Saturday, January 10

Winter postponements

Two postponed Saturday games in a row: what to do?

We Are Oxford United spent last Saturday reading Kant's Critique of Judgement by the warmth of the fire, drinking single malt scotch. As we stirred the coals in the grate, our thoughts, inspired by Kant's considerations, played on the aesthetics of football grounds and the areas around them. It seems a lifetime since we were wandering down through Old Headington to Court Place Farm, our steps buoyed by the hopes of a new season, and so we decided to spend some time revisiting the old Manor stomping ground.

This led us to wonder about the aesthetics of Minchery Farm. It's easy, even for a photographer as bad as We Are Oxford United, to make parts of Headington look beautiful when it's suffused in weak winter sunshine. Minchery has suffered in comparison, struggling as it is to find its character. Headington and the Manor felt as though they were a warren of snug, cosy retreats, tucked away from the rest of the city. Minchery is exiled on the edge of the city, isolated and exposed to the elements, the stadium looming defiantly over the land around it.

Perhaps this is where we need to look for the beauty of Oxford United's new home. There should be a majesty to such a defiant structure. Think of Peake's description of Gormenghast: 'This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven.' Opposition teams should arrive with a sense of dread, wondering what kind of rough-hewn people it takes to not only survive, but to make their home, in such a bleak, inhospitable environment. We Are Oxford United will be searching for that majesty this weekend, drinking designer lager in neon-lit bars, watching the winter winds batter the stadium. We just hope our limited photographic abilities are up to it - the results will be presented here.

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