George Lawrence’s Summer Shorts – ArmaSeddon

Sunday 18 July 2021

Ex-Everton coach, Alan Stubbs, has been waxing lyrical about what a brilliant signing John Lundstram would be for Celtic. Celtic are rebuilding after a disappointing season and could do with a player with Lundstram’s qualities. Stubbs coached him at Everton and there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the midfielder; apart from the fact he’s already signed for Rangers.

Monday 19 July 2021

Archeologists at Southend United have dug up what they believe could be the original Ryan Williams. Ricky Holmes or to use the Latin ‘maximus manus-bunus’, looks set to sign for the newly minted Conference nobodies. Holmes has been a big target for the team from Roots Hall though not as big a target as he’ll be when a 16 stone centre-back from Boredom Wood gets sight of him.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Yesterday was Boris Johnson’s Free-DOH! Day. With masks and social distancing abandoned, Johnson is confident we’ll soon have a world-beating vaccine resistant variant in circulation. Go us! Oxford United celebrated in the best possible way; by having a couple of players test positive for Covid, and sending another nine home to self-isolate. One player who’s taken self-isolating a bit too far is Sean Clare, who promptly signed for Charlton.

Elsewhere, Hayes and Yeading kept a wide birth in our latest pre-season friendly as Matty Taylor scored about six hundred goals in a 9-0 win.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

The Covid outbreak allowed KRob to give a run-out to next season’s Papa John’s Pizza Trophy group games squad against Banbury United. A young side ran out 3-0 winners with goals from Gatlin O’Donkor, Derick Osei-Yaw and Tyler Goodrham. Goodrham’s quality finish shows that he’s ready to replace Josh Ruffels as the player whose name nobody can spell.

Thursday 22 July 2021

Sad news as former loanee Joe Riley has announced his retirement from football at the age of twenty-nine. Riley was a rare bright spot during MApp’s terrible first season at Oxford. Having spent half a season in the presence of David Hunt and Tom Newey, Riley recovered sufficiently to enjoy successful spells with Bolton, Shrewsbury and Mansfield.

Friday 23 July 2021

There are three qualities that KRob loves in a player; pace, power and alliteration. Following in the footsteps Chris Cadden and Marcus McGuane, left-back Steve Seddon has signed from Birmingham City. Meanwhile, GLS were shocked to hear that Top Man Jakey ‘right right’ Wright will be playing in the Major League Baseball next season having signed for Boston, only to find that it’s the National League North team from Lincolnshire.

Saturday 24 July 2021

Thank god for the (don’t buy the) Sun; they’ve exclusively revealed that former Oxford loanee Tyler Roberts is dating former Love Island contestant Georgia Steel. It’s early days, but judging by the photos, we’re hoping that Roberts buys Steel a nice warm jumper as a present because she doesn’t seem to own any clothes.

Midweek fixture: Absolute State of Oxford United 2021 – part 1 – who are you?

So, here we are again, another season creeps ever closer. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt quite so detached from the hullabaloo. Perhaps it’s the heat, the Euros or the pandemic. Maybe it’s the sneaking suspicion that this season won’t bring us back to the good old days, as some are hoping, but something in between those times and where we were last season.

Still, as usual, for the third year, I ran the Oxblogger Absolute State of Oxford United survey, an attempt to set some expectations and benchmarks for the season. My own detachment maybe be mirrored across other fans, if the response rate is anything to go by; less than half who took the survey last year responded this. Perhaps that was because of the distraction of the Euros – this is at the first survey done during a major tournament, or maybe it’s that people are simply bored of the survey.

Whether the lower response makes the results any more or less relevant is another question – from previous experience, the trends that you see from the first bout of responses, pretty much hold true regardless of the eventual turnout. So the 150 or so people who responded have probably given the views of the 300 that completed the survey in the past.

We start with the end of the survey; who are you? Why? Well, this is slow data, stuff which won’t change dramatically from one year to the next, so the results, in a sense are more a bedrock for the rest of the survey and, perhaps, not the most interesting bit. That comes in the next couple of weeks.

The most significant result for me in that section is result that produces the most boring graph; 100% of respondents were white. Now, this is Twitter, not real life and I know that not all Oxford fans are white, but maybe it illustrates that we’re failing to reach a reasonable chunk of our potential fanbase. You might write this off as wokey nonsense, and not believe that a diverse range of views will tend to produce better outcomes than everyone who thinks and acts the same. Maybe you’re not aware of the impact that a lack of diversity in the gene pool has had on our friends up the A420. The reality is that we have diverse owners and players, but not fans, which is a shame. Greater cohesion in relatively benign things like following a football club will have benefits more widely, I’m sure hardcore Brexiteers and Remainers have cheered together over the last five years despite their obvious differences. Why can’t this be true with mixing people with different cultural backgrounds? This isn’t something to ignore. On a purely practical level, we’re missing out on ticket sales and maybe even future players.

