Oxford United & The Football Conference

Supporters of Blue Square Premier club Oxford United could be forgiven for wondering whether there is a conspiracy theory against them. They were relegated from the Football League after years of systematic maladministration, and it now seems that their attempts to get back into the League will be scuppered by more of the same, only this poor bureaucracy has come not only from within the club, but also from the Blue Square Premier itself. The row that has followed has rumbled all season, but recent developments have, if anything, cast doubt over the suitability of Brian Lee, the BSP’s chairman, to the position in which he finds himself. Three Blue Square Premier clubs, Oxford United, Mansfield Town and Crawley Town, and one Blue Square South club, Bognor Regis Town, were docked points earlier in the season for fielding ineligible players. This much is not disputed by anyone, including the clubs themselves. The clubs, however, complained about the way in which the league handled checking the registration of players, which seemed to involve the random spot-checking of team sheets rather than systematically checking all registrations. With seeming reluctance, the Football Conference held an internal investigation into their procedures and cleared themselves of any wrongdoing over the processing of these applications, but also promised to “monitor and observe any new procedures being developed in the national game that will further enhance...

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