Oxford United fans were given a huge boost this week with this season's top scorer and 5th highest ever goal scorer James Constable rejecting the chance to speak to arch-rivals Swindon Town after the United board accepted a bid from their near neighbours. In addition to this, a bid from Crawley Town was rejected a day later and 'Beano' will stay with the U's at least until after their game with Hereford United at the weekend.
Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio had made little attempt to hide his admiration for United's number 9 throughout this season although his claims that Constable is a Swindon fan backfired dramatically with the striker scoring both goals in Oxford's 2-1 victory at the County Ground in August. Previous to the developments this week, Swindon had two formal bids rejected by Oxford United before the game against Crewe last weekend. A third bid proved to be a figure that was seen as sensible business for the board and was accepted and permission granted for Constable to meet with Swindon if he so wished. After spending a few hours thinking over the decision as clarified in this press statement from OUFC - http://www.oufc.co.uk/page/News/0,,10342~2583754,00.html - Constable decided he had no interest in joining the Wiltshire side and announced that he would decline the opportunity to speak to them.
From a personal point of view, Constable has shown that there is still loyalty in football. After originally being signed on loan by then U's manager Darren Patterson for the 2008-9 season, the former Kidderminster striker has spent a further 2 and a half seasons with the club scoring a total of 78 goals in around 150 appearances including goals in both play-off semi-finals and the play-off final as Oxford gained promotion back to the football league.
Constable is very much one of my Oxford United heroes, having supported the club since 1997, I have experience many low points and witnessed many poor players passing through the entry and exit doors of the Manor Ground and more recently the Kassam Stadium, Constable is something different, a player who truly plays for the badge and the shirt with passion rather than to just pick up his wage packet at the end of the week. He loves to score goals for Oxford United and long may that continue!
Image - Oxford Mail - http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/sport/oxfordunited/usnews/9296171.Oxford_United_jumping_for_joy_after_Rovers_victory/