Oxford MailOxford Mail

Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us

John Aldridge

Striker Aldridge made his top flight debut with Oxford and gained the first of his 69 Eire caps while with United.

He is one of that still rare breed of footballers to gain a full set of winner's medals for the three major domestic competitions (League Cup with Oxford and League Championship and FA Cup with Liverpool). He is one of only a handful of post-war British players to score over 400 goals in first class football and managed Tranmere to their first ever major Wembley final (2000).

Static HTML image
Aldridge in his younger days

John was born in Liverpool and joined United from Newport for a paltry £80,000 in March 1984. He played in Oxford's run-in to the (old) Third Division title in the spring of 1984 and blossomed with the arrival of Irish international Billy Hamilton in the summer of that year. In 1984-85, 'Aldo' became the first (old) Second Division player for 19 years to net 30 league goals in a season and set club Football League records for league goals and total goals in a season (30 and 34).

Aldridge was a sensation in an attack-minded United team which struggled in the top flight. He was the third highest League scorer at a time when Rush and Lineker were at their peaks (with England's two best sides) and netted 31 times for Oxford, 23 coming in league matches. His two goals in the League Cup semi-final first leg away to Aston villa contributed greatly to Oxford's ultimate triumph.

John joined Liverpool in January 1987 and won a championship medal (1988) and an FA Cup winner's medal (1989) prior to becoming a prolific scorer with Real Sociedad. Aldridge has been a major catalyst in Tranmere's greatest years, after joining them in 1990.

He is now a pundit with various media organisations, both on Merseyside and on a national level, and continues to play in the Liverpool veterans' team. In 1998, he asked Hyder Jawad to ghostwrite his autobiography. John Aldridge: My Story was published by Hodder & Stoughton the year after.

John has recently gained media celebrity in Ireland by appearing in RTE's Charity You're A Star competition. Despite not having a natural singing voice, John won the competition and in the process raised money for his nominated charity Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Ron Atkinson

Ron Atkinson played 560 first team games for the club, a total which is unmatched by anyone who has played for Oxford in their Football League years.

Static HTML image
Ron in his playing days for Oxford United

An inspirational and successful captain, Ron has rarely been out of the media spotlight since the mid 1970s as he has managed a number of major clubs including Manchester United, and been involved regularly in television commentaries of the largest football events, including World Cup Final tournaments.

Known at the Manor as 'Tank' long before making the nickname 'Big Ron' his very own, Atkinson joined Southern Leaguers Headington United from Aston Villa as a 20-year-old in the summer of 1959. He played as a right half in the earlier part of his career, switching to central midfield in the late 1960s.

A dominant personality, Ron soon became one of the youngest captains in professional football and skippered the U's to consecutive Southern League Championships in 1960-61 and 1961-62.
Atkinson skippered United as they became the first Fourth Division Club to reach the FA Cup quarter finals (1963-64) and to the League Cup Quarter Finals (1969-70). His spell of leadership included the period 1962-68, which saw Oxford rise from being a non-league club to a member of what is now the First Division.

Ron left at the age of 32 to join Kettering as player-manager in November 1971. He gained great success as manager of Cambridge United and took West Bromwich to third place in the top flight. Ron joined Manchester United in June 1981.

Static HTML image
'Big Ron' as he is known by millions now

In his five years at Old Trafford, the Red Devils won two FA Cups, reached their first European semi-final for 15 years, and reached the League Cup final for the only time between 1960 and 1991. This was a period of vast dominance in the League by Liverpool but the only five year spell between 1964 and 1995 when Manchester United never finished outside the top four was Atkinson's five year tenure at Old Trafford.

Ron later managed Wednesday to their only major trophy since 1935 and led Villa to their only major trophy since 1982 (both Wembley League Cup triumphs over the Red Devils). His other managerial appointments have included stints at Atletico Madrid, West Bromwich, Coventry and Nottingham Forest.

Atkinson was already working as a pundit for ITV and after leaving management he continued in this role.

This changed on 21 April 2004, when Atkinson resigned from ITV after he was caught making a racist remark live on air about the black Chelsea F.C. player Marcel Desailly when he believed the microphone had been switched off. Since the Desailly incident, Atkinson has claimed that the comment was an aberration and that he is not racist, citing in his defence that his West Brom side was the first high-profile British club to have a significant number of black players.

He has since made a return to football commentary and can be heard presenting on Football Italia.

On January 23, 2007 Atkinson returned to Kettering Town, the club he had managed more than 30 years previously, as Director of Football. However it was announced on April 19, 2007 that he had left the post at the Conference North club following his disapproval over the sacking of manager Morell Maison.

