Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Oxford's All-Time Worst XI

Here's something that will give you nightmares this Halloween. We've scoured the archives for Oxford's worst ever players to put together the All-Time Worst Oxford XI – set up, naturally in everyone's favourite formation, the 5-3-2. Read it and weep.



Mike Salmon
He may have only made one appearance for Oxford, but it was certainly a memorable one. Mike Salmon arrived on loan from Charlton Athletic due to an injury ruling out regular 'keeper Phil Whitehead, but was immediately sent back following his role in Oxford's worst ever home defeat with a display of such goalkeeping ineptitude that it was a wonder they didn't score more. It was one of his last games of professional football and he has since left the country to become goalkeeping coach at Vancouver Whitecaps.

John Robertson
John Robertson was a member of the rotten vintage of 2000-01 which conceded over 100 goals and lost 33 of their 46 matches. Denis Smith had made some great decisions during his first spell at Oxford, but his star had fallen by the time he returned, as evidenced by his decision to raid the Scottish lower leagues for full-backs. John Robertson made no positive contribution whatsoever to the team and only got worse with the arrival of the woeful David Kemp as manager. Robertson never played in England again and has now returned to the same club we picked him up from, Ayr United in the Scottish Second Division.

Rufus Brevett
In 2006, with United freshly relegated to the Conference, Jim Smith set about building the side which would inevitably stroll to the title at a canter and reclaim our rightful place in the Football League. Veteran centre-back Rufus Brevett, with hundreds of Premier League appearances to his name, was billed as the experienced head to lead us there and was considered a major coup. Unfortunately Brevett was 37 when he arrived and his stint turned out to be an embarrassment as the once-great defender was routinely outpaced and – worryingly – out-thought by part-time attackers. Upon his retirement at the end of the season, he took up a backroom role at the wrong end of the A420.

Lee Jarman
Lee Jarman was another member of Oxford's worst ever defence, finding himself completely out of his depth in Division Two – having been released the previous season by an Exeter side that had only narrowly avoided relegation from the Football League. Unsurprisingly, his was torn apart week-in-week-out in his only season at the club, which ended in relegation with just 27 points achieved. Jarman returned to his native Wales to play for Welsh Premier League team Barry Town and was last seen playing for Aberdare Town.

Arthur Gnohéré
Another dodgy signing from Jim Smith's second term as manager, Arthur Gnohéré was brought in as defensive cover despite being injured when he arrived at the club. United won just two of the seven matches that Gnohéré featured in, which included defeats to Histon and Droylsden. Needless to say, after his shambolic performance in the latter of those humiliating defeats Gnohéré never played for Oxford again and continued his career in Switzerland, with about as much success as he had at the Kassam.

Neil McGowan
In fairness to McGowan, he is probably one of the better players to make this list, but that's really not saying much. Another signing from the Scottish lower leagues (in this case Third Division Albion Rovers), McGowan clearly struggled with the step up at Oxford, at a time when the club desperately needed sturdy professionals to halt the slide of Kassam's early reign. After participating in thrashings by Bournemouth (in which he was sent off), Bristol Rovers, Stoke and Millwall McGowan returned to Scotland and currently plays for Irvine Meadow in the West of Scotland League.

Emiliano Diaz
Ramon Diaz's brief spell as manager was probably one of the most bizarre and exciting times to support Oxford, but one aspect of it that certainly did not excite was Ramon's son, Emiliano. Diaz appears to have followed his more talented father around the globe, playing in the youth teams at Monaco and Yokohama as well as appearing for River Plate, despite his obvious lack of talent, so it was perhaps unsurprising that he would turn up at Oxford. If his footballing ability weren't bad enough, he managed to injure Jamie Brooks in training just as he was due to return to playing again. Emiliano has remained something of a daddy's boy since leaving Oxford, becoming assistant coach at Independiente when his father took up the post there.

Jon Narbett
Narbett represented something of a risk when Brian Horton shelled out £65K for him in 1992 and it ultimately it was a gamble which backfired rather horribly, further fuelling the anti-Horton sentiment that ran strongly amongst much of the support. Fortunately, Horton's replacement, Denis Smith recognised Narbett's failings and he spent most of the 93-94 season on the bench before jetting off to glamorous Swedish Second Division side Kalmar.

Courtney Pitt
Courtney Shit, Shit Shit”- the chant perhaps says it all about this one. Graham Rix brought Pitt to the club at the end of the 2003-04 season as he haphazardly dismantled Ian Atkins' organised side, turning them from play-off contenders into a shambolic mess. The arrival of Courtney Pitt was perhaps a sign of things to come under Rix, bringing nothing of benefit to the team whatsoever. He did help the Oxford cause, however, when his rubbish corner for York at Wembley helped set up our winning goal. He is now unattached after being released by Stafford Rangers.

Marvin Robinson
'Marvellous' Marvin was another of Jim Smith mkII's signings that failed to work out. Missing the start of the 2006-07 season through injury, when he finally did make it onto the pitch a good section of the support were silently hoping he'd get injured again, such was his contribution to the cause. The stats say it all: Robinson scored just four times in 33 appearances for a side that was top of the league for much of the time he was here. He now plays for Brackley Town.

Steve Anthrobus
Steve Anthrobus scored just four times in 69 appearances for Oxford, making Marvin Robinson look positively prolific. 'The Bus' actually scored on his competitive debut against Stoke, but would only go on to score once more during the rest of that season. Incredibly, he was kept on for another season, but failed to improve on his previous term and was released in 2001 with much of the squad that had disgraced us that season, dropping down to play for Welsh Premier League side Total Network Solutions. Ironically, it seems Anthrobus discovered how to 'score' after his football career had ended, as he was caught having sex in a field in 2007.


HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think any of the players included in this list have been harshly treated? Have we missed any real stinkers that are more deserving of a place in this team? No-one from the 2005-06 season? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below...


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3 comments:

harsh on McGowan - rated him and I didn't think Brevett was at all bad in his brief spell, slow but in the formation you've selected, I would have Woozley and Roget ahead of him.

I did feel slightly guilty at including McGowan, he wasn't in the same league of awful as some of the others. Woozley's not a bad shout actually.

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