10... moments that define Chris Wilder's time as manager of Oxford United

Bicester Advertiser: Chris Wilder Chris Wilder

Bicester Advertiser: United fan Thom Airs says he'll wear dark clothing from now on

Oxford United fan (and former Oxford Mail reporter) Thom Airs gives us his 10 moments that define Chris Wilder's time as manager of the U's...

Bicester Advertiser: New signings Ryan Clarke (left) and Marcus Kelly with manager Chris Wilder

1. The signing of Ryan Clarke

The Bristolian arrived from Northwich Victoria in the Summer of 2009 and, along with players like Jake Wright and James Constable, has formed the backbone of Wilder's sides. More than 210 appearances later he's created an enviable penalty-saving record and can probably just about laugh at his Wembley howler by now.

Bicester Advertiser: Billy Turley has been suffering with a shoulder injury

2. The axing of Billy Turley

With Clarke's arrival came the beginning of the end for crowd favourite Billy Turley. It was a bold move to bench the former Rushden keeper for the opening game of the 2010 campaign, but it signalled a ruthlessness that has defined Wilder's tenure. Just ask Mark Creighton, Adam Murray, Dannie Bulman, Matt Green and Jack Midson.

Bicester Advertiser: Chris Wilder celebrates winning promotion at Wembley with his backroom team and chairman Kelvin Thomas

3. The Wembley knee-slide

It's May 2010 and Alfie Potter has just sealed Oxford's return to the Football League at a sodden national stadium in front of 35,000 United fans. How does Wilder celebrate? With a joyous knee-slide down the touchline worthy of any hyperactive child on a wedding-reception dancefloor.

Bicester Advertiser: Ricky Sappleton celebrates scoring on his United debut

4. The signing of Ricky Sappleton

The first of a huge list of temporary strikers to have come and gone under Wilder, big-boned Sappleton came off the bench to score on his debut on New Year's Day 2009 then sank without trace. See also: Mehdi Kerrouche, Ryan Doble, Onome Sodje and Matthew Fletcher.

Bicester Advertiser: James Constable scores the opening goal against Bristol Rovers

5. Getting James Constable on a permanent deal

'Beano' was initially brought to the club on loan by Darren Patterson, but it was Wilder – who just three weeks into his time at United said Constable “epitomises what I am trying to build here at the club” – who made the deal permanent.

Bicester Advertiser: Eddie Hutchinson

6. The missing Eddie Hutchinson fax

Less than a month into Wilder's reign his side were deducted five points for failing to register midfielder Eddie Hutchinson. It made Conference chairman Brian Lee a villain in fans' eyes and eventually cost Oxford a play-off spot. Wilder, whose interviews were sometimes cagey and defensive, couldn't hide his frustration as he called the division a “poxy league”.

Bicester Advertiser: Chris Wilder and Peter Leven at the full time whistle in Swindon

7. Beating Swindon at the County Ground

Wembley aside, this is perhaps Wilder's greatest day as Oxford manager. A gritty 2-1 win against, let's face it, a technically superior side, ended 38 years of hurt at the County Ground.

Bicester Advertiser: Paolo Di Canio has words with Oxford United boss Chris Wilder at the Kassam Stadium in March 2012 during his spell at Swindon

8. The battle between Wilder and Di Canio

It's September 2012 and Oxford have beaten Swindon 1-0 in the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. In the bowels of the Kassam Stadium Chris Wilder has just finished a video interview with the club website. He flashes a smile at the camera and holds three fingers aloft. Three from three against Di Canio. The freezeframe goes viral.

Bicester Advertiser: Oxford United teenager Rob Hall celebrates the first of his double against Plymouth on Tuesday night

9. The loan signing of Rob Hall

Undoubtedly a talented player, Hall is notable for being arguably the only teenager to be given a proper run in the side by Wilder. Aaron Woodley, Matty Taylor, Alex Fisher, Tyrone Marsh, Callum O'Dowda and plenty of others have failed to get regular games, much to the frustration of some fans.

