TWO new football teams in Blackbird Leys are both in with a chance of winning silverware in their first competitive season.

A builder from the estate set up two adult teams to try to encourage more people to get involved in the game.

Stuart Parsons, 35, set up the teams last summer to revive the estate’s team spirit.

He said: “A couple of us used to play together about 10 years ago – I started when I was about 15 – and the players are a bit older now.

“We’ve played in teams all over Oxford but we’ve not had an estate team for about 20 years.

“We all had to drive all over the city but now we’re playing in Blackbird Leys. It’s right on our doorstep.

“It’s brilliant, we play in Blackbird Leys park in Cuddesdon Way when we’re at home.”

Mr Parsons set up two teams; the Blackbird Rovers in the Oxford City FA league and Blackbird FC in the Critchleys Upper Thames Valley League.

Both teams are named after The Blackbird pub in Blackbird Leys Road, the first time a team has ever taken on the pub’s name.

He said: “We’ve got a good team of some youngsters and bringing back some people that have left the game.

“We’ve got about 20 players signed up, ranging in age from 16-51.

“Many just started for a laugh, but we’re pretty good.

“All the people in the pub ask after us and it’s engaging the community.”

The Blackbird Rovers are sitting top of the league, having won all 11 of their matches, and will next play Abingdon’s Black Swan FC on April 11.

They are also in the final of the Premier Challenge Cup, where they will take on Chequers FC on April 18.

Blackbird FC are fifth in the Premier Division of the Upper Thames Valley League, with 13 points.

On April 12, they will play Cholsey United for the Devenney Cup.

Mr Parsons said the teams wanted to encourage younger people to get involved with football.

He added: “Youngsters don’t get involved any more.

They’re all interested in clubbing or whatever and they don’t decide to play until they’re in their 20s and then it’s too late, they’re not in the habit.

“Once you start playing on a Sunday you always play on a Sunday.”

He said: “When I started playing, there were 11 or 12 leagues in the Oxford area.

Now there’s hardly any because the youngsters aren’t bothered.

“For a city this size there should be more teams playing.

If we don’t get them involved who’s going to replace us?”

For further information on Blackbird Rovers please email and for information on Blackbird FC email