Monday, 2 February 2009

The year of the Ox

Oxford 2-1 Lewes (01:02:09)

We're not ones to spurn the opportunity of a celebration here at EFW Towers. On Monday the Chinese were toasting their new year and the start of The Year of the Ox, so we thought it only apt that we should join in the fun and head to Ox-ford. Tenuous maybe but ever such good fun.

I was joined on this trip by European Football Weekends regular 'Big Deaks', occasional EFW attendee and loyal Brighton fan (still!) 'Greeno' and our favourite football statistician 'Cynical Dave'. Together we accounted for 8% of the total away support for the day. Lewes had 50 fans at Oxford in total. A magnificent effort from the EFW team I'm sure you'll agree. We were proud anyway.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting a non league ground recently can't have failed to appreciate their atmosphere of friendliness and comradeship. It's one reason why we've started going to these games and to be honest, I'm totally hooked on the non-league now. Obsessed.

Lewes are our absolute favourites. They are hopeless (this season) but we love them. In the run up to this match with all conquering Oxford United, they'd managed to lose their previous seven games in a row without troubling the opposition's net once. Oxford United in comparison are huge. People have heard of them for Christ's sake.

To be honest with you, this didn't feel like a non league match. The three sided stadium was all seated and they charged £17 to get in. Credit is currently being crunched Oxford. You couldn't walk around the ground or change ends at half time. Mental note to self; pen letter to OUFC suggesting they build fourth stand, make it a terrace with a roof, charge £8 to get in, home fans one side, away fans the other and I fancy Bob would indeed be your Uncle.

We noted another thing which sets Oxford apart from other non league clubs we've been to lately. In the pub across the road from the ground before the match there was a Premiership game on the telly and everyone was watching it! They cared. They were shouting at the telly and everything. Oxford fans haven't quite grasped the concept of the non league just yet. They are newcomers to this level of football. In a few years time they'll see the light and be sporting 'Against Mod£rn Football' t-shirts like the rest of us.

Actually - aside from the telly - the pub was a corker. It's called The Priory and thank the Lord it was there because there is nothing else around for miles near the ground aside from a horrendous bowling complex. They even had a little note chalked up on a beam to welcome us:

However, they obviously underestimated the numbers in the EFW camp. Welcome to the 2 Lewes fans!? We changed it after a few beers to 4.

Once inside the ground I overheard someone saying it was so soulless and boring that the two teams should have entered the pitch to the sound of Radiohead blearing out of the PA. A bit harsh that. Once they've built the fourth stand it will be ok. Especially if that fourth stand is a terrace influenced by my letter.

Cynical and Big Deaks soaking it all up.

I don't often bang on about the game too much in these reports unless something remarkable happens. In this match it did. After 689 minutes without a league goal, Lewes scored (scored!). Stefan Cox squared a near perfect two yard pass to Joe Keehan (the managers son) and he smashed in a shot from 20 yards which to everybody's amazement went in. Pandemonium in the away end. The four of us engaged in a bout of star jumps. Enormous fun.

Who are ya!?

After that Oxford scored twice, Lewes missed a penalty and had a player (Wilkinson) sent off for nothing (headbutt). They'd done us proud. Plucky underdogs, we all love those don't we!? There is a video here of the penalty miss. It's a bit shaky as I'd had a few beers and was excited. Afterwards I pan round and you can see Cynical (shocked), Big Deaks (giggling) and Greeno (also giggling):

After the game we headed back to The Priory pub to celebrate the Lewes goal. Again Oxford fans were watching a live Premiership match (Liverpool v Chelsea - yawn). We sank a few beers and then headed back into town to catch a train back to Brighton.

We wanted to get back quick as we'd shipped in a case of Bud and wanted to watch the Cincinnati Backflips v Chicago Slidders in the Superbowl. We didn't though did we. American football!? No thanks. Instead we went (predictably) to EFW Headquarters and partied like it was 1999 again. It had started to snow at that point so we stayed until closing in the vein hope that we'd get snowed in and have to stay there the night. Happy days (and nights). Until next time.....

p.s. Ignore these two videos below. They are the same as the one above. I just don't know how to get rid of them!


Anonymous said...

Really good Report Mate Enjoy your Trips around Europe and Good luck for the rest of the season.

Just a suggestion but if u can head up to Albion Rovers F.C in Coatbridge Scotland for a game of proper Scottish Footie!

Danny Last said...

Cheers my friend,

We'd love to come to Coatbridge. We'll add it to the list.

We can't turn down the chance to see (Brighton and Hove) Albion Rovers can we!?

dan said...

We do indeed need a 4th stand.. However we currently don't own our stadium so that may be a tad difficult :D

But was a good report. You should pop down more often! 50 ISN'T the lowest we have had at the Ka$$am...

Ali said...

Danny your always pretty interested in the ultra movement, do you know anything about the GE09 (otherwise the Oxford ultra group)? I've seen some great pictures of their work, some amazing tifos, thought I would inform you if you didn't already know about them

Hans said...


I've came unintentionally to your site, but it's brilliant!

I'm from Holland and if you want to see a few real good lower league games I'll advice you to go to the next games:

- IJsselmeervogels-Spakenburg / Spakenburg - IJsselmeervogels
- De Treffers - Achilles'29 / De Achilles'29 - Treffers
- Quick Boys - Katwijk / Katwijk - Quick Boys

These games are all "topklasse" games, the highest of lower league football...

I will be following your site from now on and I'll hope you will be visiting Holland in a short time :-)

Greetz from Holland,


Betfred promotion code said...

I saw this match and it was a great game!!!!