Roy Hodgson takes his Palace side to Oxford United on Saturday as they continue their pre-season preparations at the home of the League One side. Ahead of that game, here is everything you need to know about the U’s.
What is their history?
Formed as Headington in 1893, United was added to their name in 1911 after merging with Headington Quarry. They turned professional in 1949 when they gained entrance to the Southern League and 11 years later became Oxford United.
In 1962 they were elected to the Football League and by the end of the decade had reached the Second Division, and in the 1980s, with Robert Maxwell bankrolling the club, they were promoted to the top-flight and won the 1986 League Cup.
Following Maxwell’s death in 1991, the club entered a decade of financial instability but it was saved when businessman Firoz Kassam acquired the club in 1999. In 2006 the club were relegated to the Conference but returned to League Two in 2010, and achieved their current third-tier status six seasons later.
In competitive action, the Eagles faced the U’s for eight seasons in the league, all bar one in the second tier, and have only lost twice which both occurred at the Manor Ground. They also knocked Palace out of the Simod Cup (later the ZDS Cup) in November 1987, while Saturday’s game will be the sixth friendly between the teams.
It was a campaign of upheaval at the Kassam Stadium last term, with Michael Appleton departing to become assistant manager at Leicester City before the season kicked off, with former Leeds United assistant Pep Clotet filling the vacancy.
After overseeing a huge turnover of players, the Spaniard initially began well but a home 7-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic during a poor winter contributed to his dismissal, which came following a defeat to rock-bottom Bury despite the club sitting in 10th spot.
Derek Fazackerley would spend two months in charge as caretaker, during which time Thai businessman Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth became Oxford’s new owner and installed Karl Robinson as boss, who managed to overturn the slump in fortunes and steer the U’s away from the relegation zone, eventually finishing 16th.
This summer so far
Robinson has been active in the transfer market, recruiting players with Premier League experience in young Everton loanee Luke Garbutt, Tony McMahon, Samir Carruthers and their big summer capture, Jamie Mackie from Queens Park Rangers [above].
Young winger Gavin Whyte was brought in for an undisclosed fee from Crusaders, having been called up to the full Northern Ireland squad in May, but they did suffer the blow of losing last season’s Player of the Year Ryan Ledson on a free transfer to Preston North End, while big names such as Mike Williamson, Dwight Tiendalli and ex-Eagle Aaron Martin also departed, as well as Wes Thomas who finished as the U’s joint-top scorer in 2017/18.
Remarkably the meeting with Palace will be Oxford’s eighth friendly already this summer, all have which have taken place in the last 13 days. They have suffered a single defeat in that time against Hampton and Richmond Borough, on the same day a stronger side beat Oxford City 5-1.
Where do they play?
Oxford have been stadium pioneers in the past, having been the first professional club to install floodlights in 1950 when they called the Manor Ground their home.
When the Taylor Report deemed that ground unfit for purpose, work began on a new stadium but that was suspended in 1997 due to financial difficulties, however Kassam’s takeover allowed work to restart on the newly-named Kassam Stadium and it was opened in August 2001 when Palace were the opponents for its official opening, which finished 1-1 and Oxford winning a penalty shootout.
It is unique in the fact it only has three stands, as the U’s struggle to regularly fill the 12,500 capacity generated from the other three, although the foundations are in place should the club wish to add the final stand.
Who is in charge?
Robinson is best known for his six-year tenure in charge of MK Dons, where he had previously been assistant manager to Paul Ince. He gained promotion to the Championship in in 2015, but he wasn’t able to keep the Dons in the division for more than a season.
After departing in October 2016, he joined Charlton Athletic a month later where he spent 18 months, but opted to move to Oxford in March 2018 where he achieved three wins and two draws from his 10 games in charge to stave off any fears of relegation.
This summer he moved to bring in former Palace defender Shaun Derry as first-team coach, who actually played and scored in their 5-1 win against Longford Town when he filled in due to a last-minute withdrawal.
Other notable players
There is another Palace connection in the Oxford ranks in attacker Jonathan Obika [above], who spent a short time on loan in SE25 in 2010/11 season from Tottenham Hotspur, who has scored six times already in pre-season.
Former Liverpool midfielder Cameron Brannagan played in the same Reds side at Mamadou Sakho and Christian Benteke, while Curtis Nelson and John Mousinho are captain and vice-captain respectively.
Tickets and travel
Tickets are now on general sale, priced at:
Over 65s: £7
*All supporters aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Tickets can be purchased in the following ways:
Tickets can be purchased in the following ways:
- Online - you will need to create a new Palace Account to use this service. Register or find out more
- By calling 08712 000 071 (lines open 9am - 5.30pm weekdays, 9am - 12.30pm on non-match Saturdays)
- In person at the Box Office between 9am - 5.30pm Monday-Saturday and 10am - 4pm on Sundays. Both the Ticket Line and Box Office will be closed on bank holidays
Due to planned engineering works, Oxford Station will be closed on matchday. Supporters are advised that trains from London Paddington and Marylebone will stop at Oxford Parkway, with a rail replacement bus service transferring those with a London to Oxford train ticket to Oxford Station.