George Lawrence’s Shorts: A level plaguing field

Saturday 7 March 2020

The chisel-faced Ant and Dec, Sam Ricketts and Dean Whitehead were left fuming after Josh Vela was sent off at 2-0 up resulting in a dramatic turnaround and a 3-2 win for Oxford over Shrewsbury. Ricketts was left stoney-faced; which was nothing to do with the decision, it’s just Ricketts’ granite like features.

Sunday 8 March 2020

The Trolls’ Troll, Chris Maguire, claimed in the Sunderland programme on Saturday that Oxford beating Newcastle in 2017 in the FA Cup – a game he was substituted in and made no notable contribution to – was his all- time career highlight.  

Monday 9 March 2020

Sulky sixth former Rob Dickie is looking at his options after he’s finished his A Levels. His parents want him to go to Oxford, but it looks like Southampton, Burnley or Leeds may give him a decent offer

One of the county’s most recognisable footballers has made a come-and-get-me-plea to KRob. Finn Tapp, who played in the hole at Love Island, announced he was leaving Oxford City to pursue a career in vacuous anonymity. What would keep him in the game? Playing for Oxford United of course.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

We love Hide and Seek Tuesday; where Oxford fans who criticise the club for lacking ambition and investment find their best hiding spots while the club announce its latest set of financial results. In them, the club revealed that it lost £4m last year and was £18m in debt

Elsewhere, orphaned Jedward Mark Sykes has been called up by Northern Ireland for their Euro 2020 play-off against Bosnia & Herzegovina. Probably.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

In the wake of a global pandemic the PFA have issued advice to clubs to not share bottles. The CoVid19 is a respiratory virus which is particularly dangerous for the old and infirm. The club have issued an edict to the players to follow government advice, principally to protect Derek Fazackerley.  

Thursday 12 March 2020

Oxford United’s head of coins, Tim Davies, who looks like he’s trying to build the Channel Tunnel with a knife and fork, was on the Nine Minute Three Seconds Fans Forum. He said the main difference between the 2018/19 accounts and the previous year was a £2m difference in player trading. Shocking to find that the value of John Lundstram and Marvin Johnson leaving was not matched by the departures of Dwight Tiendelli and Agon Mehmeti.  

Friday 13 March 2020

Woo hoo! It’s football tomorrow with the visit of MK Dons, we’re so excited a plague of locusts wouldn’t keep us away.

Oh.

George Lawrence’s Shorts: Saturday afternoon takeaway

Saturday 29 February

Failure in the face of uncompromising hubris, blind self-belief and arrogant self-confidence. If only there were an analogy to describe Brexit Sol Campbell’s approach to managing Southend United. Henry James’ James Henry scored a penalty and Matty Taylor added a second to see us win 2-1 on Saturday.

Sunday 1 March

Brexit Sol wasn’t too upset by Saturday’s defeat, in fact, the footballing genius planned it that way. “Everyone stuck to the game plan” he said. Southend are now 17 points from safety; Southend by name, south end by nature. 

Monday 2 March

Facing his first blank week since before humanity was threatened by virulent killer diseases and cataclysmic weather conditions, KRob’s looking forward to sitting in his pants watching back-to-back Come Dine With Me on More4

He can’t rest on his laurels though; The Football League website have spent up to 8 seconds dreaming up an arbitrary evaluation Cameron Brannagain. The midfielder, who is interesting Leeds, is worth between £3-5m. So expect a bid of £75 and a bar of Toblerone to be accepted in May. 

Meanwhile, CoventryLive have plugged all their data into their ‘supercomputer’ – a Vic20 with added RAM pack – to predict that Coventry City will win League 1 with Oxford finishing 5th.

Tuesday 3 March

Sulky sixth former Rob Dickie has become Head Boy at Oxford after KRob gave him the captain’s armband for the rest of the season. The role affords him a lot of responsibility including a weekly evening hot chocolate in KRob’s office after his violin lesson. KRob’s promising to teach him how to play his oboe.

