Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Barrow Your Heads in Shame!

FA Cup, 2nd Round Replay
AFC Barrow 3 OUFC 1

Glad I didn't go to that one then. It would have been a long, long 6 hour drive home to London last night and kudos to those 146 that made the trip.

Have to say I'm not so bothered with the result though. Obviously It's always preferable to win in any competition, but at least now I can bring out the old cliché of Oxford now being able to concentrate on the league without the distraction of the cup.

I think that this is total horse-cock, of course. We have a large squad easily capable of dealing with a couple of extra games, and a side winning cup games will only breed more confidence to take into those all-important league games.

However, we clearly sounded like we played terrible and deserved nothing from the game. Barrow were up for it from the off and as a result they have their dream FA Cup tie at Sunderland.

Clearly, we are missing out on money that would have been more than handy - this is the big disappointment of last night, if we're honest.

Nonetheless, if we are to have a blip, let it come this week with two cup ties to contend with - then push on with winning this pig of a league the following week.

Up The U's.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Barrow Boys

Replay tonight at AFC Barrow. Barrow-in-Furness.

It's not really possible to travel further to watch football within England than a visit to Barrow-in-Furness from down South.

It's a trip the near length of the M6 to the lake district, then a further hour west past all the beautiful lakes and mountains to the slightly less salubrious town of Barrow.

Now, I'm sure Barrow has it's plus points which I was unable to uncover from a two hour trip in August 2008. Yet I don't think, in 15 years of visiting various armpits of England & Wales watching Oxford, that I've ever visited a more unpleasant & unwelcoming town than Barrow-in-Furness.

But I would love to be at Holker Street tonight.

This is something my Fiancée just can't grasp - the sheer bloody-mindedness of wanting to make a 10-hour round-trip to an intimidating provincial town and stand on a frozen, Cumbrian open terrace for 2 hours before coming straight back.

To be honest, it is an addiction that is hard to explain. Sadly for me, it's cold turkey tonight as I couldn't justify the two days off work a trip to Barrow in mid-week would require.

It'll be Jerome & Nick for me this evening - and I can't wait for that either.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Where The Wilder Things Are

Upsetting to hear Chris Wilder on Radio Oxford post-match Saturday so annoyed with certain sections of the fan base.

The man was clearly apoplectic.

Such a shame after what was, let's be honest, a very convincing display. Yes, we didn't put them to bed early enough - after 2-0 I think we were all expecting it to be a rout - but I think sometimes people forget the standard we are playing at. We are, after all, in The Conference.

I agree with Wilder in many respects - certainly that we have been spoilt this season and now seem to expect 100% performances every game. But i also have to agree with a later caller to Radio Oxford who said this just shows how far we have come - two seasons ago we'd have been cock-a-hoop with any victory, now some fans are moaning that we aren't scoring 5 without reply.

It's good that our expectations are so high though. This is something Wilder himself has spoken of time and time again, that we need to get over this losing mentality that has beset the club & the fan base for a decade, and with it throw out these expectations that we will probably throw it all away anyway.

Fans being disgruntled with players for holding the ball in the corner when we've got a two goal lead is to my mind an embodiment of that very mindset. I can't condone booing, but why fuck about like that when we could clearly have got another? Wilder himself was noted as having berated the players for this decision late on and acknowledged it was the wrong decision on their part.

I think therefore, the booing/disgruntlement of the short corner isn't what Wilder was annoyed about -he mentioned someone was berating the Captain personally, telling Wilder he should take him off- and I think this is the nub of the issue he had.

As such, it was probably, what? One person? Two people? There is also an idiot near me in the East Stand who berates Murray consistently (even when he's having a great game) every game. Frankly this is just the odd person in 6,000, so Wilder was wrong to imply it was even "some sections" of the fans - it was more likely "some individuals".

That said, he did realise he'd slightly over-reacted from his more subdued tone in the post-match interview on the official site, so i don't think he's going to take the issue to heart.

So neither should the fans. It's good to have a manager this passionate, this good at his job, this determined to succeed. Forgive him the odd outburst, but also some fans need to forgive his team their short-comings from time-to-time.

As i said above, they aren't perfect. But they are doing a damn good job of getting there this season.