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Making a Manager - The Story

Ryan Ferguson returns for another English LLM journey
Started on 23 October 2018 by Justice
Latest Reply on 15 May 2019 by Griffo
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Birmingham Ease Past Oxford City

Birmingham Cruised To A 3-0 Victory Over Oxford City In The FA Cup


Oxford City's sensational run in the FA Cup came to an end as Birmingham City cut them to shreds in the Third Round of the competition. St. Andrews was the venue as The Blues bullied a side four tiers below them. It was EFL Championship against National League South, and the difference in quality showed.

Ryan Ferguson had inspired his team to reach new heights this season and he named an almost identical lineup to the side that defeated Swindon Town in the previous round. Joe Oastler replaced the injured Brad McGowan in central defence and Kris Owens came in for Ben Jefford on the left.

Birmingham City's side contained far more reputable players, with players of the caliber of David Davis and Che Adams to boast. It was a side which was far superior to their opposition and only victory would have been acceptable for Garry Monk's side.

The game was rather even when it came to possession. Both teams put together over 300 completed passes each, with Birmingham just edging the overall possession. It was the quality of possession which mattered in this game, however, and not the quantity.

Birmingham were looking to threaten from set-piece plays and their first goal came from one. Midway through the first half, David Davis delivered an inviting cross from a free-kick which rebounded a number of times in Oxford City's penalty area before the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Birmingham's Harlee Dean. Luke Ruddick was the offender with a careless shove.

Up stepped striker Isaac Vassell and Birgmingham's front man coolly rolled his penalty down the middle of the goal as Oxford City's Craig King dived to the side. The goal had been one of heartbreak to Oxford City who had been so resilient in defence up to that point.

Birmingham cranked up the pressure after the first goal and soon found a second. Anthony Pilkington delivered a far post corner which was met by the head of Maikel Kieftenbald who had risen above all others in the box to double Birmingham's advantage.

Unfortunately for Birmingham City, Anthony Pilkington came off injured shortly after. The Irishman had injured his foot in a challenge with Luke Ruddick and was replaced by Jacques Maghoma. The injury slowed down the pace of the first half which drew to a close. Birmingham were comfortably ahead.

Birmingham City's threat from set pieces continued in the second half. Substitute Maghoma picked out Kieftenbald in the box and the Dutch holding midfielder was denied his second goal of the game by the outside of the post. It was very nearly game over.

Oxford City's Fans Traveled In Their Numbers To Support Their Team

Birmingham scored their third goal in incredible fashion soon after. The Blues teased their opposition with a passing move on the edge of the eighteen yard box before David Davis picked up the ball on the left inside the area. The Englishman cut in past Luke Ruddick before firing a low driven effort across goal and into the back of the net. It was game over.

Birmingham looked to add to their goal tally with a number of efforts from the edge of the area but could not create any more clear cut chances as Oxford City battled valiantly to keep the deficit down.

Oxford City almost found a way back into the game just before the hour mark through their talisman striker Kabongo Tshimanga. Winger Nosa Iyamu picked up the ball in space before playing a cutting-edge pass into the path of Tshimanga who had just former Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak to beat, but the former Polish international did well to tip the shot wide of goal.

The away side left St. Andrews clueless as to how they didn't score at least one goal as Zac McEachran came closest with just five minutes to go. A corner taken by Rob Sinclair was cleared as far McEachran on the edge of the area who pinged a volley onto the post, before the ball deflected off the back of Kuszczak and trickled just wide of goal.

The game ended with Birmingham running out as clear winners. It was a result which displayed the difference in ability of each team and Birmingham ran out as deserved winners in the end.

Player Ratings:
Birmingham City: Kuszczak (7); Collin (8), Dean (8), Roberts (7), Pedersen (7); Davis (8), Kieftenbeld (8), Gardner (7); Adams (7), Pilkington (7), Vassell (7)
Subs Used: Maghoma (6), Bogle (6), Morrison (6)

Oxford City: King (6); Ruddick (6), Oastler (6), Upton (6), Owens (6); Freiter (6), Sinclair (6), Ashby (6); Iyamu (6), McEachran (6), Tshimanga (6)
Subs Used: Jefford (6), Moss (6), Akinjogbin (6)

Man of the Match: David Davis (8)

Oxford City Were Outclassed By A Brilliant Birmingham Performance

Garry Monk (Birmingham City Manager):
"I'm happy with the performance and the result. We knew Oxford City would come here to play a high-intensity performance and we dealt with that remarkably. Aside from the couple of chances we conceded in the second half, we kept them in check and we created plenty of chances of our own.

