Beano more James at United
After 6 years Oxford's no.9 James 'Beano' Constable has decided to leave for pastures new.
His next venture is newly promoted Eastleigh who as Champions of the Conference South will be taking on teams in the Conference Premiership.
Emotionally for the fans and for Beano himself, listening to him on the radio it hurts.
Firstly reflecting back over the 6 years he has scored 106 first team goals. It should read 109 but Chester folding meaning his hatrick was removed from his stats. The tally of 106 sits 2nd in our all-time scoring records 1 behind Graham Atkinson brother of Big Ron.
James was also a player who relished big matches and could handle the occasion by scoring some cracking goals for the club. Notably scoring a goal at Wembley in our rise back to the football league. But the win at Swindon after 44 years since our last win on Wiltshire turf, James scoring both goals for me has to be the best.
He was great with the fans and the fans loved him. Rarely these days do you get a player the fans relate to like they did with Beano.
We loved him for who he was because he gave his all for the club, frustrating us at time. But we knew he was our best chance of a goal, hence the fact for those 6 years he was our top scorer for all 6 seasons.
For all you have done you have earned the right as a true U`s legend, we thank you and wish you the best.
So why move you may ask yourself when the player was just 1 goal shy of equalling the record and just two to earn the right as the U`s leading goal scorer of all time?
The U`s offered Beano an extension of a contract for another year but as rumours suggest on reduced terms. The player himself was desperate to sign for the U`s and even told me that he would sign for less money. However if the club knew that how low was the offer? No one but the club and player will know for sure.
Eastleigh outside of Oxford and probably Eastleigh themselves will know that the club do share some links. So on the face of it the move appears crazy.
The family that own Eastleigh have roots in Oxford and are Oxford United fans. Their company Bridle sponsors Eastleigh and have sponsored Oxford United as well. In fact the Beano deal originally was funded by Bridle to get James to sign for Oxford in the first place.
Since taking over at Eastleigh links between the clubs grew with Oxford United playing a preseason match at the Silverlake stadium. Since then the club has grown in stature each season with burning ambitions to get into the football league.
They appointed Richard Hill as manager a former Oxford United player and have taken on former U`s players Craig McAllister, Yemi Odubade, and Damian Batt (now left the club). So the links keep growing.
Maybe an unknown club but with a big desire to progress and with the Donald family behind them they certainly have a good chance of doing that.
Beano has earned a two year contract with the Spitfires and from all here at Vital Oxford I wish him and his new team all the best.