George Lawrence’s Shorts: Parker, Pens

Saturday 24 August 2019

Like your gran after she’s eaten her bodyweight in Turkish Delight, there was some pretty obnoxious Gas around on Saturday. The club put on extra security for Matty Taylor’s return to his former club, Bristol Rovers. Fantasies around Taylor’s return turned out to be just that as he limped off after half-an-hour and we went down 3-1

Monday 26 August 2019

Like a railway announcer during autumn leaf fall; KRob has pinpointed why we’ve gone 3 games without a win – the wrong kind of goals. Our problem is that we’re scoring great goals, not scruffy ones, ‘if you take away the goals, we dominated’ he said possibly ignoring a key aspect of professional football.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Oxford entertained East London millennial snowflakes Mi’Woh in the Type 2 Diabetes Cup on Tuesday. After going 2-0 down, two super-late goals from Jedward orphan Mark Sykes and James Henry forced the game to penalties which were won by Jose’s son John Mousinho who broke the net to settle the tie. They didn’t like that, but they don’t care, though they really do, because they’re actually very sensitive.  

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Dean Saunders is a former Oxford United goal machine turned TalkSport shock jock – the shock being how little he knows about football. On Wednesday Deano followed a well trodden path for Oxford goalscoring legends like Steve Anthrobus and John Durnin by being sent to prison, this time after refusing to take a breath test when stopped by the police. Saunders is appealing the decision on the grounds of diminished intelligence. 

In less incarcerated news, The Type 2 Diabetes Cup draw had an extra shot of insulin in it when we drew bubble-based buffoons We’stam at home in the next round

Thursday 29 August 2019

Former Leicester City player and Kidlington local Garry Parker, has been appointed Head of Setting Up The Reserves To Play Like The Opposition. The new role will be a blessed relief to Parker, who – if his club photo is anything to go by – got lost on a holiday trek through the jungle wearing just shorts and a pair of flip flops this summer only to be found looking tired and bewildered by local tribesmen.

This year’s Tsun Dai Remind Me Why We Signed Him has been announced as Kash Siddiqi. Siddiqi is a 33-year-old Pakistani international who will instantly be sent out on loan and forgotten. A sub-continental Tony McMahon. 

Friday 30 August 29

Tomorrow sees the visit of Coventry City in which Oxford are hoping to break a losing league streak longer than Jimmy Hill’s chin. Meanwhile in last night’s Six Minute 29 Second Fans Forum on Radio Oxford it was Tiger who came to tea. On the stadiumsituation nothing has changed since the club were asked about the stadiumsituation last week, but Mr Chairman did imply another signing might be on his way.

West Ham United 1 Yellows 0

I’ve found that I’ve settled into a routine when it comes to watching football at the weekend. Match of the Day with all its Premiership hubris is good Saturday night viewing. The Football League Show is best kept for Sundays.

The Premiership is the equivalent of watching a Hollywood blockbuster. Its all big explosions and grand stunts based on a contrived two-dimensional storyline. It’s the weekend escape from the trudge of the working week, enjoyable escapism that offers little beyond basic entertainment.

Conversely, the Football League is a warming award winning documentary you stumble across on BBC4. With a week of work ahead, it reminds you that life has meaning and purpose allowing you to head for bed with a renewed energy for life.

Worlds apart then, and yet, we arrive at Upton Park and there’s something very familiar about it. It’s the vultures circling in the sky. They were at the Kassam the day we went down, packing the press box looking for a good, solid story of human grief.

There is much hand-wringing around the Boleyn Ground too. The media have decided West Ham are this year’s club in crisis. Uncle Avram Grant skulks around like a character from a film who everyone thinks eats children but turns out to be a kindly misunderstood old man looking for his long lost granddaughter. There is misery and the whiff of failure all around.

Of course, in reality, they don’t know they’re born. We’re playing without fear, they were weighed down with it. We walk away with our heads held high, they walk away in shame. So, whilst they go into the next round of the cup, our stock is still soaring. Better a losing Oxford fan than a winning West Ham fan, which says it all really.

West Ham preview

Round the corner from where my sister lived was a large but unremarkable Edwardian house. Unremarkable except for the bars on the windows, the black Land Rover Discovery, the monographed electric gates and the wrought iron fence with gold leaf. If it didn’t have gargoyles, they were probably on order.

Apparently the family entombed inside were related to the Krays and are under constant police and/or gangland protection. The house, nestling amongst an anonymous North London suburb, screams “LOOK AT ME, I AM RICH, RESPECT ME”.

It’s brash and ostentatious, tasteless and crass; it aims to impress through intimidation but serves only to make you snort through your nose at its ridiculousness; like the daft castle turrets that stand outside Upton Park.

This is what I like about W‘stam. In a world of foreign billionaire owners, global brand builders and supposed cosmopolitan sophisticates, they will always be the crass Englander.

The stadium is a classic English standard, whatever you say about the individuals they’ve produced in the last 15 years, they’re amongst the finest English footballers of their generation. They’re even owned by a couple of sleazy pornographers. I find myself warming to them all the time.

The start of the season has had a comforting and familiar timbre about it. The league has started with a gently positive air of expectation about it, a relief from the ulcer inducing gut wrenching desperation of recent seasons. The reward of the ‘ammers in the Rumbelows Cup 2nd Round is one of those early season treats that give you a satisfied glow of being back in your rightful homeland away from the ruffians and blaggers of the Conference. Like standing on a bus, looking down the blouse of a pretty commuter, a gentle thrill that you know isn’t going anywhere, but gives you a brief distraction from the greyness around you*.

We’ll enjoy it, whatever happens.

* not that I’d know, I’ve never commuted on a bus.