The one major disappointment was the injury to Anthony (Pilkington). It doesn't look too serious but he was in some amount of discomfort and couldn't continue. We'll assess him tomorrow and hopefully he'll be back in a couple of weeks. He's an important player for us and we want him on the pitch rather than in the stands.

Our set-piece play was tremendous. I feel we had the edge over them in most situations and all of our goals came from one set-piece or another. It is something we've practiced a lot in training and I'm happy it came off today."

Birmingham Edged Possession But Had Considerably More Shots

Ryan Ferguson (Oxford City Manager):
"It is always disappointing to lose a game but I think we can be proud of our players. We didn't have a bad game, we were just outplayed. We put up a good fight and we can go home knowing we gave it our best shot out there today.

It was a fantastic experience for the players to come to a stadium like this to play against a team like this. Birmingham is a big team and I think we can take a lot from this experience. We'll be back in the tournament stronger than ever next time and hopefully we can achieve similar success, if not more.

The fans were great. There were over 700 of our fans here today and they made an incredible noise. They gave us plenty of belief that we could create chances and I think we gave Birmingham quite the scare towards the end! We owe the fans our thanks for making the travel with us today."

Match Highlights

Match Highlights As Birmingham City Defeated Oxford City In The FA Cup

What Happens Next?

Birmingham City are back in action next Saturday at home to Middlesbrough in the Championship as The Blues look to improve their consistency in performances. Birmingham will likely be without Anthony Pilkington who picked up a foot injury against Oxford City.

Oxford City will travel to St. Albans City on Tuesday as they look to keep their grasp on first place in the National League South. Oxford City will still be without Brad McGowan who missed today's game with a groin injury.

Previous Update: #16 - Oxford City Out Of Financial Danger
Next Update: #18 - Warnock Joins Oxford City Background Team
You've put on a hell of a journey for your fans, and a 3-0 defeat to a Championship side is nothing to be ashamed of! Hopefully you can maintain positive form and momentum for the rest of the league campaign now though
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Warnock Joins Oxford City Backroom Team

Former Defender Stephen Warnock Has Become Oxford City's New U18s Manager


Former Liverpool and England defender Stephen Warnock has been unveiled as Oxford City's new U18s maager. The position had been a long-term vacancy, due to financial restrictions at the football club, but has since been filled by senior team manager Ryan Ferguson's former team mate.

Warnock was a graduate of Liverpool's youth academy and made his senior debut on loan at Bradford City in 2002, at the age of 20. A successful loan spell at Coventry City in 2003-2004 prompted new Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez to promote Warnock to Liverpool's senior team for the 2004-2005 season.

The full back made sixty-seven appearances for the club before joining Blackburn Rovers in 2006-2007. He became an important player for Rovers during his time at the club, which was often considered to be where he played his best football, before having spells at numerous other clubs including Aston Villa, Leeds United and Derby County.

Stephen Warnock finished his career at Bradford City last season, where he made his senior debut all those years ago. His sixteen year long senior career saw him play in 540 senior club games, including 212 Premier League games, and he also played twice for England between 2008 and 2010.

Warnock was at Liverpool Football Club at the same time as current Oxford City manager Ryan Ferguson. Their continuing friendly relationship brought above Warnock's move into management with Oxford City's U18s side where he will look to bring together the next golden generation of Oxford football.

Warnock will be joined by assistant manager Jonathan Belgrave. The thirty-three year old had never played competitive football but impressed in an interview and currently holds a National A Coaching License. The two will work together as a managing unit until at least 2020, when their contracts expire.

Stephen Warnock spoke of his pride at moving into management and was thankful towards the hierarchy of Oxford City. He spoke of his plans to become a successful football manager and to emulate colleague Ryan Ferguson in years to come.

Stephen Warnock:
"It is a proud moment for myself to have become manager at U18s level for this football club. It is my first managerial position and it is the start of something special, hopefully. It will certainly be a different experience to stepping out onto the pitch myself but I look forward to being in the dugout and working with the players on and off the pitch.

I want to become a successful manager. I was fortunate enough to have a great career as a footballer, particularly in the Premier League for some very big football clubs. I hope to emulate that kind of success in management and work at the highest level and this is the perfect opportunity to learn my new trade and to develop my skills as a manager.

