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Iconic old stadium where Arsenal were thumped is now private hospital and home to 87 flats after £12m sale

ARSENAL were handed a 3-0 beating by Oxford United at the iconic Manor Ground in 1986.

The two clubs feel worlds away now, but in those days the Gunners had to make the trip to the Manor Ground for Division One matches.

Oxford had recruited Tottenham legend Steve Perryman to assist in their survival bid during the 1985-86 season.

Having made a record 866 appearances for Spurs, Perryman added the experience and know-how to help Oxford far exceed their goals for the season.

Not only did the U's thump Arsenal 3-0 on the final day to survive in Division One.

But 15 days earlier they had also won the League Cup.

Ray Houghton, John Aldridge and Billy Hamilton scored against the Gunners in front of 13,651 fans crammed into the Manor Ground - witnessing their side turning over a team that featured the likes of Tony Adams and Charlie Nicholas.

Oxford's old home featured a mish-mash of stands oozing with character - unlike many of the modern symmetrical domes you see today.

By this point the U's had already been at the Manor Ground for over 60 years, having moved there in 1925.

It saw some great times during those decades, but the 1990s would be brutal.


Having been in the top flight for three years during the previous decade, Oxford suffered three relegations in the 90s.

Their iconic old home also began to fall apart, prompting the need for a new ground.

The Manor Ground's terracing began to crumble, with safety concerns increasing towards the turn of the millenium.

Only the fact that their move to the Kassam Stadium was imminent prevented league chiefs from taking action.

Converting the Manor Ground into an all-seater stadium would have cost millions, all the while reducing the capacity to just 2,803.

Oxford owner Firoz Kassam bought the Manor Ground for £6million with his own company, before building a state-of-the-hospital and 87 flats in its place.

Kassam then flogged the hospital to Nuffield Nursing Trust for £12m.

It now features 64 private bedrooms, six modern surgical theatres, a pharmacy and two minor procedural units.

The U's, meanwhile, moved to the three-sided, 12,500 capacity Kassam Stadium.

And it has never had the same charm.

Speaking to the BBC in 2014, Oxford fan Matthew Cavill said: "(The Manor Ground's) atmosphere was superb.

"Because it was a small, tiny ground, you felt like with a packed crowd you were about on top of the players and it had a slope which I never appreciated until I got older and played there for my school as a full back.

"The (Kassam Stadium) capacity is over 12,000 and our ground average is about 5,500. It's got an open end, the car park end behind the goal… The noise gets lost."