Before the mid-eighties there were two things I knew about Oxford United’s history from my dad; the first was that the journey from Abingdon to the Manor Ground in the 60s was so epic you had to take a packed lunch to survive it, the second was The Blackburn Game.
My dad eulogised about The Blackburn Game as the high watermark in Oxford’s history. Blackburn Rovers, 1st Division giants chasing the title, playing Oxford United; Football League novices when even getting into the Football League was a miracle due to its arcane election system. In front of a crowd of 21,700 at the Manor – a terrifying number in a ground that had a capacity of less than half that when it closed – Oxford ran out 3-1 winners. There’s a brilliant account of the game here
All this was pretty much swept away with the eighties glories, consigned to people like my dad comparing pretty much everything that happened to The Blackburn Game. which is a bit sad because the Pathe News footage of the game is fantastic.
Anyway, they’re back, Blackburn that is, but few will look back on this in a similar vein. I almost see this as being a ‘free’ game after the trials of recent weeks. We’ve proved our point in the Cup against Swansea, if we win then the adventure continues, if we lose we can leave with our heads held high.
Old game of the day
Ladies and gentlemen; The Blackburn Game.