End of an era as Oxford United ace Beano leaves for Eastleigh

James 'Beano' Constable celebrates

James 'Beano' Constable celebrates

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425451

JAMES Constable is gutted at saying goodbye to Oxford United after his six-year spell with the club ended.

The iconic striker, who is just one goal off equalling the all-time club record, has signed a two-year deal with Conference Premier side Eastleigh after rejecting a new contract with the U’s.

The 29-year-old admits his exit from United hurts, but he is now focused on a fresh start with the ambitious Hampshire side.

“It’s painful to leave, of course it is,” he said.

“I’m gutted, to be honest, but I have a new challenge ahead of me now and so I’m looking forward to that.”

He added: “I have loved every minute at Oxford United and I have said many times that I would have liked to have ended my career there.

“But over the course of the last few weeks it has become apparent that wasn’t going to be possible, so I move on.”

The striker was offered a new deal after his contract expired at the end of the season, but on reduced wages.

He revealed negotiations took place, but both parties could not agree on terms.

Constable initially joined the U’s on loan from Shrewsbury, but such was his impact – he scored 26 goals in his first season – that the U’s signed him on a permanent deal on April 28, 2009.

The £69,000 fee United paid was funded by the Donald family that own Bridle Insurance, who were to later become United’s main sponsors, and now run Eastleigh.

Constable also hit 26 goals in his second season, including one at Wembley as United secured promotion back into the Football League.

His four seasons in League Two have yielded a further 54 goals, but his departure means he is left agonisingly one behind Graham Atkinson in the all-time United scoring charts – Atkinson hit 107 and Constable 106.

However, Constable is unfortunate not to hold the record already.

A hat-trick he scored for Oxford against Chester on August 19, 2009 has been annulled after their opponents folded that season.

Ironically, a booking he picked up in that game still counted towards a suspension later that season.

Constable, nicknamed Beano, enjoyed a tremendous rapport with the U’s supporters and was keen to pay tribute to them.

“The fans have always been fantastic with me,” he said.

“I’m disappointed it didn’t work out the way I thought it might do, but I have received so many messages already. I can’t thank them enough.”

Constable made 232 starts for United and 48 substitute appearances.

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Comments (7)

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10:19am Thu 22 May 14

Joe1 says...

JC has been a good hard working member of the team. He should do well at a lower level. I reserve my judgement re his going until we know who is being brought in. Currently we don't don't have a forward line at all. A lot of hard work & money spent in order to bring in some decent players.
It will be interesting.
JC has been a good hard working member of the team. He should do well at a lower level. I reserve my judgement re his going until we know who is being brought in. Currently we don't don't have a forward line at all. A lot of hard work & money spent in order to bring in some decent players. It will be interesting. Joe1
  • Score: 1

4:06pm Thu 22 May 14

Beau champ mummy says...

Certainly no loss in my eyes had plenty of effort but not an once of ability
Certainly no loss in my eyes had plenty of effort but not an once of ability Beau champ mummy
  • Score: -6

4:36pm Thu 22 May 14

cleverswindler says...

Beau champ mummy wrote:
Certainly no loss in my eyes had plenty of effort but not an once of ability
Swindon, where 16 onces equals one pond, full of mud dwelling invertebrates.
[quote][p][bold]Beau champ mummy[/bold] wrote: Certainly no loss in my eyes had plenty of effort but not an once of ability[/p][/quote]Swindon, where 16 onces equals one pond, full of mud dwelling invertebrates. cleverswindler
  • Score: 2

7:10pm Thu 22 May 14

Taff Ewe says...

Of course, in real terms he is actually our all time record scorer. He scored a genuine hat-trick and had in taken away.

What a load of bol***ks.

Things like this do make you think about fate.
Of course, in real terms he is actually our all time record scorer. He scored a genuine hat-trick and had in taken away. What a load of bol***ks. Things like this do make you think about fate. Taff Ewe
  • Score: 0

7:34pm Thu 22 May 14

westsomersetyellow says...

Really think this guy deserved better from the club. Just he he gets a testimonial against a top side so that the fans can show their appreciation of a real 100%er and a great clubman
Really think this guy deserved better from the club. Just he he gets a testimonial against a top side so that the fans can show their appreciation of a real 100%er and a great clubman westsomersetyellow
  • Score: 6

9:09pm Thu 22 May 14

OUFC67 says...

I think the Chairman just wanted to reduce costs on Beano. It does not say much for loyalty however, football is becoming more cut throat. Long term Beano will probably do better in the conference. I am surprised Northampton did not come in for him as they need a striker. We are looking to cut the wage bill and rely on the development squad going forward. I just cannot see us being in the top 7 next year with the players we have so far. Since February it has been a disaster. Unless we invest in good strikers we will struggle for goal again if not worse. I am interested to see who we sign as come the new season I cannot see the fans being happy.
I think the Chairman just wanted to reduce costs on Beano. It does not say much for loyalty however, football is becoming more cut throat. Long term Beano will probably do better in the conference. I am surprised Northampton did not come in for him as they need a striker. We are looking to cut the wage bill and rely on the development squad going forward. I just cannot see us being in the top 7 next year with the players we have so far. Since February it has been a disaster. Unless we invest in good strikers we will struggle for goal again if not worse. I am interested to see who we sign as come the new season I cannot see the fans being happy. OUFC67
  • Score: 3

7:46am Fri 23 May 14

Dolly76 says...

What a great message to send to potential new signings! This is how we treat players at OUFC. 106 goals over 6 years loyal and committed service. Less money and only a 1 year contract. They guy ran himself into the ground every game and genuinely cared about the club and the fans.
It's disgraceful.
What a great message to send to potential new signings! This is how we treat players at OUFC. 106 goals over 6 years loyal and committed service. Less money and only a 1 year contract. They guy ran himself into the ground every game and genuinely cared about the club and the fans. It's disgraceful. Dolly76
  • Score: 2

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