Mike Ford paid tribute to the retiring Steve Basham and Chris Willmott after the pair made their final appearances in Oxford City’s 1-1 draw with Bradford Park Avenue in Skrill North on Saturday, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

The City boss said: “They’ve been fantastic servants to us, they’ve been fantastic servants to the game of football, but more importantly they’re fantastic human beings and characters.

“I wish them all the best, they’ve been very good for me and they’re fantastic role models in the dressing room.”

Ford has already turned his attention to finding their replacements as he plans to reshape his squad ahead of next season following this year’s tough campaign.

“We need to recruit better players because when you finish third bottom of the division then you clearly haven’t been good enough,” he said.

“We’re not able to match the big boys of the division and pay out the sort of money they do, so to counteract that I need a group of players who are highly-motivated.

“That’s whether it’s players from lower down, who see the North as a challenge, current players, who I know have a real appetite to improve and get better, or good players dropping down, who really want to make a difference to this football club.”