FROM today, Oxford United fans have a new way to show support for their club and directly influence what happens on the pitch.

The Oxford Mail has teamed up with the club’s 12th Man fund to offer yellow wristbands to U’s fans.

Every single penny from the sale of each band, which will be available for a suggested minimum donation of £1, will go towards helping the club pay transfer fees or players’ wages when the transfer window reopens in January.

A total of 2,000 wristbands will be available from news-agents, pubs and the club’s ticket office at the Kassam Stadium from today.

The 12th Man fund, which began in July, netted £5,000 to pay for the re-signing of Witney-born forward Jamie Cook from Blue Square Premier Crawley, in September.

Since then, the fan-led initiative has grown and raised thousands of pounds more.

Last month, supporters took part in a sponsored walk from Kidlington to the stadium ahead of the team’s clash with Altrincham.

Cook, who has scored three times since returning to United, told the Oxford Mail: “It’s another fantastic thing the fans are doing to try to raise more for the 12th Man fund. The 12th Man initiative is something I will always be grateful to because it’s brought me, as an Oxford United fan, back to my home-town club and I love it here.

“I’m sure the wristbands will prove very popular among the supporters.”

The idea for the bands came from fan John Gould, an Oxford fan since 1963.

He said: “Having gained some experience from selling the badges, myself and another volunteer, Jon Crelin, thought we would follow up on the repeated question from fans of ‘when can we have some more wristbands?’ “We approached the club and they were very keen on the idea and put us in touch with the Oxford Mail.

“The Mail was very helpful in designing the wristband and putting us in touch with an ethical manufacturer. They also volunteered to get some of their outlets involved in the selling.

“So, after many weeks of phone calls, meetings and planning we are at the launch date of another exciting fundraising event.”

Trevor Lambert, chairman of supporters’ trust OxVox, said: “The 12th Man was launched with what the fans’ groups thought was an optimistic aim of raising £10,000 over the season.

“Thanks to the fantastic support of our fans and with the full commitment of the football club, that target has already been exceeded in less than half the season.

“The original Oxford Loyal wristbands in 2006 were a huge success and many fans have suggested we release a 12th Man version.

“These new ones look great and are an ideal stocking filler with Christmas just around the corner. We are delighted the club and the Oxford Mail have helped us to make this a reality.

“Hopefully the new wristbands will be a big hit with fans and help Chris Wilder during the January sales.”