7:00am Friday 25th April 2014
By Nick Farrant
Oxford City boss Mike Ford says Steve Basham is a player you would “stake your life on” as the popular striker prepares to call time on his 18-year career.
Tomorrow, Basham, 36, will pull his boots on for the last time when City entertain Bradford Park Avenue in Skrill North at Marsh Lane.
“Steve is just an outstanding, honest character,” said Ford.
“He’s full of integrity and someone you would stake your life on. He’s been a pleasure to work with.
“Ian Atkins signed him for Oxford United when I was his assistant and you could see what type of person he was.
“I signed him for City in 2011.
“He was probably the first player I would turn to if I wanted another opinion.
“When you look at managers signing experienced players then Steve is as good as anyone.”
Ford believes the timing of Basham’s exit is spot-on.
He added: “I think he has made the right decision.
“I was in a similar situation when I was a player coming to the end of my career.
“The things that you love about playing the game your body won’t alow you to do. It’s mental torment.
“He’ll miss it, but soon he’ll realise he has made the right choice.”
Ford, whose side confirmed their escape from relegation on Monday said a victory would be a fitting way to end the season.
“I’m really looking forward to it – for lots of reasons.” said Ford.
“We had to rely on Histon losing to stay up, so it would be nice to play well and to get a win.
“And Bash (Basham) is playing the final game.
“Although we have struggled this season I would like to congratulate the players for never giving up on it.”
Ford confirmed that Bas-ham would start against Bradford and may even captain the side.
He added: “I don’t know about a guard of honour because he doesn’t really like the limelight – we just want to make sure we give him a nice send-off.”
Oxford City (v Bradford PA, home): from Scott, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Pook, Henderson, Preece, Mullings, Basham, Pond, Winters, Willmott, Ballard, Cook, Bulman, Jackson, O’Hanlon, Solomon-Otabor.
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