Oxford United & The Football Conference


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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5 Responses

  1. Andy Davidson says:

    Good article and thanks for publicising this.

    One point that I feel has been missed though, is the fact that due to the spot checking system, Oxford and Bognor were penalised more points than the other teams, simply because the random nature of the Conference process failed to discover the error for weeks / months.

    The penalties for the four ‘guilty’ clubs were determined purely by how long it took the Conference to detect the administrative ‘offences’. Hence, Crawley’s error was discovered immediately by the Conference and resulted in only one point deduction (eventually), whereas the other clubs, in particular Oxford and Bognor Regis were penalised more heavily.

    So, same offence, but four different punishments.

  2. Boris says:

    Thanks for highlighting this issue. It looks more and more that Brian Lee is an amateur trying (and failing) to manage a professional organisation. The news that broke this week of Histon fielding an ineligible player back in August further damages the Conference’s credibility, and demonstrates Lee’s incompetence, as well as his lack of transparency, having been asked whether there were other cases of ineligible players and denying it.

    Personally I don’t hold with the conspiracy theory that the Conference is deliberately trying to prevent Oxford’s promotion. However, it should also be pointed out that Histon’s chairman is on the Conference board, and the chairman of Burton Albion was on the panel that determined Oxford’s points deduction. This is a clear-cut case of conflict of interest, and the matter must not be allowed to rest. I would join the clamour for an independent review by the FA, but I fear that organisation is similarly blighted by the old boys in blazers syndrome, and is unlikely to be truly impartial.

    The only fair result (and I admit that I’m not impartial) is for the points deductions to be suspended for a year, as none of the clubs involved are guilty of anything other than poor administration and there is no indication that any attempt has been made to cheat the system. Oh, and for Lee to resign, of course.

  3. Andy Davidson says:

    ” Oh, and for Lee to resign, of course”

    And Dennis Strudwick too please.

  4. Peter Tickler says:

    Thanks for your really excellent article on “Oxford United and the Football Conference”. I think it presents the case very fairly. As an Oxford fan, I am outraged by the fact that (a) Mr Lee has taken no responsibility for the fiasco and (b) our administrative error over a player who had been under contract to us for the two seasons perviously, took so long to be spotted that we have received a disproportionate punishment that will clearly see us denied our rightful place in the play-offs.

  5. Martin Drake says:

    Brian Lee doesn’t come out of this nonsense looking very good, but sadly he’s probably better than many other people who would love to have his position.

    You would think after Wimbledon’s much-publicised registration mistake and disproportionate punishment over Jermaine Darlington’s Welshness in 2007 and other high profile cases (Altrincham etc.) that football authorities would have improved their procedures but it seems not.

    I would love for someone like Erik Samuelson or Kris Stewart to join the Football Conference board. It is what they need.

    Bognor may still be saved if just one other Conference South club disappear like Team Bath or, more likely, take voluntary demotion (Worcester or Dorchester would be my favourites for the latter). Only five out the twelve clubs who have finished in the Conference South relegation places in its four year history to date have actually relegated.

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