Unforgettable at Wembley
A disastrous last season at the Manor saw United concede over 100 goals and drop into the bottom division for the first time in 40 years. An emotional farewell to our former home saw Andy Scott become the last Oxford player to score at the Manor, against Port Vale before in 2001 the U’s relocated to a new home on Grenoble Road.
Former England defender Mark Wright, just one of the many great players to come through the youth system at the club, could do little to stabilise things on the pitch and it was left to his replacement Ian Atkins to build a more experienced side who gave the fans memories of a televised win over Swindon and a trip to Highbury to take on Arsenal. His replacement Graham Rix opted for youth, Ramon Diaz brought in a number of exciting south American players and staff, Brian Talbot tried to rebuild, but in the end none of them could bring United success and in 2006 the unthinkable happened with the U’s losing their Football League place on an emotional afternoon against Leyton Orient.
The returning Jim Smith guided the U’s to the Play-Offs and more heartbreak, this time at the hands of Exeter City in a penalty-shoot out but it was Chris Wilder who finally steered United back to where they belong with another unforgettable Wembley win, this time over York City- was that the single most important game in Oxford United’s history?
In the play-off final
3 May: Another new Conference attendance record is set when 11,963 watch Oxford beat Rushden & Diamonds 2-0 in the play-off semi-final, having drawn the first leg 1-1 at Nene Park.
May 16: Oxford beat York City 3-1 at Wembley to win the play-off final and seal a return to the Football League, after finishing in third place in the Conference. A new Conference play-off final crowd record is set as 42,669 are at the game, with over 33,000 following Oxford.
Talismanic striker who was the focal point as United regained their Football League Status in 2010. After impressing at Kidderminster Harriers, 'Beano' joined the U's from Shrewsbury and his tenacious style and poacher's eye for a goal made him a huge favourite.
A Wembley scorer in 2010, he left the club on 106 goals, just one shy of the all-time scoring record held by Graham Atkinson. He had earlier scored a hat-trick against Chester which was expunged from the records when Chester folded.
Over the course of five seasons, Basham made 187 appearances for the club, scoring 49 goals. He was part of the side that was relegated to non-league football at the end of the 2005–06 season.
Basham is a fans favourite and later said "I had the best five years of my life there. I played nearly every single game, played for a fantastic club, who the fans loved and treated me so well."
Wright signed a three-year contract with Oxford on a free transfer after a successful loan spell that saw the club gain promotion back to the Football League. He was appointed club captain in July 2011. Wright played six seasons, made 278 appearances and captained the squad to second place in League Two and promotion in the 2015–16 season. Wright is the club's longest-serving player.