Nothing to say, but plenty of time to say it

From the Rage Online newsdesk Friday, June 4th, 2004  

It’s been a while since the last Rage Online Comment, and this being the close-season with lots of non-news floating around, it seems like as good a time as any to revive this opportunity to spout off. There are certainly lots of rumours and speculation floating around, as is usual at this time of year, and some of them are almost believable. If ever there was a good time to avoid internet discussion boards the close-season is probably it (apart from the under-used one on this site, of course).

The fact that there’s little to write about has never stopped us before, and so it seems appropriate to pass comment on some of the recent events at United, and what the near future might hold in store. First, the signings made so far by Graham Rix all seem, on the face of it, perfectly reasonable. Barry Quinn and Dave Mackay look like they could be important figures next season, although the resigning of Matt Robinson might well be the most important one of the lot. Even his signature would be overshadowed should Dean Whitehead decide to remain at United, but it looks increasingly like that won’t happen, so it’s time to move onwards and upwards and put the past behind us.

That includes saying farewell to the Atkins old-guard of Andy Woodman, Andy Crosby, Matt Bound, and James Hunt. Although it might feel like the heart has been ripped out of the team, in fact none of those players, nor Paul McCarthy, would have been the ones to take the club forward. If the club’s ambitions really are to get to the Second Division, and stay there or progress, then these were the players who would have been discarded with anyway. Provided adequate replacements can be found, especially for the central defenders, then the squad will not have been diminished by their departures.

So, to the speculation surrounding the future. There have only really been two items worth commenting on. Firstly the report in today’s Oxford Mail that Chris Hackett is close to signing a renewed contract. This is good news, as Chris offers the side some real pace. It is also good for us as we won’t have to worry about who to sponsor for next season – always an agonising decision.

The other piece of news that is worthy of comment is the alleged interest in Wakefield rugby club by Firoz Kassam. It is a mystery to us why anybody would be interested in that strange game, other than as a purely commercial money-making exercise, and there are plenty of students in Oxford ripe for the fleecing, but are there enough to support a rugby club? We remain sceptical about the need for a rugby club in Oxford, although we can certainly see the merits in activities that will ensure the KasStad and its various catering outlets get used more frequently than just Oxford United can provide. But rugby? It all seems so desperate.


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