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:

Carlisle Utd 2 (Beck 73, Asamoah 89), Oxford Utd 1 (Hylton 45)

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

4:56pm Saturday 25th October 2014

OXFORD United's hopes of three wins in eight days were dashed as they came unstuck at Carlisle United.

Updates - Carlisle Utd v Oxford Utd

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

1:55pm Saturday 25th October 2014

All the news from Oxford United's visit to Carlisle United in Sky Bet League Two.

FOOTBALL: Rose wants to keep Oxford United climbing

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

Danny Rose is targeting a move into mid-table today as Oxford United visit Carlisle United in search of a third win in eight days.

FOOTBALL: Oxford United boss Appleton confident his team will be fighting fit

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 25th October 2014

Michael Appleton is confident a sickness bug which has affected the Oxford United squad will not have an impact on selection against Carlisle United today.

Collins: Whing's return has boosted everyone at Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

11:30am Friday 24th October 2014

THE presence of Andy Whing back in the Oxford United side has prompted other players to raise their game, according to Michael Collins.

Back

© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group

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

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