Static HTML image
Joey in action for the U's against Walsall in 2001

Joey Beauchamp

Joey Beauchamp was recently voted United's player of the 1990s and is the only player to feature in first team fixtures in both December 1989 and December 1999.

Since the club entered the Football League, no winger or striker has made more first team appearances for the club and only three men (all of whom played more centrally than Joey) have scored more first team goals.

Oxford-born, Beauchamp is, on his day, one of the best wingers outside the top flight. He has scored a number of spectacular goals, none more important than the fabulous winner he scored against Blackpool in a vital promotion match.

He left the U's for West Ham but was transferred to Swindon before playing a competitive match for the Hammers. After playing in 45 league games for Swindon, Joey returned to the Manor.

He currently plays for Abingdon Town in the Hellenic League Premier Division.

Gary Briggs

Gary Briggs' transfer fee from Middlesbrough was settled at the Football League's first ever transfer tribunal.

Possibly the bravest and most physical player to play League football for Oxford, centre back Briggs was a cult hero and quickly earned the nickname 'Rambo' when playing at the Manor.

Static HTML image
Briggs in typically combatative pose

He was the only man to play in the league in every season to fall completely within the 1980s.

Since United joined the League, only Shuker has played in more first-team fixtures for Oxford than the 502 made by Briggs.

He formed a rugged central defensive partnership with skipper Malcolm Shotton as United won three trophies between 1984 and 1986.

The clattering of Kevin Keegan which led to his dismissal is as memorable as his vital Cuckoo Lane headed goals in wins over Leeds (his home town club) and Manchester United (League Cup).

'Briggo' moved to Blackpool in May 1989, over 11 years after his debut for United.

Briggs ended his professional career in May 1995 after playing 137 games for Blackpool. He joined Chorley to see out the remainder of his playing career.

Roy Burton

Wantage-born goalkeeper Roy Burton made his first team debut for Oxford in November 1971 at the age of 20.

Static HTML image
Little big man: Roy Burton

He stood only 5 feet 9 inches, but was such an immediate success that he was recommended by manager Summers for England Under 23 honours.

Along with the strong centre back partnership of Colin Clarke and Dave Roberts, Burton was the main factor in United's fine defensive record between 1972-73 and 1974-75 (Oxford conceding an average of under 47 goals a season as they ended 8th, 17th and 11th).

Roy starred in Oxford's league win over Manchester United (1975) and made a record 447 goalkeeper appearances for United.

Roy remains a true legend for U's fans who saw him. A deceptive-looking performer when in United's goal, Roy is regularly included in all-time best U's teams selected by the fans.

Dave Langan

Static HTML image
Skilled on the ball: Dave Langan

Dublin-born right back Dave Langan was a tremendous favourite at the Manor.

He is best known for his dribbling and crossing skills. He made his top flight debut with Derby as a 19-year-old in February 1977 and made such an impact that he played in the next 81 matches.

He made his international debut in April 1978 and moved to Birmingham for what was then one of the highest ever fees for a full back.

He hardly missed a match for two-and-a-half seasons before injury threatened to ruin his career at the age of 26. He did not play for over a year but Jim Smith, who had signed him for Birmingham, knew him well and resurrected his career at the Manor. He had played 235 league games, all in the top flight, and had won 14 caps for Eire.

Dave was soon recalled to the international side and gained a further 11 caps while at the Manor. He received winner's medals for the (Old) Second Division championship and for the League Cup and delighted the United fans with his surging runs and his pinpoint crosses for the likes of Aldridge and Hamilton.

'Langy' played 136 first team games for United before moving to Bournemouth and then to Peterborough.

John Shuker

Static HTML image
Team appearance record: John Shuker

John Shuker has made more first team appearances for the club than any other player since Oxford entered the Football League.

His 534 is bettered by Ron Atkinson's 560, but 125 of Ron's came when Oxford were in the Southern League.

Manchester-born, Shuker signed for Oxford in 1961 but did not make his first team debut until August 1962, soon after his 20th birthday.

He appeared regularly as a left half in 1965-66 but is best remembered for his success as a striker at the end of 1968-69, when his goals played a very large part in United's miraculous escape from being relegated out of the (old) Second Division.

He netted seven of Oxford's ten goals in a nine-game spell starting in March which saw the apparently doomed club win five times and lose only once.

He succeeded Ron Atkinson as captain in 1971 and played his last first team game in April 1977.

In May 2000, Shuker was appointed as Director of Football at Milton United.

In August 2001, Shuker was appointed as manager of Hellenic League side Witney Academy, staying until February 2002 when the club folded after months after problems with player availability.

History compiled by Andy Howland

Get Adobe Flash player

click2find


About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree