Meet the opposition | Oxford United

8th August 2022
First team
Oxford United

As Swansea City prepare to take on Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday evening in the Carabao Cup first round, we look at the history of the U's, how they are shaping up so far this season, and the key figures for the League One side.

What's their story?

Established in 1893, Oxford United were originally set up as an amateur club called Headington, a village team affectionately known as ‘the boys from over the hill'.

Post-war The U’s added the name United to their name and in 1959 after ambitious planning to appeal the club to the city, their name was changed to Oxford United and they were elected to the Football League for the first time.

Their only major honor came in 1986 in the form of the League Cup when, under the leadership of Maurice Evans, when they beat Queens Park Rangers 3-0 at Wembley Stadium with former Swan Jeremy Charles among the scorers.

The 1980s also saw their highest-ever league placing. After back-to-back championship promotions from Division Two and Division Three, they spent three seasons in the top-flight, where they placed 18th twice before relegation.

The U’s have spent much of their recent history in the lower leagues and faced a spell out of the Football League after relegation in the 2005-2006 season. Four years in the Vanarama Conference followed before Chris Wilder guided Oxford back to the Football League with a 3-1 play-off final win over York in 2010.

Promotion to League One followed in 2016, and they have been in the third tier ever since.

How's their form?

Matty Taylor

Oxford will be looking this season to improve on their eighth-place league finish last season, where they missed out on the play-off places by seven points.

They have opened the season with a win and a defeat to their name. Falling to a 1-0 defeat at Derby on the opening weekend before beating Cambridge by a solitary goal thanks to Tyler Goodrham's late strike.

Who's the gaffer?

Karl Robinson

Merseyside-born Karl Robinson has held the reins as U’s head coach since March 2018, when he replaced Derek Fazackerley.

Robinson’s managerial exploits started with a successful spell at MK Dons, where he spent six years at the helm guiding them to a string of top-10 finishes, including leading them to promotion from League One to the Championship in 2015.

He joined Charlton in November 2016, shortly after leaving MK, and spent just shy of 18 months at The Valley, before moving to join Oxford on the same day as his departure from the Addicks.

Who's the captain?

Elliott Moore

Elliot Moore. The 6ft 5in ex-England Under-18 and Under-23s' central defender has been the foundation to the U’s defense since joining from Leicester City in the summer of 2019.

A Foxes youth product, Moore played two seasons on loan at Belgium side OH Leuven where he took the captaincy, playing 61 games and scoring seven goals. This convinced head coach Robinson to sign the Midlands born 25-year-old for an undisclosed fee.

He has since scored eight goals in 126 appearances in all competitions for Oxford.

Who are the key men?

Matty Taylor

Striker Matty Taylor once again took the top goal scorer award for the U’s last term. A product of Oxford United’s youth academy he made seven appearances, before applying his trade in the lower leagues for Didcot Town, North Leigh and Forest Green.

A move to Bristol Rovers saw him make his name by scoring 61 goals in 118 games; helping fire the Pirates to promotion to the Football League in 2015 and promotion to League One the following season.

A spell at rivals Bristol City followed in a £300,000 move, but he struggled to make the same impact, scoring just seven times in 67 games.

He returned to Oxford, initially on loan, for the 2019-2020 season, scoring 13 in 26 games, before making his move permanent and signing a three-year contract the following summer.

He has been a regular on the teamsheet and the scoresheet ever since.

Midfielder Cameron Brannagan was Oxford's players' player of the year last term, scoring 14 goals as the Liverpool product enjoyed the best campaign of his season to date.

Veteran wide man James Henry, meanwhile, brings nous and creativity to Oxford's attack, and the 33-year-old has featured for clubs such as Reading, Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Norwich and Wolves across a 16-year senior career.