Wednesday 4 March

The chisel faced Ant and Dec, Sam Ricketts and Dean Whitehead have been talking about their lifelong friendship, which has now become a managerial partnership at Shrewsbury. Deano thinks players today are pampered and that his time at Oxford under Ian Atkins, with the likes of Julian Allsop around, made him the man he is today. “Pah” he might have said dismissively “Bananas weren’t for eating in them days, I can tell you.”

Thursday 5 March

Professional broomhandle, Niall, don’t call me Niall, it’s Niall McWilliams was the man in the hot seat for the Five Minute* Fans Forum on Radio Oxford. Talking in that controlled seething headmasterly way which makes Jerome Sale feel like he’s been caught spray painting a phallus on the wall of the science block, Coronavirus is at the top of the fans’ concerns. McWilliams confirmed that the club are working closely with Uncle Firoz to provide basic sanitary conditions at the stadium. 

There was also a question about the sold-out Wycombe game in a couple of weeks. Fans who have missed out have been up in arms after the club instigated a deeply unfair ‘first come, first served’ system. Some fans the club should allocate tickets to fans who can’t get organised to buy them, but really really want them anyway.

* and six seconds

Friday 6 March

It’s a light entertainment derby tomorrow as the chisel faced Ant and Dec come up against the marshmallow faced James Corden tomorrow. Sam Ricketts is trying to solve a goalscoring crisis which sees The Shrews second lowest scorers in the division. He’s planning to play with three strikers, Ian Atkins will be appalled

Meanwhile, Oxford council have announced their latest step fighting climate change, pandemics, Brexit and the rise of extremism. They’re putting new listening benches in Headington which will have wind up, solar powered listening devices featuring, amongst other things, a brief history of Oxford United. The benches will sooth people when the giant fireball that’s probably coming our way rips through humanity.

George Lawrences Shorts: Matts Gloss

Saturday 15 February 2020

There was heartbreak for doe-eyed cash puppy Stewart Donald as Oxford United went down 1-0 to Sunderland whose owner, doe-eyed cash puppy Stewart Donald, was heartbroken by the news that his beloved Oxford United went down 1-0 to Sunderland.

Sunday 16 February 2020

We don’t mean to be the Jaja Binks of Oxford United by ruining a decent narrative, but Kilmarnock’s Stephen O’Donnell has been talking about his reasons for turning down a move to us during the transfer window. In it, he reveals himself to be a sentient human being demonstrating the ability to make a reasoned judgement based on a variety of competing factors.

On the other hand – JUST BUY ‘IM, WE CAN’T AFFORD ‘IM, WE’VE GOT NO AMBITION, and so on.

Monday 17 February 2020

GLS remembers with great fondness the collapse of the iconic pick n mix  conglomerate Woolworths. With prices plummeting, the memory of gorging on cut price confectionery remains to this day with the vague taste of cola bottles still accompanying every burp. The joys of running the aisles picking up cut-priced chickaboos, Airfix kits and Ah Ha postcards while shop workers cried over their impending redundancy was recalled with the news that Southampton and Burnley are keen to snap up sulky sixth former Rob Dickie while Leeds are monitoring Cameron Brannagan-again

Tuesday 18 February 2020

“…And that’s the story of a parasitic football club leaching off a poorer one, acquiring its valuable assets and selling them off for its own gain, leaving the original club destitute and homeless.”

“Thanks grandad for telling me about Kingstonian and Wimbledon, now tell me a story of hypocrisy.”

“Well…”

We were visited by institutional bullying apologists Wimbledon on Tuesday who were treated to a close up display of Oxford in full-flight. Two goals from Nathan Holland and one from James Henry were bookended by two Matty Taylor goals in a 5-0 rout.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

The Whoscored website, an entrapment device for involuntary celebate men everywhere, have taken an arbitrary set of spuriously collected numbers to decide our best players now we’re seventy percent into the season. This is a crucial poll to attract clickbait advertising pictures of semi-famous women ‘like you’ve never seen them before’. 

