IT’S such a busy few weeks for us now, but forgive me if I step back a little from the match at MK Dons.

It’s because I want to say a personal thank you to Mark Edwards, the sports editor at the Oxford Mail, who moves on to a new adventure this week.

When I first arrived at the club, someone told me that things are a little different in Oxford in terms of the press.

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At MK there was a weekly newspaper and then at Charlton the club was always competing for space in the London titles.

There are plenty of Premier League clubs on their doorstep, plus some big names such as Millwall, QPR and Brentford.

Here in Oxford, we have a daily local newspaper as well as a BBC radio station, with just one Football League club.

This creates a different relationship and a constant need to provide news and information for them.

That’s not an easy task for a sports editor, as you have to find a balance.

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You have to be impartial and able to cast a critical eye over what is happening, but then you also have to face up to people who are employed by the club and continue a working partnership.

It’s not difficult for anybody to work out that the first six months here at Oxford were a real challenge and, rightly, the local media reported it warts and all.

They have to: Fans know when things aren’t right and I will always respect that and appreciate the media have a job to do.

But the relationship that Oxford United have with the Oxford Mail is as good as you will find in football.

From my very first days here I could see that Mark played a key part in that.

Always approachable, always happy to have a chat but also always ready to stand his corner and explain things when his newspaper made a point or ran a story which we questioned.

That’s a great starting point and I would like to wish Mark well as he leaves the Mail after more than 20 years of hard work.

He’s seen it all at United: relegations, promotions and who knows what else.

I’d like to think that he leaves knowing that the club is heading in the right direction.

I’m sure that the Mail will continue to be there every step of the way.

Herald Series:

WE raised a glass to Jim Smith this week and while we were doing it, Derek Fazackerley showed me a fantastic picture.

It’s Jim, Faz and then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher having a chat at Blackburn’s Ewood Park, when Jim was Faz’s manager.

He also gave him his first coaching opportunity at Newcastle a few years later.

Obviously Oxford was a major part of Jim’s life but he also influenced so many careers up and down the country.

“It’s funny,” Faz said.

“I imagine Margaret Thatcher had the same picture on her mantlepiece to remember the day she met me…”