Ryan (Ferguson) has done fantastically well here at Oxford City so far this season. He has some incredible ideas of how to develop a team and the results on the pitch, in particular, have demonstrated his nous for this kind of thing. I hope to learn a lot from him here and to one day emulate the kind of success he has had already."

Comment Section

mgriffin2012, I'm very proud of my players and it is now time for them to translate their superb FA Cup form into league play!

Previous Update: #17 - Birmingham Ease Past Oxford City
Next Update: #19 - Season 2018-2019: January
Despite the loss, the fans will be extremely happy to have reached the third round of the competition. Warnock's experience will be a major help to the squad over the rest of the season and beyond. I'm sure he will aid the squad in important moments.
Really liked Warnock when he was at Leeds, a great footballing mind and spoke loads of sense. Good appointment in my opinion and I'm sure he'll handle the next generations of Oxford City players just fine :)
Sure he will be a very shrewd appointment and one that helps shape the future of Oxford City, wish he had been given more of a chance at Liverpool if i'm honest, always used to rate him
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season 2018-2019: January

An Overview Of Oxford City In January 2019

Ryan Ferguson:
"2018 was a terrific year for Oxford City Football Club and we were full of ambition going into the new year. With a big fixture against Birmingham City in the FA Cup on the horizon, we were keen to start the year as brightly as we ended the previous."


Adebambo Akinjogbin Departed For Partick Thistle

Major Transfers In
(Name | Age | Position | Fee | Signed From | CA/PA)
Dom Ellis | 16 (04/02/2002) | AMR | £0 | Free Transfers | /
Wage: £5 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £2,200

Sam Pickles | 17 (09/11/2001) | AMR | £0 | Free Transfers | /
Wage: £0 p/w | Expiry Date: N/A | Value: £0

Major Transfers Out
(Name | Age | Position | Fee | Signed For)
Adebambo Akinjogbin | 19 (01/12/1999) | AMR/AML | £0 | Partick Thistle

We had organised a trial day in January to pick up some of the local unattached talent. Ten players were successfully signed up to our youth team, with Dom Ellis & Sam Pickles the pick of the bunch. The two wingers looked as though they were perhaps capable of going on and becoming senior players for the club in the future.

Adebambo Akinjogbin became our first sale under my reign. He was a very bright prospect who I did not want to let go but he was only attached to us by a non-contract, and the interest in him was too high. Sheffield United and Coventry City were among those looking to snap up the winger but Adebambo decided to move to Scotland and join Partick Thistle.


A Strong Showing In The League & FA Trophy Masked Over FA Cup Defeat

A disappointing draw at home to Hungerford Town was not to set the tone for 2019, although we did suffer defeat to Birmingham City. This result could be seen as a once-off, considering our opposition was four tiers above us. We rallied around to collect ten points from our next four league games and continue our progress in the FA Trophy with a win over Maidstone United.

Player of the Month

Zac McEachran Was Oxford City's Star Player During January 2019

Zac McEachran was our best player over January. The English winger scored four times in an impressive month, bringing his tally to fourteen for the season.

Zac McEachran's Season Stats
Appearances: 36
Goals: 14
Assists: 9
PotM Awards: 2
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 42 (1.17 per game)
Fouls Against: 45 (1.25 per game)
Yellow Cards: 5
Red Cards: 0
Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 50.00% (35/70)
Dribbles Completed: 33 (0.92 per game)
Key Passes: 30 (0.83 per game)
Crosses Completed: 18 (0.50 per game)
General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 71.11% (571/803)
Headers Won: 69 (1.92 per game)
Minutes Played: 2,659
Average Rating: 7.11
Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0 (0.00 per game)
Tackles Won Ratio: 93.18% (41/44)
Interceptions: 31 (0.86 per game)
Distance Covered: 338.0km (9.39 per game)
Assistant Manager's Report
Value: £2,700
Wage: £200 p/w
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

National League South

Oxford City Kept On Top Of The League

The gap reduced to four points. We were still in the driving seat but the chasing pack were keeping pace with us. We needed to stay consistent in order to remain in the top position.


Oxford City's FA Cup Fixture Against Birmingham Brought In Money

We were in an extremely strong financial position following our fixture against Birmingham City. Despite our increased wage spend, we nearly had half a million in the bank. Not bad for a team that was threatened with bankruptcy at the beginning of the season.