Jose’s Son John Mousinho, Cameron Brannagain, Sulky Sixth Former, Grange Hill’s Rob Dickie, the stepover kid and non-Oxford playing Tariqe Fosu and Henry James’ James Henry are our current top 5.

Elsewhere, former commercial director and chum of doe-eyed cash puppy Stewart Donald and moccasin wearing Charlie Methven, Tony Davison has got a job at Northampton Rugby Club. He was most recently at Sunderland where his biggest achievement was attracting the Spice Girls to do a gig at The Stadium of Light.

Thursday 20 February 2020

It was the Seven Minute Fifteen Second Fans Forum on Radio Oxford on Thursday with Tiger having a grrreat time in the hot seat. In it he confirmed that the club had made three bids for right-backs in the transfer window and that Shandon The Baptiste and the stepover kid Tariqe Fosu wanted to go to Brentford once a bid had come in.

So apart from the cup runs, giant killings, multi-million pound talent pipeline, play-off push and training ground, what has Tiger ever done for us?

Sort out the stadiumsituation? 

Oh, fark off.

Friday 21 February 2020

It’s Ipswich Town tomorrow, a fixture that hasn’t been played for decades. The club have been taking part in some groundbreaking research into the impact of sleep on performance with the club’s mystic soothsayer Gary Bloom. KRob thinks sleep could be the key to unlocking even more magical powers from the players.

As they say, you snooze, you lose. Wait, hang on.

George Lawrence’s Shorts: For Leven’s sake

Saturday 16 November 2019

If you’re an Oxford fan; when the fun stops, don’t stop. There was no game on Saturday, but the draw for the MySpace.com Trophy more than made up for that. Like the FA Cup draw being on BBC prime time TV, this was given all the prestige it deserved; being made during a 2003 re-run of Top Gear on Dave. We play Exeter away.

Elsewhere chisel faced millennium guy Dean Whitehead left his role at Huddersfield to become coach at Shrewsbury, who are managed by chisel faced millennium guy Sam Ricketts.

KRob had no one to talk to, so he talked to the Blood Red Podcast. He talked about coaching Ben ‘Woody’ Woodburn, Trent ‘Trento’ Alexander-Arnold and Deli ‘Delo’ Ali. It’s so difficult to keep track of all his previous charges, if the players KRob coached were his children, he’d give Boris Johnson a run for his money.

Monday 17 November 2019

When he played for Oxford his head wrote cheques his legs couldn’t cash, but that won’t worry Armand Gnadulliet, who is being linked with Derby County and been added to a team of the season in front of a yellow wall of James Henry, Cameron Brannagan and Tariqe Fosu.

Meanwhile, he may look like he’s just been caught smoking behind the music block, but The Mirror has hailed sulky sixth former Rob Dickie as the new Harry Maguire

Tuesday 18 November 2019

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice; KRob has asked for a GoPro and a Stretch Armstrong for Christmas, or failing that Matty Taylor. It’s one of three areas he feels need addressing in the January transfer window. 

The claim that Oxford United are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen is a bit of a stretch. But it turns out we do effectively run New Zealand. After the revelation that Ceri Evans is the secret behind the All Blacks miserable semi-final exit in the Rugby World Cup, former Oxford coach Des Buckingham has been talking about taking the footballing Kiwis he’s leading to next year’s Olympics.

Wednesday 19 November 2019

The FA Cup is full of magic, as Walsall and Darlington fought it out for the right to host the Mighty Yellows in the second round. A wave of the wand and slight of hand resulted in all skill and entertainment disappearing in a puff of smoke. In the end Walsall triumphed 1-0.

Elsewhere, a penalty shoot out between Taunton and Truro nearly toppled Oxford’s record after it took thirty-four kicks to settle Southern League Challenge Cup tie.

