Bristol Rovers wrap

Most attractive team in English football? The Telegraph article is a linear story of cultural revolution that edits the mess of last year and implies the job is complete. Maybe the journalist, Jim White, believes it, or maybe it was some background PR related to the game against Bristol Rovers, and maybe Dave Jones is involved in fluffing his media mates with stories of our derring do. Still, most modern media really only exists to reinforce your existing prejudices, so we’ll take it.

Oddest football club in Britain? Without doubt. I’ve said before; only three teams have played in the top flight, won a major trophy and fallen out of the Football League over one generation. Luton’s demise was via nefarious means, Wimbledon’s identity was stolen from them, we just fell apart through our own incompetence.

Accolades of our attractiveness aren’t easy for a club like us. It’s like getting a new pair of shoes; they wear you more than you wear them. Could we settle into the idea that something is happening and deliver to order on TV?

The result was undoubtedly the one we wanted. The best thing we can do is tick it off and move on. Effective? Yes. Enjoyable? In a League 2 kind of way. But attractive? Not in the classic sense. We looked shaky at the back and occassionally  overwhelmed in midfield – the impact of losing Mullins and O’Dowda. Sercombe’s sending off was the result of a general lack of control and discipline in midfield. A systemic problem rather than a moment of madness. With a good referee making the right decisions, it could have been a different story.

The exception came in the only moment that transcended the League 2 fair on show. The club would probably do well to be planning for a post-Roofe world already. I can’t imagine a long-distant wallop on TV is the only thing that alerts a club to his talents, but his quality is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. A decent-sized bid at Christmas might be enough; by which point we should have a good feeling for whether this is a sustained challenge or not.

But, chalk it up; Rovers will probably be expecting the play-offs this season, so this is good result against a decent side. It also scrubs away the lost points from our opening day draw with Crawley. Promotion, maybe better, is on, even if it’ll sometimes get ugly.

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Oxblogger

Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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