The football season, it is often said, is a marathon not a sprint. Oxford fans know this more than most, its an excuse regularly peddled by many a Us manager during a typical early autumn slump (which is usually followed by the Christmas rally and the winter meander).

If this is true, then like the London Marathon, this season has a staggered start. The Football League are the ‘club runners’ starting today, the Premiership, starting in a couple of weeks, are the little Ethiopians who impassively break world records more often then they break sweat. Meanwhile us Conference boys, who join the party next week, are the fun runners full of people in fancy dress.

Worse than those nutcases, who at least know they’re not very good, Oxford, are those who have the expensively bought pristine matching Nike running gear. They look the part, but you suspect that they’ll be the ones weaving down the final straight with their hair stuck to their face before stumbling over the line shortly before the clock ticks over to seven hours.

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