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PARALLEL LINES: OXFORD

23 August 2016

There are a number of similarities between the two clubs.


The kit
In 1985/86, Oxford United upset the odds by winning the League Cup, defeating Queens Park Rangers at Wembley. Their yellow kit, paired with navy shorts, was later echoed by Brighton & Hove Albion in 2013/14, who wore these colours when they drew 0-0 at QPR in September. The following May, Brighton wore the same kit when they defeated Nottingham Forest with a late Leo Ulloa goal to reach the Championship play-offs.

The bogey teams
Since entering the Football League, Brighton and Oxford have been experienced good and poor runs against each other. The U’s won just two of the first 14 encounters with Brighton in a barren spell from 1963 to 1976. However, since 1984, Oxford have had the upper hand with the Seagulls winning just two of the last 14 matches. The last was in April 1990, when Robert Codner gave Albion a 1-0 win at the Manor Ground. However, the Seagulls did record a 4-0 victory in a pre-season friendly between the two clubs last month.

The protests
Both clubs have histories of fans’ protests. In May 1983, Oxford chairman Robert Maxwell proposed merging Oxford United with Reading to form Thames Valley Royals, leading to a strong campaign against this. In the 1990s, Seagulls supporters campaigned against the sale of the Goldstone Ground without consultation.

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The players
Dean Saunders, John Byrne and Steve Foster have played for both clubs. Saunders hit 25 goals in 86 appearances for the Seagulls, before moving to First Division Oxford for just £60,000 towards the end of the 1986/87 campaign. Foster had two spells with Brighton, from 1979 to 1983 and then from 1992 to 1996. In between, he was signed by Brian Horton for Oxford in July 1989. 

The bosses
Former Seagulls stars Mark Lawrenson and Brian Horton managed the U’s in 1988. Lawro took charge in the summer after leaving Liverpool, but was dismissed in a crisis when star striker Dean Saunders was sold to Derby County without his permission. Having served as Oxford assistant, Horton took over in October that year and did a superb job in difficult financial circumstances, eventually leaving for the Manchester City job in August 1993.


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