Blues captain Leon Farr extended thanks to the travelling support that made Oxford’s football Varsity victory “all the more special.”
The game was being played at the Abbey Stadium, home of Cambridge United, because the usual venue, Fulham’s Craven Cottage, was unavailable. This meant that this year’s Blues not only had to accept a Conference rather than a Premier League ground, they were also faced with a crowd overwhelmingly supporting the Light Blues. A few hardy souls had made the journey from Oxford, but they were very much in the minority.
When asked about the fans after the game Farr told me, “They were brilliant. It was obviously like an away game for us. You had 700 or 800 of them and only 50 or 60 of us, but it was great playing to your own hardcore select band of away fans.” The Oxford fans certainly made themselves heard, especially when James Kelly curled in a fabulous last minute free kick to send the match into extra time. Farr said of his team’s saviour, “He’s a quiet lad, but I don’t think he’ll be quiet about that for much longer. It was an absolutely brilliant strike.”
Farr also had nothing but praise for the blues goalkeeper Dwayne Whylley whose incredible save in the penalty shoot out put his side firmly on course for victory. “Dwayne is one of the most talented footballers I’ve ever played with in my life, and he’s got the character to match. The save he pulled off today was nothing short of sublime. Absolutely incredible.”
Farr worked incredibly hard for his team in centre midfield during the game, putting in a display full of the heart and passion that makes Varsity events so special. This was appreciated by the often fiercely partisan Cambridge support as they applauded Oxford receiving the trophy. Farr believed his side deserved to win due to the amount of chances they created in the first half, but in truth Cambridge will feel hard done by having led for so long. Even Farr admitted the equaliser was “a little close to the bone.”
But how does it feel to win in Cambridge? “It’s incredible. I’m absolutely ecstatic.” And, judging by the roar that greeted his arrival in the Dark Blues’ changing room following our conversation, his teammates concurred.