The gender split remains pretty static, 92% were male compared to 93% in 2019 when the survey first came out. We continue to get older; we had less responses in all age groups aged 35 and under, a massive 14% drop amongst 16-25 year olds, which may be a Euros effect, or perhaps I need to get myself on Tiktok. At the other end of the spectrum, there were nearly twice as many people aged over 56 than in 2019.

We appear to be getting more loyal; 47% said they go to more than 21 home games a year, up from 37% two years ago. Of course, none of us have been to 21 games in the last year and it might be that the perception of loyalty has grown given how we’ve all been stuck in front of our laptops all season. The number of away games people are getting to is gently falling – although two thirds of people get to 1-10 away games a season – pretty static since 2019 – the number not able to get to any away games has grown from 11% to 16% in the last two years. Again, who knows what the lockdown has done to our perceptions?

If you want to feel old, then as with last year, we have one fan who claims to have started watching us in the 2020s. That’s one person for whom Rob Duffy is a historical character, like Anne Boleyn or Jesus. Unsurprisingly, nearly half our fans started supporting during the 1980s and 1990s with another 21% from the 21st Century. Put another way, 2 in 10 Oxford fans never went to The Manor.

One of the most surprising statistics for me is that more than a third of our fans live more than 50 miles from the stadium. What’s more, there seems to be a gradual drift from the city and therefore the club. Simple things like house prices may be a factor, but it feels like a bit of a long term ticking timebomb. Either we work harder to recruit fans locally – those figures have crept up very slightly – or we have to invest in the club’s broad geographical spread to help ensure loyalty and connection is maintained when the visceral pleasures of attending a game are so far away.

So what conclusions can we draw? In truth, not many, these are trends to keep an eye on, in the micro-world of Oxblogger we’re getting older, we’re moving slightly further away and we’re less diverse, though success appears to be making us more loyal. Although the changes in the numbers are still small, overall, this isn’t healthy and if it is a reflection of the broader fanbase, then these aren’t figures to ignore.

Next week, we’ll reflect on the season just gone, how are you rating the squad, management and directors? Who are you favourite players? And what was your favourite moment of the season?

George Lawrence’s Summer Shorts – EB News

Sunday 4 July 2021

After KRob picked up a briefcase of used notes from a park bench as payment for Rob Atkinson on Saturday, it looks like he might go shopping. First in his sights appears to be Cheltenham defender Will Boyle. A new signing is always exciting, but word of warning; GLS once had a willy boil, and it was quite uncomfortable.

Monday 5 July 2021

Box to boxfile player; Jose’s son, John Mousinho has signed a new two-year contract with the club. Mous, who missed most of last season with injury, has just turned 37. He’s raring to go and, despite KRob’s assurances that it won’t be necessary, is excited to use his bus pass on the team coach next season.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Details of Rob Atkinson’s transfer to Bristol City have started to emerge; Oxford Mail report that the deal is worth upwards of £1.6m with a number of add ons including additional cash for appearances, unlimited texts and a six month subscription to Disney+.

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Chris Maguire is linking back up with MApp after signing for Lincoln City. The link up creates a deadly mutation which could wipe out everybody that stands in their way. If that’s hard to imagine, it’s like putting 60,000 people into a football stadium three times in a week when there’s a deadly virus in circulation.

Thursday 8 July 2021

You might rightly wonder what the point of GLS is; well you know what’s coming home? ‘It’s’ coming home. How does ‘It’s’ get home? By taxi. And who drives a taxi? Taxi drivers. And what website do taxi drivers read? Taxi Point, probably. They’ve just published their definitive list of footballers who became taxi drivers, a list which includes former Oxford players Trevor Aylott and Jimmy Glass. And that is why GLS exists.

Friday 9 July 2021

Sheffield Wednesday are lining up a move for QPR winger Mide Shodipo, who was on loan at Oxford last season. The Owls; named because they swallow their prey whole before regurgitating it whole in the form of a pellet, have been under a transfer embargo and are keen to get on with rebuilding after relegation. 