Upcoming Fixtures

Oxford City Will Play A Reasonable Schedule In February & March

Our schedule was to ease up for February and March. We would have almost a week's break between each fixture, which would allow our players to be fresh for each fixture.

Comment Section

ScottT, absolutely, his experience will prove vital to the youngsters coming through the ranks!
Jack, that's the plan! He's a player who has competed at all levels of professional football in England and it is now time for him to pass on his knowledge to the next generation.
mgriffin2012, I agree that he should have been given more of a chance, particularly when you consider the lack of quality left backs Liverpool have had in this century to date (John Arne Riise & Andy Robertson discluded).

Previous Update: #18 - Warnock Joins Oxford City Backroom Team
Next Update: #20 - Season 2018-2019: February
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Season 2018-2019: February

An Overview Of Oxford City In February 2019

Ryan Ferguson:
"We had acquitted ourselves well in the opening month of 2019. Despite FA Cup elimination at the hands of Birmingham City, we were rolling in the league and FA Trophy. We were aiming for an unlikely double, but our focus was always on one game at a time."


Matthew Patterson Left For Hampton & Richmond Borough

Major Transfers Out
(Name | Age | Position | Fee | Signed For)
Matthew Paterson | 29 (15/10/1989) | ST | £0 | Hampton & Richmond Borough

There was just the one transfer for us in February as Matthew Paterson departed for Hampton & Richmond, a team in the same league as us. I didn't want to let the Scottish striker go, as he had scored 10 goals in 21 appearances for me, but he was unhappy with playing second fiddle to Tshimanga and it was only fair to give him an opportunity to further extend his superb goal scoring record on a regular basis.


February Was A Very Inconsistent Month For Oxford City

We were poor. Very poor. The untimeliness of injuries to key midfielders Josh Ashby and Rob Sinclair made February a difficult month and we suffered back-to-back defeats in the opening weeks. We picked ourselves up in the big games, with very comfortable victories over Welling United and Billericay Town in the FA Trophy and league, respectively, but draws against Truro City and Chippenham Town left us with a bad taste.

Player of the Month

Kabongo Tshimanga Was Oxford City's Star Player During February 2019

Kabongo Tshimanga was our best player over February. In a difficult month for the club, Tshimanga scored five times, including a hat trick against fellow league title chasers Billericay Town. We weren't at the races in the majority of our games but our talismanic striker came up with the goods nonetheless.

Kabongo Tshimanga's Season Stats
Appearances: 41
Goals: 32
Assists: 7
PotM Awards: 7
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 45 (1.10 per game)
Fouls Against: 59 (1.44 per game)
Yellow Cards: 4
Red Cards: 0
Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 66.07% (74/112)
Dribbles Completed: 29 (0.71 per game)
Key Passes: 35 (0.85 per game)
Crosses Completed: 9 (0.22 per game)
General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 75.78% (732/966)
Headers Won: 145 (3.54 per game)
Minutes Played: 3,104
Average Rating: 7.23
Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 1 (0.02 per game)
Tackles Won Ratio: 91.18% (31/34)
Interceptions: 13 (0.32 per game)
Distance Covered: 350.0km (8.54 per game)
Assistant Manager's Report
Value: £15,750
Wage: £250 p/w
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

National League South

Oxford City Kept On Top Of The League

The gap reduced to three points. Dulwich were in very good form and were making up ground on us, with Torquay right alongside them. With nine games to go, we needed to turn our form around.


Oxford City's Finances Were In Good Condition

The FA Trophy game helped keep our finances in good nick going into the closing months of the season and we were looking forward to spending some of our money in the summer.

Upcoming Fixtures

Oxford City Will Play Against Dulwich Hamlet In March

Two big games were to come in March. First, we would host FC United of Manchester in the Fourth Round of the FA Trophy. We felt we had a decent chance of winning the competition and we were determined to restore our previously good form. The big games, however, would be against Dulwich Hamlet in the league. They were hot on our tails and we needed to ensure they couldn't catch us.

Previous Update: #19 - Season 2018-2019: January
Next Update: #21 - Youth Intake 2019
A mixed bag of results, however nothing too much to worry about as you're still top of the table. Good luck in the FA Trophy; a double is very much possible!
Eek! Not the greatest month you've ever had and certainly not a month that you want to have whilst chasing the only automatic promotion spot in the division. Besides that, the finances are looking in good shape and it seems that Tshimanga is still firing them in on a regular basis - if that stops at any point then that's when you start to get worried! :P
Like the others have said, not the best of months for you but at least Tshimanga is still in fine form, he'll fire you to better results no doubt!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Youth Intake 2019

An Analysis Of Oxford City's Top Youth Graduates Of 2019


Youth intakes potentially make or break a club's future. The next big thing has to come from somewhere and if it can come from your club, you're doing something right.