Bicester Advertiser: Pictures from Oxford United's Home tie against Scunthorpe

10. This season's home defeat to Scunthorpe

This season and last, United have won just 14 of their 38 home league games in front of dropping attendances. In a division devoid of a runaway leader, an average Scunthorpe team came away with a comfortable win, leaving some fans to ponder Wilder's inability to break down obstinate away sides in the four seasons since promotion.

Comments (3)

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7:19pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Richard Wickson says...

These points are obviously intended to highlight the good and the bad of Wilders reign and they certainly highlight the bad points perfectly.
Point 4. Ricky Sappleton was one of many that flattered only to deceive under Chris, he really cannot select goalscorers.
Point 9. Rob Hall came in from West Ham twice, he was a decent player and one of Chris's better loan signings, highlighting again the many poor ones.
Point10 the home defeats particularly the Scunthorpe one showed that he really can't get his players to work out the way thru other sides, I believe he pays the opposition far far too much respect and leads his players to believe they are second best to the opposition.
He has done a reasonable job in getting us out of the Poxy League but can't step up a gear.
Thanks Chris and good luck, there's no going back in my book!
These points are obviously intended to highlight the good and the bad of Wilders reign and they certainly highlight the bad points perfectly. Point 4. Ricky Sappleton was one of many that flattered only to deceive under Chris, he really cannot select goalscorers. Point 9. Rob Hall came in from West Ham twice, he was a decent player and one of Chris's better loan signings, highlighting again the many poor ones. Point10 the home defeats particularly the Scunthorpe one showed that he really can't get his players to work out the way thru other sides, I believe he pays the opposition far far too much respect and leads his players to believe they are second best to the opposition. He has done a reasonable job in getting us out of the Poxy League but can't step up a gear. Thanks Chris and good luck, there's no going back in my book! Richard Wickson
  • Score: -23

7:22pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Richard Wickson says...

Richard Wickson wrote:
These points are obviously intended to highlight the good and the bad of Wilders reign and they certainly highlight the bad points perfectly.
Point 4. Ricky Sappleton was one of many that flattered only to deceive under Chris, he really cannot select goalscorers.
Point 9. Rob Hall came in from West Ham twice, he was a decent player and one of Chris's better loan signings, highlighting again the many poor ones.
Point10 the home defeats particularly the Scunthorpe one showed that he really can't get his players to work out the way thru other sides, I believe he pays the opposition far far too much respect and leads his players to believe they are second best to the opposition.
He has done a reasonable job in getting us out of the Poxy League but can't step up a gear.
Thanks Chris and good luck, there's no going back in my book!
Point 6. Eddie Hutchinson affair was we were led to believe more down to Mick Brown and this chaos over has he hasn't he brings that memory back into sharp focus. Chris shouldn't be tarnished with that one!
[quote][p][bold]Richard Wickson[/bold] wrote: These points are obviously intended to highlight the good and the bad of Wilders reign and they certainly highlight the bad points perfectly. Point 4. Ricky Sappleton was one of many that flattered only to deceive under Chris, he really cannot select goalscorers. Point 9. Rob Hall came in from West Ham twice, he was a decent player and one of Chris's better loan signings, highlighting again the many poor ones. Point10 the home defeats particularly the Scunthorpe one showed that he really can't get his players to work out the way thru other sides, I believe he pays the opposition far far too much respect and leads his players to believe they are second best to the opposition. He has done a reasonable job in getting us out of the Poxy League but can't step up a gear. Thanks Chris and good luck, there's no going back in my book![/p][/quote]Point 6. Eddie Hutchinson affair was we were led to believe more down to Mick Brown and this chaos over has he hasn't he brings that memory back into sharp focus. Chris shouldn't be tarnished with that one! Richard Wickson
  • Score: -13

9:27am Mon 27 Jan 14

Richard Wickson says...

The thumbs downs on my points above shows what a fickle lot OU fans can be. What have I said that isn't a proven fact? All of my words have been proven!
The thumbs downs on my points above shows what a fickle lot OU fans can be. What have I said that isn't a proven fact? All of my words have been proven! Richard Wickson
  • Score: 0

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