Saturday 10 July 2021

John Lundstram and Kemar Roofe played together for the first time since they won promotion against Wycombe in 2016, losing their pre-season friendly with Tranmere Rovers. Normally pre-season is synonymous with fresh players bronzed by three weeks in Dubai. However, due to travel restrictions, the players were looking a little more wan, Lundstram having had 2 weeks in a static caravan in Prestatyn while Roofe went to a B&B in Norfolk with intermittent wifi.

Sunday 11 July 2021

There’s nothing KRob loves more than failing to sign a Scottish Premier League full-back. This year he’s set his sights on not landing Jamie Robson from Dundee United. Robson will be replacing Josh Ruffels who joined Huddersfield Town recently. Ruffels made his debut against Harrogate Town and has stated his lofty ambitions for the season: “Trying to get in the team is the main aim for me this season.” he said.

Monday 12 July 2021

Ryan Williams has revealed one of the reasons for joining Oxford is the opportunity to travel as far away from the place as it’s possible to go. He’s keen to work his way back into the reckoning with the Australian national team.

Meanwhile, Dundee United Head Coach Tam Courts isn’t aware of any movement for Jamie Robson, but he can see why there’s interest calling Robson “easy on the eye and tenacious.” which also happens to be how GLS likes their lovers.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Headington United’s Sam Long is excited for the new season and determined to go one step further. It’s important that he constantly looks forward and doesn’t even think about last year. “I’m aware what was last year.” he said not thinking about last year “But it’s a fresh start, we need to all forget about last year. I can’t sit back on last year’s performances. Because I played well last year, doesn’t mean I can relax this year.”

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Bristol Live have run an exhaustive profile of their new signing Rob Atkinson revealing that he is a fluent French speaker who could fully converse with Derek Osei Yaw. That is, when Osei Yaw popped into the club to check if he had any post. Apparently at Eastleigh, Atkinson was labelled the ‘Vanarama Van Dijk’, which is a bit like when we used to call Phil Trainer the ‘Conference Claudio Cannigia’, but that wasn’t a good thing.

Thursday 15 July 2021

The club announced a new shirt sponsor, EB Charging, for the upcoming season after it was announced that the Thai Tourist Authority were standing down. With covid cases souring and the government now bored of trying to control it, the former sponsors have figured out that fans are more likely to visit the Amazing NHS than Amazing Thailand this year. 

Friday 16 July 2021

Oxford United won the annual shin kicking festival against Oxford City on Friday 3-2, with a late winner from The Bookie Monster Alex Gorrin. Karl Robinson wasn’t impressed, reassuringly describing the Yellows as being ‘miles away from a good team’. The team were resplendent in their new shirts, which have received a muted response from fans who believe they’re ‘a bit plain’. Apparently fans wanted to see a Da Vinci fresco of The Battle of Anghiari on the back or something.

Oh, and in ‘you are joking me’ news; after John Lundstram and Kemar Roofe, there are strong rumours the left back with the come to bed eyebrows George Baldock is heading for the Auld Firm as well. This time Celtic are after his services.

Saturday 17 July 2021

Oxford played their second friendly in two days with a behind-closed-doors game against plucky billionaires Salford City. The game was split into three sections lasting 60, 30 and 45 minutes, playing three different teams in the process. To add to the confusion, the teams operated an innovative scoring system with Oxford winning by a four golden goats, to Salford’s half a kumquat.

The Oxblogger vlog – Episode 1

They said it couldn’t be done; many said it shouldn’t be done. But here it is; Oxblogger and Dan Curtis take you through their favourite Oxford United UK full-international XI and the best overseas XI the club have ever had. Sorting the Diazs from the Doudous and your Maguires from your Mehmetis.

George Lawrence’s Summer Shorts – Bodin and Whyte Stuff

Sunday 27 June 2021

There’s nothing we don’t know about ex-Oxford coach Des Buckingham, apart from who he is, of course. He’s got the same no-news day vibe that compelled GLS to follow Jonte Smith’s Bermudan international career so closely a couple of years ago. Anyway, it turns out that Buckingham has won the A-League Grand Final with Melbourne City, which we’re guessing is some sort of newfangled esports competition. 

Monday 28 June 2021

Having flirted with the cosmopolitan continental sophistication synonymous with roll-neck jumpers, Galois cigarettes and troubling relationships with a teenage muses, it seems Chris Wilder is gradually returning to what the 1950s coffee houses of Budapest labelled the school of ‘szükséges pragmatizmus’ or necessary pragmatism. Rumours are that Wilder may be ‘not getting too far ahead of ourselves’ and building a group of honest lads at Barnsley.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

The summer ain’t the summer without KRob failing to land a Scottish defender. Rumours are that he’s interested in missing out on the signing of St Johnstone captain Jason Kerr, who last season became the first player for forty years, outside the auld firm, to lift both the Scottish League and FA Cup without being arrested on suspicion of theft.

