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

9:30am Thursday 22nd May 2014

By Mark Edwards

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.

Latest United news:

Michael Collins due back at Oxford United next week as York City look elsewhere

Oxford Mail:

2:00pm Friday 27th November 2015

MICHAEL Collins will return to Oxford United next week as his loan spell at York City comes to an end.

Michael Appleton driven to fulfil golden chance of success with Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

12:10pm Friday 27th November 2015

THERE have been plenty of highlights at Oxford United this season, but Michael Appleton says there is no time to enjoy them as he seeks to capitalise on an opportunity 12 years in the making.

Oxford United assist author to go undercover and expose football's slave trade

Oxford Mail:

11:30am Friday 27th November 2015

A JOURNALIST who went undercover to expose football’s slave trade says his task would have been much more difficult without help from Oxford United.

Defender Jordan Evans and Scotland international Chris Maguire come on loan to Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 27th November 2015

Oxford United took measures to maintain their promotion form ahead of a busy December by making two loan signings from Sky Bet Championship clubs.

Patrick Hoban enjoying change of fortune in front of goal for Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 27th November 2015

PATRICK Hoban says his sudden glut of goals is down to a change in fortune in front of goal rather than a change in approach.


© Copyright 2001-2015 Newsquest Media Group

Oxford Mail: site_logo http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk

Click 2 Find Business Directory http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/trade_directory/