Paul Moody reflects on U’s promotion 28 years ago today

The Manor Ground cult hero had two spells with the U’s, netting 75 goals in 197 appearances, with his initial years memorable for the promotion achieved in the 1995/96 season.

United clinched that promotion to Division One with a 4-0 win at home to Peterborough United on May 4, 1996. Moody scored the second goal that day.

Exactly 28 years later, the U’s and the Posh will again meet in Oxford, and a trip to Wembley for the Sky Bet League One play-off final will be the reward for the winner over two legs.

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Moody told this newspaper: “It’s mad. I was talking to a few friends who are Oxford fans about it. We needed to win, to get promotion, and won 4-0.

“It was 0-0 at half-time though, but then we got four goals in the second half. Luckily we had Denis Smith, who was a good manager, and he told us at half-time that we just needed to create chances, and the game would go our way.

“It was a brilliant second half. We were attacking the London Road end, and I just remember scoring with a header, and it was absolutely amazing.

“After the game, I think I had one drink at the club, and then probably had a few drinks and a Chinese with the missus. I had to drive back home, so drinking was out of the question.

“A lot of players celebrated their own way. I liked to go home, chill out and have a few drinks there.

“I absorbed and enjoyed the moment on the pitch at full-time, and that’s what I’d tell the current players to do. You’ve got to do that.

“When you stop playing, you realise just how much it means to the fans.”

Moody left United for Fulham in the summer of 1997, and won another promotion from Division Two, before then repeating the feat at Millwall. He returned to the U’s in 2001.

Reflecting on his initial spell with United, Moody said: “The first couple of years were absolutely brilliant. Denis Smith gave me a chance and put me in the team.

“They were brilliant times, and that promotion was very special. It was a good team and every player did their job.

“We played good attacking football, and that’s what the fans wanted to see. It was the best football I played in my career.”

Discussing the chances of the current U’s side, Moody said: “They went through a bit of a dodgy spell, but we turned things round with a couple of great results.

“They’ve shown great character, and I think the other teams will be scared of us. I think we’ve got enough to beat Peterborough. I think we’ve got a good chance if we play to our potential.”

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