Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Stories of the scum

On Sunday Oxford play The Scum (aka Swindon Town) in the 2nd round of the FA Cup. Oxford’s rivalry with The Scum is fearsome, and runs much more deeply than our rivalry with Wycscum Wankers (Wycombe Wanderers).

It’s going to be ugly, on Saturday we played Lincoln City, and some Swindon fans turned up for a ruckus. Get that, whilst their team played Peterborough at home, Swindon fans turned up at Oxford a week early for a fight. Oxford’s stadium has no segregation, and there is always trouble at these games. What’s more, the part of the ground where Scum and Oxford fans meet will be in full view of the main TV gantry, the game is being broadcast live on BBC1. Oh dear.

As if the flames needed more stoking, this is the first meeting for a few years, the first time we’ve met in the FA Cup, the first game at our brand spanking new stadium.

My first ever Scum derby was when I was quite small, I had no idea of the rivalry (I was in a duffle coat with gloves attached to a piece of string at the time) and we won 5-1. Afterwards both sets of fans rampaged onto the pitch; my lasting vision was of one Scum fan being chased by a hoard of Oxford nutters. Realising he had no hope of escape, he turned and ran at them, all on his own, and they scattered.

After that Oxford went up the leagues, whilst Swindon went down. Then the opposite happened, we played each other as we crossed over. Out the back of the Swindon ground is a big field where the police shepherd everyone out to so the fighting doesn’t disturb the neighbours. I’ve actually had to plead with Police to let me get to my car insisting I didn’t want to go and do any fighting with the rough boys.

The best time was in our promotion season five years ago. Charlie, dark and demonic, came to watch. We were in the middle of a 16 match unbeaten run which would see us promoted after getting to Christmas in 14th position. After about 20 minutes Matt Elliot volleyed in from 20 yards through a crowd of players. Everyone went beserk, I turned to see Charlie with his arms straight in the air being bounced up and down by an old bloke who was hugging him. Charlie was loving it, he had a big boyish grin on his face, we all were. We went onto win 3-0, Joey Beauchamp got the third in front of the Swindon fans, pure magic.

And so onto Sunday. On Football Focus they described it as a Pig’s Head Derby, after Barcelona fans threw a pigs head onto the pitch in a game against arch rivals Real Madrid. It’s going to be intimidating, ugly, violent, and disgraceful… I for one, can’t wait.


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