For Oxford City, they had their first youth intake of Ryan Ferguson's reign. There were no real stars of the sixteen players signed from the youth trials. We look at the three top players from this bunch.

Francis Mehew

Francis Mehew Was A Highly-Determined AttackingMidfielder

(Name | Age | Position | CA/PA)
Francis Mehew | 16 (19/02/2003) | AM(C) | /

Francis Mehew was the most promising of the bunch. He was an attacking midfielder who was rather versatile and quite determined. He possessed reasonable all-round attributes for his age and was expected to be a decent player at semi-professional level.

Mark Melbourne

Mark Melbourne Was A Highly Eccentric Goalkeeper

(Name | Age | Position | CA/PA)
Mark Melbourne | 15 (04/08/2003) | AM(C) | /

A good shot-stopper but highly eccentric. Mark Melbourne was already quite tall for his age and was expecting to reach over 190cm. His reflexes were phenomenal but he had absolutely no footballing brain.

Lee Paul O'Sullivan

Lee Paul O'Sullivan Was A Creative Force From Midfield

(Name | Age | Position | CA/PA)
Lee Paul O'Sullivan | 15 (07/06/2003) | AM(C) | /

Not the most talented of kids but O'Sullivan made up for it with determination and leadership. He was a natural captain and would be a good influence on the other young players.

Comment Section

ScottT, yeah the FA Trophy is a target for us this year. I feel we have a good chance of winning it!
Jack, long may Tshimanga's goal scoring form continue! :P
mgriffin2012, he's been one of a few players who have been head and shoulders above the rest of the division. Two of my midfield trio, Josh Ashby (captain) and Rob Sinclair, have arguably proved they're among the best players outside of the Football League in England!

Previous Update: #20 - Season 2018-2019: February
Next Update: #22 - Oxford City Announce Bradford City Link
Nothing amazing there, sadly. Mehew could be utilised in the future potentially, but I think you'll be a step above his level by the time he progresses enough.
Justice's avatar Group Justice
5 yearsEdited

Oxford City Announce Bradford City Link

Bradford City Has Become Oxford City's Parent Club


National League South side Oxford City have stepped up their development by confirming an affiliation with EFL League One side Bradford City. The Bantams will act as City's 'parent club' and may send players on loan to the non-league side without the cost of a wage fee being paid by the feeder team.

There will be no financial benefit for Oxford City in this deal as Bradford City will not be required to be any sort of annual fee for their affiliation. The link between the two teams will be used purely for on-loan player development. This is seen as a passageway for Bradford City's young stars into regular competitive senior football.

Ryan Ferguson's position as Oxford City manager is thought to have been a major influence on Bradford City's decision to complete this affiliation. The young manager has had experience coaching some of England's brightest prospects at Liverpool's academy and Bradford officials are keen for the young gaffer to work his magic with their players.

The clubs will compete against one another in an annual friendly fixture at Oxford City, with the non-league club to retain all gate receipts. This is seen as an opportunity of decent financial reward for City.

Oxford City chairman Brian Cox has spoken of his delight with the deal and how he envisages the two clubs to dovetail perfectly with one another.

Bradford City Play Their Football At Valley Parade

Brian Cox (Oxford City Chairman):
"This is a fantastic deal for this football club that has opened up a number of opportunities. Bradford City are a very well established professional football club in England and it is a great honour for us to be working alongside them in this affiliation.

Bradford are known for producing very good young players and we will have the opportunity to take some of these players on loan. Hopefully we can be a big part in these players' development and they a big part in ours.

This affiliation is yet another reminder of how far we've come this season. We had almost nothing left last summer but we are now looking in contention for the league and cup double and we are building a reputation for our performances. It (the affiliation) is a sign of the times."

Comment Section

ScottT, I think I'll quickly forget about that particular intake, to be honest :P

Previous Update: #21 -Youth Intake 2019
Next Update: #23 - Oxford City Rebrand Social Media Channel
The link to Bradford will certainly provide great opportunities for both clubs and therefore is a benefit to either party. I am looking forward to seeing how this will be utilised in the future.

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