College Football Season Preview

The Tab takes a look at the seven teams and gets some of the captains’ views on the season ahead

Football

Exeter 

Captain James West

Last Season 2nd

Aspirations According to West, Exeter “expect to avoid relegation but hope to challenge for the title and have a good run in Cuppers”

Key Players Sandy Clark– “Centre-back who scored twice in our opening game [a 5-1 victory over St. Hugh’s], we hope he can maintain that form”

Ben May– “Central midfielder/striker who scored three against St. Hugh’s”, May also plays for the Blues and won the decisive penalty in Oxford’s 1-0 win over Hartpury Academy in 1st week

Style of Play “Our main strength is our aerial prowess, but we’re a very fluid team. We are like a cross between Barcelona and Stoke: a mixture of style and strength”

If they were a Premier League team Manchester City- Attractive football allied with physicality: probably title contenders

Lincoln 

Captain Alec Gower

Last Season First Division- 2nd

Aspirations Newly promoted Lincoln will probably be hoping to avoid relegation first and foremost

Key Players Nathan Riddell– Captained the university development squad in their friendly last week and has scored plenty of goals for Lincoln over the last few years

Style of Play Played good football last year but were also well-organised and competitive. They will need to be again this season to compete in the Premier Division

If they were a Premier League team West Ham- Could prove competitive after promotion from First Division

Lincoln 1sts and Old Boys

Magdalen 

Captain Jonathan Ingles

Last Season 5th– Unbeaten before Christmas, winning 5/6 games, only to lose 5/6 in Hilary

Aspirations Captain Ingles says the team have been “decimated by departures from last year, there is a very new look team. Could be a surprise package.” They hope “to compete at the top”

Key Players Defender Ryan Manton– “A Kiwi, should perhaps be playing rugby”

George Croft– “An experienced head in a team of young guns”

Attacker Pat Meniru– “OUAFC superstar” who might make a few surprise appearances

Style of Play “We like to keep the ball on the deck and use our pace on the wings”

If they were a Premier League team Swansea- look to play a passing game and threaten from wide areas. Couldn’t quite sustain a terrific start last year and have lost a few players going into this season

St. Catz 

Captain Henry Whittle

Last Season 3rd 

Aspirations Will hope to challenge for the title and improve on last year’s third place finish

St. Hugh’s 

Captain Joseph Waterton

Last Season First Division- 1st

Aspirations Another team who have been devastated by departures since last season. Waterton is aiming “to avoid relegation and have a good Cuppers run” 

Key Players Mark Jamison– “Centre back who plays for the Centaurs. Injured this term but could have a big impact when he returns”

Paul Kim– “Goalkeeper, known as PK. Could be an important player if we’re under pressure in a lot of games”

Daher Aden– “An integral player. Scared of shooting but provides a lot of assists”

Style of Play “We like to keep the ball on the floor and knock it around a bit. We don’t have the physicality up front to just lump it”

If they were a Premier League team Southampton- A newly promoted side going through a transitional period

Wadham 

Captain Josh Vivian

Last Season 1st

Aspirations Wadham will want to defend their league title

If they were a Premier League team Manchester United- Having improved on second place in 2011 to become champions last year, they have players with experience of competing at the top and winning the league

Cuppers Trophy: Worcester’s for the last 2 years

Worcester 

Captain Andrea Caio

Last Season 4th

Aspirations After winning Cuppers in 2011 and 2012, last year’s top scorer Liam Steward-George tells us that Worcester “want the league and Cuppers double; Worcester footballers really hate to disappoint their fans”. He adds, “it would seem to be about time we had a loss of top-quality personnel. Sadly for the rest of the university this is not the case…as terrifying a prospect as it may be, Worcester are looking likely to be even better”

Key Players Worcester boast a huge number of players involved with the university teams, including:

Julian Austin– “Last year’s Blues captain who has bagged four goals in four games for the Blues this season”

Adam Healy– “Man-mountain…the Blues primary striker for the last couple of years”

Lukey Deveraux– “Impassable holding midfield player”

Style of Play Probably likely to be very mixed given the depth and changeability of squad available to them

If they were a Premier League Team Chelsea- Last year’s cup winners who will want to improve their league position this year, and have welcomed several new players