FA Cup

Finding out more about Oxford United

Newcastle United visit the Kassam Stadium in the FA Cup 4th Round. With the Magpies previous encounter occurring in 1992/93 season, the two sides are relatively unfamiliar to each other. Now feels like the right time to find out more about the team from the university city.

Oxford United were founded in 1893 as Headington United. Changing their name in 1960 for unknown reasons. It is presumed that the name change wasn’t an attempt to raise the status of the club by incorporating the famous city of Oxford into the title.

It wouldn’t be, however, until 1962 that Oxford would finally join the Football League. This was after winning the Southern Football Division and gaining election to the Football League. Oxford began life in the Football League with successive 18th place finishes in the old Fourth Division. However, in this time, Oxford became the first side in the Fourth Division to get to the 6th Round of the FA Cup. This is the furthest they have ever progressed in the tournament. This will be a record that Rafa Benitez’s men will hope is not broken. In 1965, they achieved promotion to the Third Division. It would not take long for United to gain another promotion winning the Third Division in 1968. They would remain in the Second Division until relegation in 1976.

However, in 1982, Oxford found themselves in severe debt. Businessman Robert Maxwell saved the club but proposed a merger with Reading, unpopular with fans. Eventually, the merger was called off due to the protest from fans of both clubs. In 1984, under Jim Smith, they won the Third Division, they would the next go on to win the Second Division to send them into the First Division for the first time.

Oxford would avoid relegation on the last day of the season beating Arsenal 3-0. Furthermore, they would go onto win the League Cup in 1986. Beating Queens Park Rangers in the final at Wembley 3-0. The scorers on that historic day for Oxford were Trevor Hebberd, Ray Houghton and Jeremy Charles. Oxford would have qualified for the UEFA Cup through the win but couldn’t enter because of the ban on English clubs in Europe.

Oxford were relegated in 1988 and then again in 1994. The club then hit financial problems meaning they were unable to pay for their new stadium seeing it suspended. After a long campaign to try to save Oxford, the majority stake was bought for just a £1 by Firoz Kassam. He managed to reduce debt on the stadium and continued work. However, on the pitch, Oxford were in freefall and in 2001 were relegated to Division 3. They began their next season at the Kassam Stadium where they currently reside. However, in 2006, after 44 years in the Football League, they were relegated to the Conference.

In 2010, Oxford returned to the Football League after beating York at Wembley inPlay-Off final. They would remain in League 2 until last season when Michael Appleton led them to promotion. On top of this, Oxford featured in the final of the League Trophy but were beaten by League One Barnsley. They currently find themselves in 12th place in League One.

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