Oxford United in the Community strengthens Development Centre management team

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17th June 2024

Oxford United in the Community has strengthened its Development Centre management team as part of continued plans to work with talented young players while supporting its community programmes.

The football club’s official charity has promoted Alex Blane as its new Football Development Manager while experienced coach Matt Harding has joined as Assistant Football Development Manager.

The move will ensure the charity continues to provide high-quality coaching to young players in its Development Centre and strengthen ties with the club’s academy.

Together, Alex and Matt will focus on facilitating the transfer of talented young players from Oxford United in the Community’s Development Centre to the club’s youth operation.

Matt is already a familiar and trusted figure among players and parents and brings 26 years of coaching experience to the role, with eight years as a Community Coach at Oxford United in the Community.

Alex meanwhile achieved his UEFA B coaching license in February 2023 and has worked at Oxford United in the Community for over 14 years – progressing from a part-time coach to his role today and creating a strong link between the charity and United’s academy.

Alex said: “This is a really positive move which will not only benefit our Development Centre participants, but also our wider efforts to inspire more people by harnessing the power of football.

“We have some talented players in our Development Centre, and it is important to be able to give them the right opportunities.

“I am extremely happy Matt has joined the team, and there is an increased focus on the charity’s ties with the club. Matt is a familiar face for players and parents, and having that rapport really makes a difference.

“This move will allow us to concentrate on strengthening those ties as we move forward and grow the football development pathway we offer.”


Operating during term-time, Oxford United in the Community’s Development Centre is an invitation-only programme for boys and girls from under 7s to under 16s.

It provides a unique opportunity for young players to train in a team environment, enhancing their individual abilities while developing their technical and tactical knowledge of the gam while continuing to play for their grassroots club.

All profits generated from training and playing fees are reinvested into the charity’s wider programmes, ensuring the community continues to benefit from enhanced football opportunities.

Matt added: “Being a part of Oxford United in the Community for the past eight years has been incredibly rewarding.


“In my new position, I aim to strengthen our recruitment efforts and continue building strong relationships with players and their families.


“I have seen first-hand the power of the charity’s programmes, and the positive impact quality coaching can have on young players. I am committed to helping them develop their skills and be offered better opportunities.”

Oxford United in the Community is the football club’s official charity and helps inspire people to live happier and healthier lives in better connected communities using the power of football.

Further details about the charity’s Development Centre and how it helps young players establish key skills both on and off the pitch can be viewed here.


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