a phone call from Chris Wilder at Oxford, when I was playing at Rotherham” he tells Saturday’s match programme. “He told me that Michael Duberry had a problem with his neck and wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the season, so I went down to meet him, got to the ground and was blown away by everything. Oxford had just been promoted and it was their second year in League Two. The first year was sort of consolidating and then they wanted to get to a point where they were having a bit of a go and looking for a play-off push, and Chris thought I’d be perfect for that.

“I played alongside Jake Wright. He was one of the best people and best captains I’d ever met in football. He was phenomenal and kept people like me together. When I first came down, he’d cook us food, he’d invite us round for tea and realised the situation I was living in, in the house, and he’d invite me round for food. There were a few of us that he did that for to try and make us feel welcome.”

Michael-Raynes-heads-wide.jpg

Michael then moved on to Mansfield

“They were bottom of the league and they asked me to come in and help keep them up, which we were lucky enough to achieve. I think we did it with a few games to spare, but then Mansfield wanted to go a different way. I met Keith Curle, Lee Dykes and Colin West, who were Carlisle managers at the time, and Carlisle were in a similar boat to where Oxford were when I joined.

“They’d just survived relegation and wanted to get to a point where they were challenging for the play-offs and they thought I could help, so I went in there; I loved Keith Curle and everything that he was about. They were a very similar club to Oxford in terms of the people who were involved. It was a real good club with traditional values in terms of how they do things and the history that they’ve got. It was an amazing club to play for.

“After Carlisle I went to Crewe and my knees had started to go at that point. I was coming towards the end of my career. The first year I played, the second year I didn’t play much and I got to that point where I was thinking, do I stop playing or do I carry on? I did a year at Hartlepool after that but then Covid stopped it halfway through. After that I decided to call it a day and go part time.

“The opportunity had come up to work at Stockport full time and, like I said, my body had got to the point where I couldn’t walk the next day after playing a game, so it was time for me to call it a day and those journeys up and down the M6 had taken their toll on me. If someone had said to me when I first started that I’d play nearly 500 games, I’d have bit their hands off. It’s been a phenomenal journey and one of the best things that I got out of football has been the people I’ve met, which for a lad from a council estate, I never would have thought of doing that. It was amazing and I’ve had a great journey.

“I’ve gone to the dark side now, coaching at Stockport, and I don’t miss playing any more. I get my fix from this side of things.”

Read the whole interview with Michael in Saturday’s match programme, available all around the ground for £4.

Book your place for Saturday. Tickets are available HERE

We’ve put together a combined Oxford/Carlisle XI. See if you agree:

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