Thursday 20 November 2019

It was the Six Minute Forty-Six Second Fans Forum with marketing hotrod Matt ‘Kenny’ Everett on Thursday. He answered fans questions in the best possible taste. He announced the intention to have a Student Night in the New Year. The themed game will serve Snakebite for £1, have discounts for dungarees, while a Levellers tribute act will play at half-time. The concern is that with the game kicking off at 7.45pm, it may be a struggle for many of the students to get out of bed in time. 

Friday 21 November 2019

It’s Mark Rawle Day tomorrow as we’re back in action against Southend who are managed by stable genius Sol Campbell. Campbell famously said how easy it is to manage in the lower leagues. His job must be getting easier every week as the Shrimpers plummet down the table.

Meanwhile, Tap-in Tarquin, Peter Leven is on the verge of the Champions League with outsiders Dynamo Brest in Belarus where he now coaches. Leven compares the achievement to Leicester winning the Premier League. Well, we know how much Peter Leven likes a long shot.

Match wrap: Bristol Rovers 3 Oxford United 1

For all the brouhaha around Matty Taylor’s return to Bristol Rovers with the personal security and amnesty bins, the real issue for Oxford United was probably nearly two hundred miles away.

Curtis Nelson hasn’t started a game at Cardiff City, he’s been sat on the bench waiting his chance. Meanwhile, after an encouraging start, we’re shipping goals like there’s no tomorrow – nine in a week. It’s possible his greatest impact this season is our defensive problems.

Although we can’t really hope to replace Nelson like-for-like, his departure was no surprise. It was nearly a year ago that Karl Robinson took the captaincy off him because of his reluctance to sign a new contract. Even before then, it was difficult to see him; given that it’s the most important contract decision of his career, choosing us over a chance to play in a higher division.

John Mousinho’s age is similarly predictable, age is like that. He was brought in principally as an emergency cover for Nelson when he damaged knee ligaments in 2017 – a leader without doubt – it’s clear he would have physical limitations. Also, let’s not forget that Robinson didn’t really have him in his plans, offering him a coaching role during the summer.

Rob Dickie is at the other end of the spectrum; an excellent prospect and developing well, but with some way to go before becoming the commanding presence of his defensive partner from last year.

In fact, after nearly 18 months in charge, Elliot Moore is the first centre-back Karl Robinson has signed. And that was days before the start of the season. Moore may become the towering defensive unit we’re looking for. He’s certainly got the physicality, but there’s more to being a top class centre-back than being called Elliot and having a Leicester and Oxford connection.

The issue goes further; our first choice full-backs are Josh Ruffels and Chris Cadden. Ruffels is a converted midfielder and, although I haven’t seen much of Cadden, I can see what Radio Oxford match summariser Steve Kinniburgh means when he says he prefers Cadden’s attacking threat to his defensive capabilities. Few will want a return to the days of Hunt and Newey, but something a little more defensively minded – think Ford and Robinson – might give more confidence. Or perhaps the Baldock and Skarz approach of one bombing forward while the other provides cover.

Whereas in midfield we’ve built a bit of a dynasty from Lundstram to Ledson to Brannagan, in defence we seem to have ignored all the signs that we were always likely to run into difficulties. It’s a far cry from 2016 when we released Jake Wright because we had too many central defenders.

Perhaps Karl Robinson has been too eager to please, bringing in exciting talent like Gavin Whyte or Tariqe Fosu, and trying to fulfil the endless bleating about needing a ‘twenty goals a season striker’, while ignoring the more mundane realities of our defensive capabilities.

There’s more to come from Dickie and Moore, but there’s little cover if that goes wrong. Mousinho can’t play every game and it isn’t his best position anyway. I still think we’ll surprise the good teams with our attacking threat and overwhelm the poorer ones. However, beating teams like us, like Bristol Rovers and Burton, are going to need more balance between our attacking threat and defensive ability. Everyone is so similar, the wins will come in the margins.

There’s still a week to go until the transfer window closes but those who are available are likely to be in the mould of Moore or Mousinho – youngsters looking for game-time, or older players who are moving to the margins of their squad. It looks like we’ll have to deal with what we have. It’s time to get organised.