Last updated Friday, October 26.

RON Atkinson admits a host of fabulous memories will be at the forefront of his mind when he joins a plethora of Oxford United legends today.

Arguably the most famous name in the club’s history will be one of more than 30 greats stepping out at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon as part of their special 125th anniversary celebrations.

And Mr Atkinson, United’s record appearance-maker who twice led the club to promotion, is relishing the opportunity to reflect on some of the happiest days of his career.

“Being at Oxford was a great time in my life,” he said.

“There were some terrific people and characters and I have some unbelievable memories.”

Today’s Sky Bet League One match at home to Shrewsbury Town will see a bumper crowd pay tribute to some of the great names to don an Oxford shirt.

Formed 125 years ago to the day at the Britannia Inn in Headington, opposite their former home at the Manor Ground, the U’s have endured plenty of highs and lows.

A roller-coaster ride has seen a number of memorable promotions and big matches, but also relegations, financial worries and ground concerns – something still dogging the club to this day.

But for Mr Atkinson, affectionately known as ‘The Tank’ during a 562-game career at the club from 1959-1971, the great times far outweigh the bad ones.

“We got into the Football League, had some huge games and Oxford was a great place to be at the time,” he said.

“That FA Cup run in 1964 when we beat Blackburn Rovers, who were second in Division 1 at the time, was just unbelievable.

“We won and got drawn at home to Preston North End in the next round and there were more than 22,000 crammed into the Manor – incredible.”

He added: “In fact the Manor itself was a totally unique place. There aren’t really grounds like that any more.

“With the slope on the pitch, we always reckoned if we were level or even a goal behind, if we were kicking down the hill in the second half we would win.

“Apart from Preston I cannot remember any other big team coming here in my playing days and getting a result against us.

“Even when I was manager of Manchester United and came back to Oxford I would tell the captain ‘whatever you do, win the toss and kick up the hill first’.”

Mr Atkinson jumped at the chance to come back for today’s celebrations and is delighted the club are making such a big deal about their proud history.

“I came to Oxford thinking I would stay a few years and then move on,” he said.

“But I didn’t. Everything here was just great. We had a great bunch of lads and Arthur Turner, the manager, had a group of players who more or less stayed together for almost eight years.”

He added: “The game is so different now to what it was back then though.

“I remember talking to Nobby Stiles and we compared notes from 1968.

“He had just won the World Cup and European Cup and my basic wage at Oxford was two quid a week more than his – although his bonuses were much better.

“There wasn’t that great (financial) differential then unlike now.

“But Oxford was and still is a great club. I’m proud to be associated with it.”