WE WOZ MANORETTES

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WE WOZ MANORETTES

(nostalgia gone mad)

We’d started to go to the Manor in 1969 when Oxford had first gained promotion to the 2nd division. My friend’s dad, had played for Headington Utd years before and really got us keen with his ironic comments during the game, I think he must have been a forerunner of the current Beech Rd crowd, although we used to stand in the Osler Rd then.

Her dad chatted to Jack Kersey, a director at the time, about us becoming Manorettes and a few weeks later we received letters saying we had been accepted.

So at the age of 15 we were kitted out for free with our Gold and Black blazers, black flared trousers with a gold stripe down the side (eek!) and black PVC MAC (double eek!) for the wet weather. We were very excited when we turned up for our first game and were posted together with our piles of programmes at the Cuckoo Lane entrance. We were always together which was just as well because none of the others spoke to us, I think they all came from the same school and already knew each other.

We were desperate to get on the Beech Rd or London Rd entrances where the players came in but we only managed it once and that was when Trevor Francis was playing for Birmingham. He was a hot topic at the time and the same age as us and we thought he was cute from his photos in the papers. But when he walked in, all we noticed was his schoolboy acne. How fickle we were – it was back to fancying Dave Roberts after that.

I read in the ‘Boys from up the Hill’ that the Manorettes used to parade round the pitch but they must have stopped doing that by the time we had joined. We were purely programme sellers dressed in club colours.

Life as a Manorette was usually uneventful but after a few years the violence that had filtered into football was more noticeable and we sometimes felt a nasty undercurrent, generally depending on the opposition. The worst case we encountered was when Villa visited. We were on the Cuckoo Lane end again when a gang of lads, dressed up in punky gear with ‘Alice Cooper’ eyes surrounded us. They were in a circle and started bouncing us from one to another and tried to take our money. The Police soon came and pushed them away and started to lead us away to safety when some of them dashed at us and tried to grab us again. There was a scuffle and one of the Policemen was hit and hit back too. Eventually we got away and were marched with 2 coppers each side round to the program office where we were locked in until the crowd was under control.

And that was that. We didn’t go again as Manorettes, we were older by then, due to go to University with boyfriends and we didn’t need that sort of hassle or scare.

Manorettes selling programmes on the Cuckoo Lane

So the years passed, we both moved away, got married, had kids, got divorced and moved back but not necessarily in that order. Oxford had their glory years in the first division and won the Milk Cup while we were absent, but we just sort of looked up their fortunes via a weekly glance at the league tables.

Then about 3 years ago we got chatting about the old days and the idea came that we ought to go back just one more time. I can’t remember the first game back, it was a night game and I think we won but I do remember how strange it seemed. We didn’t know any of the players, the ground had changed an awful lot and yet there was still a feeling of familiarity.

So the one time visit ended up with us attending most of the remaining home games that season and buying season tickets ever since with more and more visits to away games. We have done 18 trips this year and still have Birmingham to go. We were there, with our kids and friends for the Peterborough game, which was almost as good as the Crewe game the week before.

We were there, with our kids and friends for the Peterborough game

Basically, we are hooked again and need hobbies for the summer, or perhaps psychiatric help –

Why be addicted to something where we travel hundreds of miles to see one win in a year? (no we didn’t go to Grimsby or Norwich in the Coca Cola)
Why put up with being stuck on the M1 so only seeing the second half of a dire performance at Bradford?
Why go to Bolton the other week when we just knew it was for a thrashing?
Why go to Swindon where the atmosphere is reminiscent of the Villa incident described earlier?

Why, why, why?

Coz of Man City away, coz of Southend away, coz of Sheffield Utd at home.

Goodbye to the Manor from two Manorettes (ex).