Every footballer has their personal rivalries, some uglier than others. Whether born out of a hard tackle in a match, or a brawl on Park End’s R’n’B floor, the best on-field contests are driven by personal animosity.

Before kick-off I always scan the opposition for any familiar faces. The targets I recognise should strap on their shin pads and expect 90 minutes of relentless pressure. And I would only expect my counterpart to reciprocate. It’s all part of the contest. 

Call me a thug if you like, but I bet you’d think differently if you’d ever played the game at this level. There’s nothing wrong with the odd strong challenge. As Roy Keane once said, “What goes around comes around.” 

“I’d waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you cunt”

In any case, the most bitter disputes seem to arise for non-footballing reasons. I know of two current players involved in a really messy affair, which started when one of
them snared the other one’s partner into the Bridge toilets to commit an act of infidelity, fully aware that he’d be coming across him on the pitch the following day. The match ended with one party receiving a red card; the other a broken metatarsal. Let’s just say the post-match handshake was abandoned and only a court injunction prevented this love triangle appearing on Cherwell’s front page.

The fact is, you don’t go to a JCR reserve league relegation dogfight expecting tiki-taka. College football is about passion – and it’s inevitable that sometimes it’ll boil over.