The Not So Secret Footballer #1: Leaving Oxford United

This time twelve months ago, Jack Midson had never played in the Football League. But he approaches this summer having helped one club into League Two and then keeping another one in the division.

Despite these achievements, Jack has left both Oxford United and Barnet behind after the U’s failed to offer him a new contract following the end of his loan spell at Underhill. Jack will be giving us a weekly diary about his next move and answering your questions about life in League Two and beyond.

Up until Oxford United revealed to the press last week that I wasn’t being offered a new deal, there seemed to be a lot of speculation that I would be coming back to OUFC. Some fans still think that I may be returning to put on a yellow shirt again.

Although I wanted this to be the case as much as the fans, I knew my fate back in December or January whilst on loan to Southend. That was when I first knew I wasn’t going to be offered a new contract in the summer.

I always played this down a little bit, always hoping for a return to Oxford but unfortunately I didn’t seem to find favour with the manager (Chris Wilder).

The support has been excellent while I was on loan to Barnet recently, both from Oxford and Barnet fans. But now the time has come to find a new permanent club. I hope to spend at least the next two years at my next club, but I’ll never write off a return to Oxford United – a much loved club of mine.

My agent has been working hard to keep me up to date, which is always good! He has been contacting me regularly to give updates as to who has paid an interest since I was given permission to speak to other clubs in January.

Unfortunately, we messed a few clubs around saying whether I was available or not as Oxford were saying they wanted me to go, then they wanted me to stay several times. I didn’t help myself by scoring a hat-trick against Torquay on my first game back from being on loan! I understand that some clubs got other players on loan with a view to a permanent instead of me, so that obviously didn’t work in my favour.

My recent loan spell to Barnet was, I believe, a successful one as I went there to help them stay up and we achieved that. I was told by them that they can’t confirm if they are going to offer me a permanent deal until they appoint a permanent manager, which is understandable and the way this works is probably no secret to most football fans.

I’ve still got the buzz for football after that momentous day at Underhill and wanted more football, so I went off to watch the second leg of the Blue Square Premier play-off semi-final between AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood Town. There were a lot of goals on the day – and a lot of managers sniffing around. It was good to see some old managers and old friends and I also made some valuable new ones! The game brought back memories of winning in the same semi-final – and then the final at Wembley – last year.

A lot of clubs that pay an interest touch base with me or my agent, then go away and check their financial situation before offering a deal. Although my agent speaks to a lot of people, I have spoken to managers myself just to find out where their club is looking to go next season and in the future.I will be catching up with them again soon!

Some managers have gone away and I will have another chat once they are back from holiday. Others are still involved in the play-offs in certain leagues, so they are understandably not in a position to put anything down on paper straight away because their circumstances may change. Nothing will be finalised this week – it will start happening over the next few weeks.

I will keep you up to date with what’s happening next. It’s all exciting stuff – stay tuned!

Free agent news

We will also be using this column to keep tabs on some of the other free agents on the move in the Football League this summer.

Coventry City find themselves in the unenviable position of attempting to convince arguably their three best players – Keiren Westwood, Aron Gunnarsson and Marlon King – to stay on at the Ricoh Arena. It looks extremely unlikely that all three will stay, despite a wave of optimism accompanying new manager Andy Thorn’s positive impact on both results and Coventry’s style of play.

Republic of Ireland international Westwood has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and Everton are said to be interested this time around, while Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Leicester City has been mentioned as a possible destination for all three players at various junctures.

Thorn has set Westwood, Gunnarsson and King a deadline to sign the new contracts offered by Coventry. They will be removed from the table on Thursday, so an update should be available at the foot of Jack’s next column.

Inspired in part by The Guardian’s The Secret Footballer series.

Follow Jack Midson on Twitter and check out his website as well…

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.


  1. Ryan Keaney
    May 16, 2011

    Good luck for the summer Jack. Must be a strange feeling to be unsure of where your next move is.

    Do you have an ideal situation you are looking for? Do you want to stay in League Two? Are you and your agent aiming higher and are you considering a move lower, out of the football league?

    Also… I wanted to pick up on something you mentioned about managers already being on holiday. I would have assumed, and this is my own assumption, that May and the first half of June would be busy weeks for most, if not all managers. Tying players to new contracts, looking for available players to bring in, planning ahead for pre-season and the friendlies they want to play… Is this completely not the case? Do they just get out of the way as soon as the final whistle of the final game goes?

  2. Hugo
    May 16, 2011

    Oxford fan here, good luck Jack wish you all the best as you loved playing for Oxford when you got the chance. I can honestly say most oxford fans appreciate players who want to play for their club. Shame it hasnt worked out at the minute, but as you say who knows what the future holds. Your cemented in memories of Oxford fans after the playoffs success, and for that Oxford fans are eternally grateful. I am sure you will find a club, hope you find somewhere that fits with what your looking for.


    I think it is pretty much up to the managers. Wilder seems to get what he can signing wise done before he goes away, which from a general point of view means a more relaxing holiday I would imagine! But I guess some managers might hop on the first plane away their last match?

  3. Sean Cane
    May 16, 2011

    Good luck for the future Jack I am sure you will get another club.I look forward to reading your blogs they are a good read and you speak honestly

  4. James
    May 17, 2011

    Just wanted to say and big thank you to Jack for all his work and effort getting Oxford back into the football league and I really hope he finds a club within the pyramid as he is a very hardworking and talented player. It’s a real shame that it didn’t work out in a very compeitive team but his contribution and determination was second to none and I wish him well for the future.

    I’m sure he has some fantastic memories in his time here and if he ever scores against us in the future, I will clap in my head:)

    His goal for Histon against us ranks as one of the best I’ve seen at the Kassam and he always plays with a smile on his face. Scored our first goal back in the league and the hat-trick away at Torquay was just fantastic. We will miss you Jack and we hope to see you soon.

    Just don’t got to Swindon;)

  5. Julie
    May 18, 2011

    Good luck Jack, I wish you the very best of luck in the future. I’d like to add my thanks for every thing you did at Oxford United, we hope to see you back playing against (or for) us in the future. You’ll get a warm welcome from all our fans.

    I’m sure you will have some good memories of your time with us at Oxford, not least that game a year ago on Monday of this week! It must have been a fantastic experience for everyone involved in the team that day, I know as a supporter it will be one of the greatest games I’ve experienced in the last 25 years.

  6. theseventytwo
    May 23, 2011

    Thanks for the questions everyone – Jack has answered a few of them in his second column.



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