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Billy Bodin has signed a one-year deal following his release from Preston North End. The signing is a bit of a surprise, not least to KRob who was offered a Bodin deal and thought he was getting a 20% discount voucher for bland over-priced middle class mail order clothes.

Thursday 1 July 2021

They said it couldn’t be done; but the club have managed to fit Leon Chambers-Parillon’s name onto the back of his shirt. They’ve been quick to capitalise on that by tying him up to a one-year extension to his contract

Friday 2 July 2021

Having planned a warm-weather training camp in Spain; travel restrictions have meant that the club have had to scale back and are now heading for a changeable weather training camp in Bournemouth. KRob will be staying in Derek Fazackerley’s caravan while the squad are all bringing their tents so they can finish their Duke of Edinburgh bronze awards. The club are hoping to line up a couple of friendlies against the kids playing World Cup Willy on the rutted grassless football pitch next to where the teenagers get smashed on cider. 

Saturday 3 July 2021

When Bill Gates started Microsoft, his goal was to have a PC on every desk and to kill millions of children in the third world with bogus vaccines, obviously. It’s this ambition that inspired Oxford to try and sell a centre-back to every mid-ranking club in the Championship. It comes around so quickly, but the Sell A Centre-Back festival was held on Saturday after Rob Atkinson became a Robin reliant and signed for Bristol City. After it was announced, Atkinson was photographed looking bemused while wearing so many different City tracksuits he could be playing in the unfamiliar role of club shop mannequin next season. 

Elsewhere, the only news that’s more frequent than the government sleep walking into another coronavirus wave; a man on Twitter claims that KRob is interested in bringing Gavin Whyte back to the club.

And, in a bald move, former Oxford skipper Adam Murray has become assistant coach at West Brom.

If you have done already, there’s still time to complete Oxblogger’s Absolute State of Oxford United Survey for 2021.

Midweek fixture – League 1 Kitwatch 2021/22

It wouldn’t be the summer without a slew of new kits. So, once again, I bring you the League 1 kit watch, every new shirt announcement from the third tier.

Accrington Stanley

Not yet announced.

Bolton Wanderers

Bolton clearly trying to channel the Oxford United promotion squad in 1996 with their new away kit.

Burton Albion

You have to admire Burton’s dedication to the relegated by March look.

Cambridge United

Good. god. A proper tale of three shirts at Cambridge United – the third, white, shirt is a cracker with the Hummel chevrons, the second kit is a reasonable effort with the diagonal pinstripe on the away shirt, but what the heck happened with the nine-designs-in-one effort on the home shirt?

Cheltenham Town

Crewe Alexandra

These graphical designs are a growing feature of shirt designs these days; even if does look like a physical manifestation of an anxiety attack. The away kit is from League 1 central designs.

Doncaster Rovers

If in doubt, reverse out. Doncaster have mucked around with their normal red and white hoops to come up with this smasher.

Fleetwood Town

Gillingham

Not yet announced.

Ipswich Town

This year’s Ipswich Adidas number is adorned by the logo of super fan Ed Sheeran, other than that, it’s basically every Ipswich shirt for the last thirty years. Good work on the away shirt.

Lincoln City

Last year Lincoln City were the dark horses in the division, this year will be a different proposition so they’re trying to throw a smokescreen over the issue by looking like a park team.

MK Dons

Morecambe

I’m a bit of a sucker for a sash and a decent sponsor’s font; so I this is a good effort from Morecambe even if the away shirt looks a bit of an after-thought.

Oxford United

Plymouth Argyle

League 1 teams love Puma, they offer an almost endless selection of colours and designs, and yet every single one seems to be the same.

Portsmouth

Pompey sublimating the sleeves of their new home shirt; Nike really showing how billions of pounds design expertise can take shirts to new levels of mediocrity.

Rotherham United

Pinstripe is a big trend this season, Rotherham’s new shirt is masterful in its simplicity. Once again, the away kit is a pretty generic effort. The subtle bra straps offer a nice feminine touch, though.

Sheffield Wednesday

Shrewsbury Town

Sunderland

Wigan Athletic

Not yet announced.

Wimbledon

Not yet announced.

Wycombe Wanderers

Not yet announced.