Match of the month
Oxford United 2 Rotherham United 1
An important game at the top of League Two sees the homeless side from South Yorkshire lose a fifth consecutive away game, while the forward-thinking hosts keep their play-off hopes alive Date February 12, 2011 Words Piers Pennington Photos Simon Gill
Afew days before the game a familiar name which I couldn’t quite place for the moment popped up in my email inbox; an old friend who hadn’t been in touch for a while I assumed. Ah yes, old Harry Worley, what’s he up to these days I wondered for a second or two before the penny dropped.
What Harry is up to is attempting to shore up Oxford United’s central defence and he was asking me to support him in his efforts on Saturday. I think this is the first direct request I’ve had from somebody to go and watch them play football since my friend Dim’s Cub Scout team reached their cup final in 1963. I wasn’t sure whether to be impressed by the slick marketing machine of a club only just restored to Football League status or affronted by the easy familiarity and presumption of a message from somebody I hadn’t ever met. Since Harry is 6ft 4ins and I’d already agreed to write a report on the match, I opted for impressed.
This is just one example of how important a proactive commercial and PR department is becoming to lower-league clubs with ambitions not just to survive but to f lourish. A few weeks earlier the ox sculpture which guards the Kassam Stadium’s South Stand was either vandalised or became the centrepiece of an al fresco installation, depending on your views on modern art. Either way, it was covered in paint. Rather than just be outraged by the assault, the club used the colour of the paint (pink) as a reason to organise collections for local cancer charities at the next two home games before getting the poor creature cleaned: excellent public relations in a worthy cause.
Today has been designated, on the initiative of a group of fans, Bring The Noise Day, an attempt to improve the atmosphere