Behind the scenes from an unbelievable week for Oxford United

The Oxford English Dictionary (naturally) has been raided by anyone connected to the U’s, with no words left to sum up the feelings and emotions since Wembley.

It’s been the hugest honour and privilege to be there along the way, the culmination of a topsy-turvy season, the highs, the lows, and of course those freezing cold trips in the EFL Trophy. No more of them next season.

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To get to Wembley, the U’s had to overcome a Peterborough United side which scored more goals than anyone else in Sky Bet League One this campaign.

Taking a 1-0 lead to London Road, the teams exchanged quickfire goals towards the end of the first half, before Des Buckingham’s team showed masses of grit, organisation and defensive solidity in the second period.

It was time to sort those Wembley tickets.

Like the players and staff, my mindset was that this was just another game, and to try and treat it that way. Of course, there was a lot more to do in the build-up, and aside from arriving a couple of hours earlier than normal for a match, the actual game itself had the same live coverage and on the whistle match report.

The difference was the euphoria that came with the final whistle, as more than 30,000 U’s fans were finally able to celebrate.

Hugs, high fives and handshakes followed in the press box, with those of United and Bolton Wanderers persuasions, before it was back to business mode.

The steps that go up to the royal box for the trophy lift lead to a small platform area towards the back of the press box.

Watching the joy among the players from behind the barrier was special, but when Buckingham came over and pulled me into a great big man hug, that was a moment that will live with me forever. He deserves every single plaudit that has gone his way in the past few weeks.

Once the celebrations had finished, it was time for interviews galore in the mixed zone, and back up to the press area for a couple of reaction stories, before the last couple of reporters were told it was closing time at the national stadium.

Wembley was brilliant for so many reasons, but it only really sank in during Monday’s open-top bus parade.

To be on the bus with the players as it left the training ground towards The Plain was something money cannot buy. There was plenty of ducking beneath branches during interviews, in an experience that makes this job like no other.

After swapping buses for the actual parade part, it was then a sea of yellow and incredible noise. The scenes as the team bus turned from High Street to St Aldates were sensational.

That was the point which encapsulated just what promotion, and this football club, means to the city.

The civic ceremony was a chance to relax and have a bit of a breather, as the emotional whirlwind was about to hit its peak.

Buckingham returning to his old primary school on Wednesday afternoon, play-off final trophy in hand, was just a wonderful experience.

Some of the children sobbed when they met him and had their picture taken. And it wasn’t just the kids shedding a tear. Teachers and those of us in the media who were there all had a little bit of hay fever, let’s just say that.

Oxford United means so much to those who were at Wembley, those watching from afar, and the younger generations who are the future of the club. Heck, one day one of them might even manage the team. Buckingham is proof of that.

For myself, to be there every step of the way over the past week. Well I can’t put that into words really.

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