A FORMER Oxford City FC footballer who grew up in the city and went on to become Sir Stanley Matthews’ understudy has died aged 85.

Rex Adams played football for Grandpont Juniors as a youngster before signing for Oxford City as a winger.

He made his debut for the club in September 1944 in a 1-0 home defeat against Uxbridge at the White House Ground, South Oxford.

In the 1946/47 season he was a regular in Oxford City’s first team.

He also made an appearance for Clapton against City when they arrived late with just 10 men in November 1946 and he filled the missing place.

He made a total of 24 appearances for City and scored nine times before being signed by Division One team Blackpool FC in 1948.

But during his three-year stint with the Tangerines, he only made 16 appearances because his first team position was taken by the legendary Stanley Matthews – though he scored once against Portsmouth.

A lack of first team opportunities due to the presence of Matthews and the signing of Bill Perry eventually led to him leaving the club in 1951 and signing for Worcester City and then Oldham Athletic.

Oxford Mail:

Rex Adams in the line-up for Blackpool

He went on to play for Northwich Victoria and Mossley before an injury to his Achilles tendon brought an end to his career in 1957.

Rex Adams was born in Oxford on February 13, 1928.

He went to South Oxford School and after completing his education joined the RAF on National Service, serving at Hereford.

When he left the military he began his career in football.

He met Muriel Wilders in 1950 at a dance organised by Blackpool captain Harry Johnston and they married the following year.

After retiring he returned to Oxford, where his father Cyril died in 1958, and he spent a year and a half working in the Morris factory.

After returning to the North West, he held a succession of jobs including running his own newsagent’s and working in sales for the Manchester Evening News.

Mr Adams died on January 14 in Blackpool and his funeral took place at Lytham Park Cemetery on Monday, January 27.

He is survived by his wife, his two sons, Ken and Mark, and a grandchild.