Midweek fixture: Panini Cheapskates’ Best Oxford United drawings

If you ever feel a bit sad, there’s worse you can do than check out Panini Cheapskates on Twitter who specialise in hand drawn football stickers. They claim to be bad at drawing, but that’s what’s so good about them. And, they’re local, from East Oxford. A couple of weeks ago they started drawing Oxford legends, which you can, and should, buy here. These are my favourites.

Matt Murphy

2000/01 was our worst season. It didn’t deter me from thinking recovery was around the corner. Playing Notts County and on our best run of the season. We went two up, Matt Murphy rounding the keeper to prod home his second, nearly colliding with the post as he did. He looked into the London Road and gave me what can only be described as the ‘come to bed eyes’ depicted here. We lost the lead, and the game on our way to relegation.

Mickey Lewis

I once drove past The Manor, Mickey Lewis was coming out from the shop in the garage outside the London Road. He had a copy of The Sun and was eating a chocolate bar, if he didn’t have a packet of fags, he should have. He looked like this, surprisingly similar Josh Widdicombe. Many years later I was at a wedding with Mickey Lewis which ended with him in the bar telling the story of our 3-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers in 1996 while dry-humping a chair.

Alan Judge

I was once chatting idly with a friend of a friend (of a friend) in the pub. Somewhere along the line it came out that I supported Oxford. She, struggling to have anything meaningful to say, but said she had once seen Oxford at Wembley. An old boyfriend had taken her. She got free tickets because he worked for the club, she said. His name was Alan, Alan Judge. I’ve got to say, having seen Judge here, I can know what she saw in him. Sexy.

Maurice Evans

Imagine being manager of Oxford United’s greatest ever team on its greatest ever day. Imagine all the credit for Oxford United’s team on their greatest ever day going to the opposition’s manager. While that sinks in, imagine in your haste you hand your greatest personal moment on the greatest day in the club’s history to the club’s physio, allowing him to pick up your medal. It’ll probably give you a clue as to why Maurice Evans he’s so angry.

Jim Magilton

Jim Magilton was such a mercurial talent, he could run games from midfield with his graceful touch and rangey passing. He was integral to our survival in the Championship in the early 90s. Days after orchestrating a stunning 3-2 FA Cup giant killing at Leeds, it was announced that Magilton was moving to Southampton. Here, Panini Cheapskates have caught the look he gave when he saw how much they were paying him.

Paul Moody

Paul Moody looked like he hated football. Half his Oxford career was spent with Nigel Jemson, who thought nothing of screaming in his face in front of the London Road. After winning promotion in 1996 Moody went to Fulham. five years later, with his body falling apart, Firoz Kassam paid a stupid amount of money to bring him back to appease increasingly angry fans. This is very much the face Moody would have pulled when he was told about the deal.

Roy Burton

Roy Burton kept goal for Oxford for nearly ten years. It was a formative experience standing in the London Road, gazing at his bum crack poking out the top of his shorts as he hoofed the ball downfield. Burton seemed to be a permanent fixture at The Manor, then one-day he was gone. Caught here, is his expression when he found out he’d spent his entire career showing his arse off to the crowd.

Peter Rhodes-Brown

Peter Rhodes-Brown was a graceful master on the wing and a magician with a dead ball. Sadly Rosie’s career was dogged by injury and he missed the Milk Cup Final in 1986. Despite retiring early, he stuck with us as community officer, radio commentator and general all-round good guy. What you see here is the tired look of despair of a man who has spent the last 30 years with 3,000 people singing ‘Chelsea reject’ at him just before 4pm every other weekend.

Paul Powell

Paul Powell was such a talent I thought he’d play for England. There are few players who could almost choose when to beat a team, fewer still playing for Oxford. There was talk of him moving to the Premier League, but never made it and his career petered out. This is the face of a man who thought smoking fags in Didcot was a good career move, but is wrong.

Wingers Week Part 1: The rise and fall of The Glory Years

Sometimes we do things without knowing why. Why are we loyal to friends? We just are. Why do people fight for their country? They just do. These are things we take for granted. They are embedded deep within our psyche. Some Oxford fans will be wondering why they are feeling so keenly the news that Alfie Potter will be out for the rest of the season. The answer is simple; the Oxford fans’ love of a winger is deep within their DNA.

Many clubs have built mythologies around particular shirt numbers or positions; Manchester United’s number 7, Newcastle’s number 9, Brazil’s number 10. Although we’ve never seemed to make much of it, Oxford fans just cannot get enough of a man marauding down the wing with a trick or two down his shorts.

‘Chicken’ George Lawrence arrived from Southampton with Trevor Hebberd in 1982. George was a homoerotic dream, his shorts were like underpants, his enormous thighs, greased up, were like beacons, particularly under The Manor’s floodlights. He was like a young Emile Heskey, those of you who only know the old Emile Heskey may not consider this a compliment. But George, like Emile, was quick, muscular and unpredictable.

When he first arrived at The Manor he outshone the more subtle Hebberd, who eventually established his legend in a man-of-the-match performance in the Milk Cup Final. In a sense, Lawrence’s unpredictability was his undoing. Initially it was a weapon that defenders couldn’t deal with, however, better players learnt to back off him a little and give him the space to make a mistake. He never made the top grade with Oxford, but was very much part of The Glory Years’ story.

Kevin Brock had much of what Lawrence lacked; guile, craft and a metronomic ability to get the ball in the box. When I first started watching Oxford I thought every club had a Brock, and an Andy Thomas – local players with bags of class and ability. I assumed that was how it worked. 

Brock will be most remembered for a back-pass which allowed Everton a League Cup equaliser triggering for them a period of sustained success which included the League title, FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup. But, his ignominious legacy overshadows the fact he was was an England Under-21 that won the 1984 European Championships. Plus, of course, he wore the number 11 in the Milk Cup Final. He even played in the Premier League with Newcastle in 1994 having been signed by Jim Smith. I only mention this because it surprised me.

Brock followed Jim Smith to QPR in 1987. Suddenly Oxford were without a regular winger, Peter Rhodes-Brown picked up the baton briefly, but dropped it on his foot forcing him into another 6 months on the sidelines. Rosie’s last goal for the club was in a massive goal-burp 4-4 draw against Chelsea. After that he disappeared never to be seen again.

Following our inevitable relegation from Division 1, the deluded yellows started rebuilding for a second crack at The Glory Years. It was never going to be the same. One of the champagne signings designed to catapult us back into the big time was Paul Simpson. His arrival coincided with my Ambivalence Years, where a lack of money, transport and better things to do meant my visits to the Manor were relatively few. Simpson scored a goal every three games over three years and was, y’know, good.