DOZENS of Oxford United fans took part in a charity march yesterday to mark the club's 125th anniversary.

The Yellow Army Walk saw fans, former players and club directors gather at Headington's Britannia Pub, where the club was originally formed, before walking the four miles to the Kassam Stadium ahead of the U’s’ 3-0 win over Shrewsbury Town.

However, the march was far more than a walk down memory lane with the event also aiming to raise thousands of pounds for local mental health charity, Oxfordshire Mind, and the club’s official charity Oxford United in the Community.

More than £1,700 had been raised on the morning of the march with orginsers setting a target of £5,000. 

Organiser, Simon Hathaway of the Yellow Army, said: “It’s a really good turn out and raising money for two good causes.

“The mental health charity Mind are partnering the Football League this year so we chose Oxfordshire Mind to raise money for.

“Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and if you look around that’s much of our demographic here, so it’s a really important thing to raise awareness.”

The Britannia pub in London Road lies close to the club’s former home at the Manor Ground in Headington and was United's home until 2001.

In honour of its historical ties, Oxford United chairman Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth presented manager, Kay Quantick, with a special print of one of the earliest team photographs which will be displayed in the bar area.

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Ms Quantick who took over in March said she had no idea of the pub’s close links to a footballing past.

She said: “When Simon [Hathaway] first contacted me about it he explained all about where the football ground used to be and that this place has such a historical connection to the club.

“It’s amazing to see everyone come down and want to get involved.”

 Speaking at the presentation Mr Thanakarnjanasuth said: “This is a super occasion.

“There’s a lot of supporters coming together in the pub and I think they should be proud on a day like today.

“I think I’m very lucky that I get to be involved in the 125-year anniversary, there’s a lot of things to celebrate.”

Former Oxford United defender, Les Robinson, was also there to see the presentation ahead of the march to the ground.

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The U’s legend, who made 459 appearances during a 10-year-spell at the club said: “It’s fantastic to see everyone here.
“It’s going to be a great day altogether with the march, then the game and then a black-tie dinner in the evening, and it’s nice to be involved in something that’s raising money for some amazing charities.”

Mark Brannagan, father of U’s star Cameron Brannagan, took part in the charity walk and said the day felt ‘very personal’ to him, after losing a close friend to suicide.

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He said: “A very good friend, Jamie Horrocks, passed away six years ago – he took his own life.

“To know him you wouldn’t have had any idea how he felt.
“He was the life and soul of the party – it’s heart breaking to find out that he just felt he couldn’t speak to anybody.

“It’s something we really need to encourage people to talk about.”

Mr Brannagan admitted he would be feeling a ‘mixture of emotions’ during the day with his son playing later in the day, adding: “For a club to have a club 125 years it’s a big thing.

“There aren’t that many clubs knocking around who have got that history.”

During the match the Yellow Army held a bucket collection for the two charities with the total amount raised expected to be announced during the week.

Speaking on the walk chair of Oxford United in the Community Greig Box Turnbull said: “I think it’s very poignant that we have all met where the club was formed.

“You could tell there was quite a lot of emotion in the room.

“To see so many people working together for the charities and to celebrate the club’s history sums up what the club is all about.”

To support the Yellow Army's fundraising visit