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Home: All Other Football Interests: Obituaries and Remembrances:
Graham Atkinson (Oxford United)

 



acmold
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Jan 6, 2017, 1:38 PM

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Graham Atkinson (Oxford United) Can't Post or

Tweet from club that OUFC legend has died at the age of 73. Younger brother of Ron. Joined at the same time as a youngster. Had a long loan period at Cambridge United. Came back to the Manor and for years was clubs highest scorer in league. Scored a glorious goal in the 5-2 defeat against Manchester City in the F.A.Cup in January 1974 in one of the best games I saw at the Manor. At the end of the 1973/74 left to join Ron at Kettering. For years was associated with local football in particular with Milton United. The sight of the Atkinson brothers trundling down the hill towards the London Road goal is one many around these parts remember from their youth.


John Treleven
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Jan 6, 2017, 4:58 PM

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Re: [acmold] Graham Atkinson (Oxford United) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Oxford Mail

Oxford United’s record goalscorer Graham Atkinson has died at the age of 73.

The former inside forward had been suffering with cancer and passed away yesterday (Thursday 5th January 2017) morning.

Atkinson scored 107 goals in 15 years, netting 77 times in the league.

He signed for the U's, then Headington United, in 1959, making his debut against Chelmsford City in the Southern League,
becoming the club’s youngest player and goalscorer at 16 years and 108 days.

Atkinson was the first United player to score against Swindon Town, netting in a 1-1 draw in 1968,
and in the Football League, against Barrow in 1962.

His brother, Ron Atkinson, who went on to manage Manchester United, also played for the club
and holds the record for the most appearances in a U's shirt with 561 starts.

Born in Birmingham on 17th May 1943, Graham Atkinson started on the ground staff at Aston Villa
and played at junior level for the club and Birmingham City.

After his move to Oxford United with older brother Ron, he was selected for Oxfordshire
in the County Youth Championship and the Southern League representative side.

He left the U's in 1974 to join Kettering Town, while he also spent time on loan at Cambridge United in 1963.

Atkinson lived in Oxfordshire for most of his life with wife Jenni and moved from Standlake to Pembrokeshire in 2004.


(This post was edited by John Treleven on Jan 6, 2017, 5:02 PM)


Rob North
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Jan 6, 2017, 7:11 PM

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Re: [acmold] Graham Atkinson (Oxford United) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

He also played cricket for Milton in the 70s, alongside John Shuker and others from Oxford United, and as a youngster I remember playing against him for Bradfield CC on a couple of occasions.


South Mercian
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Jan 6, 2017, 8:01 PM

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Re: [Rob North] Graham Atkinson (Oxford United) [In reply to] Can't Post or

From Oxford United website

Club saddened by death of a Manor hero

Oxford United are deeply saddened to report the death of one of their all time greatest players.

Graham Atkinson passed way yesterday morning aged 73, after bravely fighting against cancer. Graham, like his brother Ron, started out at Aston Villa as a youngster but joined Ron at the Manor Ground during the 1959/60 season before he turned 17. He was to spend 12 years with the club.

A skilful and hard-working inside forward, Graham scored the club’s first ever goal in the Football League, at Barrow at the start of the 1962/3 season and went on to make 394 appearances for the club, setting the all-time scoring record for the U’s with 107 goals. His 77 Football League goals remains a club record while only five players have made more appearances for the U’s.

Ken Skeen, who played alongside him for many years told us: “He was a great man and a great footballer who I was proud to call my best mate, even after all these years. I am glad I came to Oxford and got the chance to know him. He was a true gentleman who was at the heart of Oxford United for many years and he will be missed by everyone.”

The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Graham’s family at this sad time. A minute’s silence will be held in his honour at a forthcoming game.


(This post was edited by South Mercian on Jan 6, 2017, 8:04 PM)


Lillywhite
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Jan 7, 2017, 10:30 AM

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Re: [South Mercian] Graham Atkinson (Oxford United) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Information on Graham from Cambridge United 'Coconuts' historical site relating to his time with the U's.

http://www.100yearsofcoconuts.co.uk/blog


Lillywhite
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Jan 7, 2017, 10:35 AM

Posts: 379
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Re: [Lillywhite] Graham Atkinson (Oxford United) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Not mentioned in any of the above reports but Graham's career effectively finished in the early 70's when he sadly broke his leg whilst playing for Kettering Town in an F A Cup tie against Swansea. His brother, Ron, was manager for the Poppies at the time.


John Treleven
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Jan 8, 2017, 8:54 AM

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Re: [John Treleven] Graham Atkinson (Oxford United) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Cambridge United (100 years of Coconuts)

Graham Atkinson 1943-2017

The lesser known of the two footballing Atkinson brothers – Ron managed Cambridge United on his way to fame as the boss of Manchester United and other top-flight clubs – inside forward Graham passed a highly influential 20 months at the Abbey in the mid 1960s, scoring 32 goals in 62 games. His time at Newmarket Road punctuated a 15 year Oxford United career during which he scored 107 times, and his 77 League goals is a club record.

Born in Birmingham on 17 May 1943, Graham started on the ground staff at Villa Park and played for Aston Villa and Birmingham City junior teams. The Atkinson brothers signed for Oxford, then known as Headington United, in 1959. Graham made his Southern League debut against Chelmsford City at the age of 16 years and 108 days, becoming the club’s youngest player and goalscorer. When Oxford were elected to the Football League in 1962, he scored the club’s first goal at the higher level.

A friendship between Oxford manager Arthur Turner and his Abbey Stadium counterpart Alan Moore led to Graham returning to the Southern League in April 1963; his confidence had been affected by the barracking of a section of Manor Ground fans. The deal was effectively an open ended loan: Graham signed a contract with Cambridge but Oxford retained his Football League registration. The clubs had a gentleman’s agreement that Oxford could re-sign him when they wished.

He made his Newmarket Road debut on Easter Friday 1963 in a 4-0 defeat by Chelmsford City. He also played the following day in a 1-1 draw at Worcester, but was stretchered off with concussion and spent the night in hospital. After missing the next game he took part in every remaining match that season, scoring twice in nine starts.

The following season Graham was plagued by injury and illness. In December 1963 he overturned his car near St. Neots and was again detained in hospital. Having lost his left ear, he did not return to the first team until the end of February but then played in every league game until the end of the season.

Graham came into his own as a goalscoring inside forward during 1964/65, embarking on a fine scoring run that included two hat tricks and attracting the attention of Oxford manager Turner, who stated his intention of recalling the player under a new contract. ‘I am very happy here,’ said Atkinson, ‘and feel that I am playing better since I joined Cambridge United. Naturally, I must listen to Arthur Turner’s offer before deciding, but it will have to be an attractive one to make me leave Cambridge.’

The lure of the Football League and the prospect of being reunited with his brother proved decisive. Graham’s last Cambridge game was a 3-1 win at Bedford Town on December 5. United’s season then took a dip that was partly attributed to the absence of Atkinson, who finished the season as top league scorer with 13 goals.

He returned to Cambridge United colours for John Gregson’s testimonial in January 1972, and the U’s provided the opposition for his testimonial at Kettering Town in April 1976, by which time his brother was managing the hosts. He had joined the Poppies in 1974.

Graham and wife Jenni lived in Oxfordshire for most of their lives but moved to Pembrokeshire in 2004.


(This post was edited by John Treleven on Jan 8, 2017, 9:50 AM)

 
 


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