Oxford Really is a Rather nice place

From the Rage Online newsdesk Friday, March 1st, 1996  

Oxford Really is a Rather Nice Place

My Old Man said be an Oxford fan
and I said NO!

Oxford. University; students; boat race.’ tourists; places to eat.
Swindon. Railways; the railway village; Magic Roundabout.

We haven’t got a lot in common. Or have we? I’d say that not supporting Manchester United and actually supporting a proper team is a good start; showing loyalty to your local team or to the town or city where you were brought up actually counts for a lot.

I’ve seen a lot of games against Oxford- both at the County Ground and at the Manor Ground. There’s always been a particular atmosphere around them, mostly because you see people diving for cover as the booted yobs purporting to support either Swindon or Oxford make their march to or from the ground. A bit of an exaggeration, but the ordinary, run-of-the-mill Town supporter views all Oxford supporters as thugs or at least potential ones; I’d be surprised if the ordinary, run-of-the-mill Oxford supporter didn’t see all Town supporters in the same light. This perception, though manifestly incorrect, is understandable. The small minority who come to these derby games just to look for and cause trouble is a big enough group to create a distorted impression of a whole set of fans.

Most games between us have been as action-packed as you’d expect a local derby to be and I’d also remember the games because there haven’t been many where there hasn’t been some trouble off the pitch or outside the Ground. The sort of ‘trouble’ here is something far removed from thuggery experienced at other grounds. By and large, trouble looks for trouble, but nothere. Even if you are completely innocent and actively looking for the opposite of trouble. you are still likely to get thumped. Why should I, my fellow Town supporters, or any Oxford supporters be worried about going to a game between our two sides? Oh but they are.

Games between us have settled down into something of a pattern – close game, idiots waiting around for trouble afterwards, the rest of us trying to get back to our cars or homes without getting noticed. The thugs will always be around; but on the outside of this ugly group there are others who may just get caught along in things as they happen, maybe without even wanting to; the pattern has to change.

Honestly said most Swindon supporters haven’t got a particular liking for Oxford United Football Club. Why should we deny it? Oxford is close in terms of geography and I want Swindon to win every time we play them; no, I lie, I want us to absolutely play them off the park and go away laughing: I don’t want the best team to win. I want the Town to win irrespective of whether we play well or not; I also want Joey Beauchamp to drop a clanger; but all this is because we may live alongside Oxford supporters, or work with them, so we want to be able to win and gloat, not because I want to inflict my love for Swindon Town on them in any other sense than a footballing one. I want nothing more than the victory I see before me on the pitch.

Anna Merriman
editor The 69er

This entry was posted on Friday, March 1st, 1996 at 12:00 am and appears under Archive. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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