NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Competition winner continues his education at Oxford

A look at Skrill North life.
A look at Skrill North life.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. - find out what it means to the FA, a competition winner at Oxford City and the latest players on the move all feature in this week’s column looking at life in the Skrill North...

“He must have won a competition” is one of football’s great put-downs, and it seems to have made a resurgence in recent weeks.

This column always finds the statement a crude but regularly funny way of stating a player is putting in a poor shift at a level above where he really should be playing.

But this week it has been revealed that Oxford City have actually signed a competition winner (in the actual sense of the word, his credentials are certainly not being questioned here).

That man is Kayden Jackson, a 19-year-old striker who arrives on loan from League One Swindon Town.

Jackson earned his deal with the Robins after entering this year’s Samsung Win A Pro Contract competition.

And after coming through the regional rounds and impressing in five and 11-a-side matches, Jackson did enough at boot camp to earn his one-year deal.

Despite linking up with the Robins this summer, he is yet to mak a first-team appearance.

However, he arrives at Oxford looking to make a name for himself, following a loan spell at Swindon Supermarine, where he netted 12 times in 14 appearances.

* Forget the old cliche that it’s grim up north. It is, in fact, the complete opposite. Very friendly in fact.

The Football Association’s RESPECT campaign may get you humming a catchy Aretha Franklin ditty in your head every time it’s mentioned, but it is actually an attempt to make the sport a generally nicer place.

And it seems that is happening in the three Skrill divisions.

Figures released by the Football Conference show a decline in incidents of dissent and lack of respect over the past year.

The Skrill North shows the greatest improvement, with abuse down by 59 per cent. The Skrill South shows a drop of 39 per cent.

However, those chaps in the Skrill Premier are improving, but no way as rapidly. Incidents are down just eight per cent in non-league’s top flight.

Do we put this down to the big boys not improving their behaviour, or the fact that last year’s North division was full of a horrible bunch?

Either way, those referees have never had it so good.

* Darren Edmondson is in defiant mood.

Things haven’t been particularly rosey at Workington this season, with the Reds propping up the Skrill North standings following eight defeats in their opening 12 games.

And following Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Stourbridge - where a 3-1 victory saw the opposition head off with the £12,500 prize money - sections of the fans were calling for his head (so much for the RESPECT campaign up in Cumbria it seems?).

But Edmondson told News & Star: “I accept I am under pressure. But I honestly feel I am still the right man to work with this group of players and get us up the league to safety.

“We didn’t help ourselves with the goals we conceded.”

* It would appear that those goals conceded have made Edmondson realise a change is needed as he has brought Sunderland’s under 21 stopper Joel Dixon back to the club on loan.

The Black Cats keeper made eight appearances for the Reds last season, again while on loan.

Also on the move this week are strikers Ben Mills and Danny Newton who have joined Brackley Town from Chester FC and Barwell respectively.

Walsall’s Jake Heath has extended his loan stay at Leamington, and the Brakes have also snapped up Luke Bottomer from Rushall Olympic.

Also extending a loan stay is Bradford City’s Louis Swain, the striker agreeing to more time with the Guiseley squad.

* Congratulations to Brackley, Hednesford Town and Gloucester City who have all reached the first-round proper of the FA Cup.

Jony Brady’s Saints have arguably been handed the most lucrative draw of the three, away at League One Gillingham.

Hednesford also face League One opposition as they host Crawley Town, while Gloucester will host League Two highflyers Fleetwood Town.

Ties will be played on November 9-10.

* SATURDAY FIXTURES: Altrincham v Hednesford, Brackley v Boston Utd, Bradford PA v Gloucester, Colwyn Bay v Solihull Moors, Guiseley v Barrow, Harrogate Town v Oxford City, Stalybridge v Histon, Stockport County v AFC Telford, Vauxhall Motors v Leamington, Worcester v North Ferriby Utd, Workington v Gainsborough.