Tuktuk Day 41

It’s Sunday so that can only mean one thing. It’s time to watch Darren’s Vlog of The Week! He had a bit of misfortune with a postponement but in true showbiz style he decided “the show must go on” and found another option.

Let’s hear what he says, “After the early postponement of the match I was meant to attend (Winslow Utd/Buckingham), yesterday, I found a different one to vlog, almost certain to go ahead as it was to be played on a 3G surface.

I turned up at Oxford City’s ground to take in bottom side Long Crendon’s home match with 13th placed Southam United. In the quick research I had done, I discovered that Crendon hadn’t won since the beginning of September.

I had visited Southam earlier in the season, and found them a super helpful club, so, I contacted chairman Michael Davis to see if a interview with manager Richard Kay could be arranged…and of course, the answer was a yes, and, Richard was great with his time for me. What I wanted to really know when I arrived though was, why was Long Crendon, in step 6, groundsharing with a National League team?

I found Tom Folley, the assistant manager, DOF and a committee member at Long Crendon, who happily agreed to an interview on camera to give me the answer.

Tom, like everyone connected with the club who I met yesterday, was fantastic, especially manger Waheed Ramzan, who, before the match, agreed to give me a full time interview, even though, realistically, it had the real potential to be another defeat for his team.

About 15 minutes before kick off, still trying to decide where to film, I got talking to Ben, also part of the staff for the home team, who, unbelievably, told me I could go up on top of the stand, onto the camera balcony, to do match filming from there….honestly, you don’t know how happy that made me.

Some of the Southam players who I had been talking to earlier whilst they were warming up, spotted me up there and gave me a bit of friendly banter.

So, primed in an ideal spot, the match kicked off.

Of course, I won’t tell you what happened, as I want you to watch the vlog below, but, trust me, what I saw, I really didn’t expect…., there were goals and I thought the team of officials were excellent.

So, at full time, I climbed down from my lofty perch, did the pre planned interview with Waheed, and headed into the clubhouse where Crendon chairman Gerald Reilly bought me a welcoming cup of very hot coffee. Once that was sunk, and final link filmed, I headed home, buzzing that I had had another brilliant day out at Non League.

Huge thanks to Long Crendon and Southam United for the generosity they showed me, and also, to Winslow United for calling the game off early enough which gave me plenty of time to rearrange. “

Here is this week’s vlog. I hope you enjoy it and subscribe to his channel.

….but there’s more

Now what Darren did not know was that Oxford City have been an integral part of the Shirt Project dating back to 2009. It was one of the first grounds that Bjørn visited that summer on his cycle epic to South Africa. He was met with such enthusiasm and friendship that Bjørn to this day still talks about his visit. Obviously when I cycled to the 92 clubs in 2010 there was no way that I could not pop in and thank them. I was equally met with great friendship and was even offered the dressing rooms to sleep in as well as the run of the showers etc. A clean Steve and clean clothes. Beautiful. In the way that all football fans do, I have watched out for the Oxford City results ever since.

I wrote at the time (August 2010),

“It’s all about friendship. Really looking forward to going to Oxford CITY today. Colin Taylor and his guys really looked after Bjørn when he was in the “City of Spires” last year and I’d like to go back and say thanks. Bjørn talks a lot about the help he got from the smaller clubs and Oxford City is one he often mentions. One of his/my favourite photos of the last 15 years is at Oxford City.

As expected it was an easy trip to Oxford and apart from playing traffic cop when three cars collided and blocked off one carriageway of the Milton Keynes-Bicester road largely without incident.

I arrived at the neat Oxford City ground to be met by Colin who entertained and educated me greatly about the proud history of Oxford City. Did you know that they were once winners of FA Amateur Cup? Did you know they were once by the late great Sir Bobby Moore “assisted” by Harry Redknapp? This and more can be found here.

I was very interested to learn more about their community schemes and plans for the development of the ground. I bought four shares – one for me, one for Bjørn, one for The Shirt and, as seemed appropriate, one for the sponsor of the day, David Stolz at InfoLogic.

Colin was kind enough to let me stay at their clubhouse and I was locked in with my bike for a good night’s sleep. As you see, he also kindly presented me with a brand-new Oxford City polo which I wore with pride on my journey to Swindon.”


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