MORE than a century of footballing history has been immortalised as Oxford United unveiled a Blue Plaque to celebrate their 'village' origins.

The Britannia Inn, London Road, Headington became the proud new owner of the unique marker of history at a special commemoration ceremony this afternoon.

Oxford Mail:

It took place 126 years to the day after Dr Robert Hitchings convened the meeting at which the then-named Headington FC was formed in what was considered a village.

The club is now known by its current name Oxford United FC.

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Speaking at the commemoration, club managing director Niall McWilliams said: "It's a real honour.

"I just think it indicates the impact that the football club has on the community.

"It is just a really important thing to have and it has been a long time, the process has taken a long time."

Oxford Mail:

Club vice-chairman Zaki Nuseibeh, also present at the unveiling, added: "It is important because it reminds us how big a club we have become.

"It's a moment of celebration because we look at the achievements that have happened before."

At the ceremony representatives from the Oxford Blue Plaques Board and historians were there to detail the 126-year history behind the club.

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There were speeches given to mark the occasion from the club's official historian Martin Brodetsky.

He said on the day that the unveiling of the blue plaque was something the club had wanted for a long time and that it came at a moment when the club was experiencing good fortunes.

Oxford Mail:

The 16-inch circular plaque now rests on the wall of the pub facing London Road, and reads: 'Oxford United Football Club, founded here as Headington FC, 27th October 1893. The former Manor Ground opposite was its home 1925 – 2001'.

The installation of the plaque was a project initiated by the Oxford United Supporters Trust, OxVox.

Due to the Brittania pub being a Grade II listed building, the plaque needed special permission, which was granted in the summer.

Headington FC was the brainchild of Dr Hitchings, the captain of Headington United Cricket Club, who wanted a sport that the cricketers could play during the winter months ‘for the welfare of the young men of the Parish’.

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In 1911, Headington FC merged with Headington Quarry to become Headington United and in 1921 the club joined the Oxfordshire Senior League.

Oxford Mail:

In 1925 Headington moved to the Manor Ground, directly opposite the Britannia Inn, which was to be their home until moving to the Kassam Stadium in 2001.

The village of Headington was incorporated into the city of Oxford in 1929, and the football club joined the Spartan League in 1947 before joining the Southern League two years later.

In 1960 permission was received to change the team’s name to Oxford United and in 1962 the side was elected to the Football League, in place of Accrington Stanley.