AS a young Oxford United fan, it doesn’t get much better than standing in the middle of the Wembley pitch watching your team lift a trophy.

But for Joey Beauchamp, it nearly got him into a heap of trouble.

The 15-year-old was a ball boy as the U’s defeated Queens Park Rangers 3-0, but was meant to be watching from the sidelines as Malcolm Shotton lifted the Milk Cup.

However, Beauchamp was literally in dreamland and ended up having to race off the playing surface after being in complete awe of his team’s achievements.

The winger went on to become one of Oxford’s greatest players, dazzling supporters with his trickery down the wings at the Manor Ground.

But despite experiencing so many highs with the U’s, Beauchamp admits April 20, 1986, is hard to beat.

“It was just an unbelievable day,”

he said. “I still think back to it and have three real memories – having a headache from all the noise there, watching my team lift the trophy and then being the only person stood on the pitch when I wasn’t supposed to be.”

Beauchamp was a member of the Oxford United Under 15 representative side, coached by Malcolm Elias, who spent a number of years at United as their youth development officer.

There were six places up for grabs to be a ball boy at the final, and the only fair way to decide who should go was to put the names into a hat and draw them out.

“Mine was picked out first,”

Beauchamp said.

“I was obviously delighted as I would have been gutted as an Oxford United supporter to miss out on seeing my home-town club at Wembley.”

He continued: “We all went up in a minibus and then came out of the tunnel behind all the players.

“I can still remember the noise now. I have never experienced anything like it before. Not even playing in front of full houses at big stadiums.

“It was just amazing, absolutely deafening and just unreal.

“I had a headache for ages because it was so loud, that’s a really clear memory.”

Despite not having too much to do throughout the match, Beauchamp was rarely still in his position by the corner flag, thanks mainly to Oxford supporters.

“As you come out the tunnel, I was stood to the left, in the corner close to where Oxford scored their goals which was brilliant.

“I had to keep moving, though, as I was being shouted out by the Oxford fans behind me all game to shift because I was blocking their view.

“I reckon I only had four or five touches of the ball, but it was still an amazing day.”

But the clearest memory came at the time United skipper Shotton lifted the trophy.

“When the players went up to get their medals we were told to stand around the semi-circle and clap them. But as soon as they had got them, we had to leave the pitch immediately,”

he said.

“I was at the very end of our group and was stood there watching my club lift the trophy. It was just an unbelievable feeling.

“I was probably in a dream, wondering what it would feel like playing at Wembley and winning a cup final there.

“The players came down the steps and got together for the team picture on the side of the pitch, then I looked to my side to realise that every other ball boy had gone.

“I was stood in the middle of the pitch at Wembley and I was the only person there.

“I thought I had better leg it to catch up with them all as they disappeared, but if you watch the video of it all, as the Oxford players are getting together for the picture, there’s a boy running across the pitch in the background – and that’s me.

“I’ve still got the video of that game. It was amazing.”

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