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Chris Williams, Oxford United Programme Editor, 28 December 2008, Published in the club programme for the game against Ebbsfleet


Oxford is alive with serial killers. Whether it be recent movie The Oxford Murders or the adventures of grumpy old Morse, it seems the Quads and Cloisters of the university run red with academic blood.


And yet while Gown hides behind the sofa, where are the killers for Town? Why do people keep murdering the Dons and mortar board wearing part of our city, but ignoring those of us who grew up in the city of Dreaming Spires?

Well, the same thought must have occurred to Peter Tickler, because his new book Blood on the Cowley Road steers away from the universities and focuses on those two strange bedfellows Oxford United and the Oxford mental care community. Yes, obviously there’s a cheap gag to be had there but we aren’t going to go for it.

Peter first watched Oxford United when he was a student at Keble College in the early 70’s and told us:


“I was reading Classics but went up to the Manor when I could - I remember with fondness the three Cs up front (Cassidy, Curran and Clarke), and John Shuker at left back. My top memories are of Derek Clarke scoring the only goal in a game against Man United when he spun on the edge of the area and tucked a low shot into the corner, and of Hughy Curran scoring an outrageous goal from the right corner of the 18 yard box.


“I had a gap then until I returned to Oxford and started to take my boys along to the Manor - Byrne and Moody tearing Hull apart 4-0 by half-time, and our Joey scoring against Swindon in a 3-0 drubbing!”


Peter’s novel is a fantastic read but beware: more than one Oxford United fan meets a gruesome end in the course of the book. Any sort of sequel could mean a big dip in attendances! Without giving too much of the plot away the focus is on the Oxford we all know. There are recognisable places, including the ticket office here at the ground, the East Stand, and familiar faces: spot the references to Paul Wanless and Julian Alsop. Not to mention a solicitor named Basham (deliberately).


It’s refreshing to read an Oxford book which tells a gripping story from the Town point of view, and the focus is very much deliberate as Peter explains:


“My intention was always to write crime set in ‘real’ non-tourist and non-university Oxford. Did you see that film The Oxford Murders? It drove me nuts! Also the TV series Lewis is clearly aimed at the international market. I wanted to write about the Oxford that most people know, and I have been amazed at the response and nice comments about the book.”


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Design and Build © 2009:
Oswin Tickler / Smallfury Designs

Peter Tickler | Author




Published work





Photo courtesy the Oxford Mail & Oxford Times © 2008


Peter has lived and worked in Oxford for nearly 30 years, and before that he was a University student, reading classics at Keble College.


Photo courtesy the Oxford Mail and
Oxford Times © 2008