Oxford United legend Joey Beauchamp dies aged 50

Oxfordshire-born Joey Beauchamp has passed away, Oxford United announced yesterday.

The cult hero made 428 appearances in two separate spells with the club, scoring 80 goals and is widely regarded as the most talented player to have represented the U’s.

Beauchamp joined his local club in 1987 as a YTS trainee and was sold to West Ham in 1994 to ease financial burdens. He returned to the club in 1996 and helped the club he held close to his heart get promoted to League One.

Joey was father to two girls, Jessie and Bella, and a crowdfunding has been set up in his memory for their future.

The funeral service will be held on Thursday 24th March at 12.00pm at St Mary’s Church, Kidlington and well-wishers can leave tribute here.

joey beauchamp milk cup ball boy

Joey Beauchamp (far left) as a ball-boy at the Milk Cup Final in 1986

Joey Beauchamp Obituary

Joseph Daniel Beauchamp was born in Oxford 13th March 1971 and lived in North Oxford with his parents and two older brothers near the Manor Ground.

He played for Summertown Stars boys and with the side was a ball boy at the Milk Cup Final in 1986. The next year he signed for Oxford United as a YTS trainee and made his debut in 1989. In his first spell with the club he played 124 games and scored crucial goals to keep the club from relegation.

The club was struggling financially and accepted an offer from Premier League side West Ham United for £1 million. Despite wanting to stay, he was forced to accept terms to keep the club afloat after the death of fraudster owner Robert Maxwell. He was given an ultimatum of leaving or the club folding.

With the London club he did not make a single competitive appearance and became homesick and struggled with the commute. He was then sold to the U’s Thames Valley rivals Swindon Town.

Beauchamp didn’t really want to play for Swindon either, but made 39 league appearances before being transfer listed which led to a return to Oxford United for just £75’000 in October 1995.

In his 2nd spell with the Yellows he made 238 appearances over 7 years, with his final game coming against Exeter in February 2002 when he was forced to retire from professional football through injury shortly before his 32nd birthday.

After retirement Beauchamp was a professional gambler and a battle with alcoholism led to a drink driving conviction in August 2009, which led to him opening up about his depression which led to help from Sporting Chance.

The spell at West Ham, where manager Billy Bonds called him a wimp and assistant Harry Redknapp noted in his autobiography that Beauchamp was crying in his car on the first day of training highlights his mental health struggles.

At the Manor Ground and the Kassam stadium he was adored as much as he loved playing there. The talented winger with a wand of a left foot was voted by Oxford United fans as player of the 1990’s, and his 1996 goal against Blackpool the greatest goal.

Joey Beauchamp career stats

Oxford16-May-8922-Jun-94117 (7)208 (0)36 (1)25 (1)0
Swansea30-Oct-9131-May-925 (0)20 (0)00 (0)01 (0)0
West Ham22-Jun-9418-Aug-940 (0)00 (0)00 (0)00 (0)0
Swindon18-Aug-9404-Oct-9539 (6)32 (0)07 (2)14 (0)0
Oxford04-Oct-9501-Jul-02202 (36)4312 (3)123 (2)92 (4)0
Totals363 (49)6822 (3)436 (5)1212 (5)0