Tributes paid following death of United's first pro, Jack Casley

Firoz Kassam (left), Oxford United’s chairman in 2002, presents Jack Casley with a painting of the old Manor Ground to mark his services to the club

Firoz Kassam (left), Oxford United’s chairman in 2002, presents Jack Casley with a painting of the old Manor Ground to mark his services to the club

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Former Oxford United coach Ray Graydon led the tributes to the club’s first professional player, Jack Casley, who has died aged 88.

It is his work as United’s chief scout for which Casley will be best remembered.

Casley, who lived in Wytham Street, Oxford, joined Headington United, as Oxford United were then known, from his home town club Torquay United in July 1949, becoming their first full-time professional.

Casley made his debut in goal against Colchester United, before switching to centre forward, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-2 win against Guildford.

After being given a free transfer in 1951, he retained strong links with the club, while also serving on Oxford City’s committee.

He later worked at the Cowley car plant and also played for Banbury Spencer, Chippenham and Pressed Steel.

Following his resignation from City’s committee in 1969, he was appointed chief scout at the Manor Ground and was instrumental in bringing local youngsters like Kevin Brock and Andy Thomas to United.

Casley also travelled thousands of miles with Graydon, identifying talents such as John Aldridge, Ray Houghton and Trevor Hebberd.

He retired in 2002 after 53 years’ service to the club, for which he was presented with a special award by the then chairman Firoz Kassam.

Graydon, 66, who made 47 appearances for the U’s before joining the coaching staff in 1981, said: “He has a fantastic family and I feel very sad he has passed away.

“Jack was not only good company, he was also a good sounding board.

“He had yellow and blue running through his veins.”

Former U’s winger and now business development manager Peter Rhoades-Brown added: “Jack was a big part of the club for over 50 years.

“He had such a knowledge of the game and liked nothing better than to talk football with us.

“Most weekends, he was out there watching junior games in the morning and then off to another game in the afternoon.

“He never tired of it or lost his enthusiasm.

“He has fought bravely against illness in the last couple of years and will be missed by us all.”

Casley leaves a widow, Vi, and a daughter, Joy Sherlock.

Details of the funeral have yet to be announced.

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Comments (5)

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9:48am Tue 3 Jun 14

Joe1 says...

I did not know Mr. Casley, he really sounds like a true Oxford legend. A rare breed these Days.
I did not know Mr. Casley, he really sounds like a true Oxford legend. A rare breed these Days. Joe1
  • Score: 5

9:53am Tue 3 Jun 14

Manor Born says...

One of the nicest guys you could ever have wished to meet.

His knowledge of the game was second to none and you could listen to him for hours talking about it. A genuine legend who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Condolences to his family.

I hope the club will give him a fitting tribute. I believe they are after a new name for the supporters' bar, maybe the Jack Casley Bar would be a fitting and appropriate way to commemorate his life and everything he did for the club?
One of the nicest guys you could ever have wished to meet. His knowledge of the game was second to none and you could listen to him for hours talking about it. A genuine legend who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Condolences to his family. I hope the club will give him a fitting tribute. I believe they are after a new name for the supporters' bar, maybe the Jack Casley Bar would be a fitting and appropriate way to commemorate his life and everything he did for the club? Manor Born
  • Score: 12

3:04pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Mark the Printer says...

Great suggestion Manor Born. Naming the supporters bar would be a great way to remember Jack Casleys name - a realOUFC legend.Condolances to his family. A very nice man who will be sadly missed by all who crossed his path.
Great suggestion Manor Born. Naming the supporters bar would be a great way to remember Jack Casleys name - a realOUFC legend.Condolances to his family. A very nice man who will be sadly missed by all who crossed his path. Mark the Printer
  • Score: 1

7:03pm Tue 3 Jun 14

remberingthe80s says...

One of the greats Of oufc
One of the greats Of oufc remberingthe80s
  • Score: 2

8:51pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Richard Wickson says...

Manor Born wrote:
One of the nicest guys you could ever have wished to meet.

His knowledge of the game was second to none and you could listen to him for hours talking about it. A genuine legend who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Condolences to his family.

I hope the club will give him a fitting tribute. I believe they are after a new name for the supporters' bar, maybe the Jack Casley Bar would be a fitting and appropriate way to commemorate his life and everything he did for the club?
I never knew Mr. Casley though obviously heard of him and was in his company without meeting him several times. You speak well of him, Manor Born, you obviously knew him and it's a fitting tribute to him what you have to say. He was obviously old school, in the game when wages were so much lower than today but enjoyed the game and was good at spotting talent. Kevin Brock would have done him proud and John Aldridge was a great signing. It would be fitting if the club were to honour him and I agree with you naming the supporters bar in his honour would keep his name alive within the football club.
[quote][p][bold]Manor Born[/bold] wrote: One of the nicest guys you could ever have wished to meet. His knowledge of the game was second to none and you could listen to him for hours talking about it. A genuine legend who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Condolences to his family. I hope the club will give him a fitting tribute. I believe they are after a new name for the supporters' bar, maybe the Jack Casley Bar would be a fitting and appropriate way to commemorate his life and everything he did for the club?[/p][/quote]I never knew Mr. Casley though obviously heard of him and was in his company without meeting him several times. You speak well of him, Manor Born, you obviously knew him and it's a fitting tribute to him what you have to say. He was obviously old school, in the game when wages were so much lower than today but enjoyed the game and was good at spotting talent. Kevin Brock would have done him proud and John Aldridge was a great signing. It would be fitting if the club were to honour him and I agree with you naming the supporters bar in his honour would keep his name alive within the football club. Richard Wickson
  • Score: -1

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