Oster playing for Crystal Palace in 2008.
|Full name||John Morgan Oster|
|Date of birth||8 December 1978|
|Place of birth||Boston, England|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Playing position||Winger, deep-lying playmaker|
|2001||→ Barnsley (loan)||2||(0)|
|2002||→ Grimsby Town (loan)||10||(5)|
|2003||→ Grimsby Town (loan)||7||(1)|
|2004–2005||→ Leeds United (loan)||8||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:45, 10 December 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Oster was a product of the youth team at Grimsby Town where he was added to the first team squad in 1994, however he didn't make his debut until the 1996–97 season. His performances that season caught the eye of Premier League side Everton who paid £1.5 million for him during the summer of 1997. Two years later he was sold to Sunderland where he remained until 2005. Whilst with The Black Cats he spent time on loan with Barnsley before returning to Grimsby for two separate loan spells during the 2002–03 season, in his time back at Blundell Park he was unable to save the club from relegation. He later moved on loan to Leeds United before joining Burnley permanently. His stay with Burnley was brief and moved to Reading where he helped them earn promotion to the Premier League for the first time, in 2008 he moved to Crystal Palace where he remained for a year before transferring to Doncaster Rovers. He departed Rovers in the summer of 2012 and joined League Two side Barnet, prior to his move to the North London club he had played his entire professional football career inside the top two divisions of English football. He joined Gateshead in September 2013.
During his career, Oster represented Wales at international level, where he earned 13 caps between 1997 and 2004. He is renowned for his excellent first touch and wide range of passing. He was often deployed on the wing, but played the role of deep-lying playmaker most effectively throughout his career.
Oster started his career at Grimsby Town and had progressed through the youth ranks at the club and was inducted into the first team in the same youth squad as players such as Danny Butterfield, Matthew Bloomer and Daryl Clare. He was promoted to the first team scene in the 1994–95 season when the club were in the old First Division. However he didn't make his debut until the 1996–97 campaign where he made his debut in a 3–1 win away at Charlton Athletic on 26 November 1996. Oster and Town were thrusted into a relegation battle that was ultimately unsuccessful and while in his only first team season at Blundell Park he was seemingly thrown in at the deep end by his manager Brian Laws, but managed to pull of some outstanding performances, scoring three league goals in the process. He also managed to score a 30-yard drive in the FA Cup defeat against Sheffield Wednesday which was his first senior career goal. Following Grimsby's relegation from the First Division, Oster was sold by The Mariners, for a fee of £1.5 million that saw him break the clubs record transfer sale that was initially held by Gary Croft following his move to Blackburn Rovers for £1 million a year earlier. Oster's transfer fee still remains the clubs record transfer fee received. He had only played twenty six times in all competitions, scoring four goals upon his departure.
The Mariners sold Oster to Everton for £1.5 million in 1997, aged only 18 and having played only 25 matches. It transpired that he had made the wrong move though, as he was rarely utilised in his favoured winger's role, in a 4–4–2 formation, but instead was asked to play as part of a midfield three, or in a Barmby/Beardsley style role alongside Duncan Ferguson. Everton's 3–5–2 formations under Walter Smith did not suit the fragile young winger, who was often caught in possession, and exposed in aerial battles. Oster scored three times during his spell at Everton, once in the league against Barnsley, once in the League Cup against Scunthorpe United and once in the FA Cup against Coventry City.
Oster moved to Sunderland for a fee in excess of £1 million, but again failed to find regular form. His low point at the club was when he was involved in an incident that ended the career of reserve player Mark Maley by accidentally shooting him in the eye with an air rifle. While at Sunderland, during the 2002–2003 season, he spent five months back on loan with his former club Grimsby Town. He enjoyed two fruitful and productive spells with the club during that season, but despite this his goals and performances could not save The Mariners from relegation, as the club struggled to stop a slide down the Football League ladder. Oster was released by Sunderland in January 2005, shortly after returning to the Black Cats in disgrace from a loan at Leeds United, where he scored once against Millwall. There was little doubt that Grimsby would have liked Oster back but could not afford him and their financial position and reduced league status made it an unattractive option for the player.
Oster made his debut for Reading against Brighton & Hove Albion on 9 August 2005 as a substitute. In January 2007, he extended his contract at the Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2008. He notched his first Premier League goal in nearly 10 years against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium where the Royals were defeated for the first time in 2007, 2–1. After a couple of years as a squad player with the Royals, including a number of Premier League sub appearances, he was released by Reading following their relegation from the Premier League, on 16 May 2008.
Before signing for Crystal Palace, Oster had a trial spell at Championship rivals Derby County. Oster signed an initial six-month contract for Crystal Palace on 11 August 2008, which was extended by a further 18 months. He scored on his debut against Hereford United in the League Cup.
Oster left Crystal Palace in the summer and joined Doncaster Rovers on a six-month contract. Oster made his Doncaster debut on 8 August 2009, coming on as a second-half substitute against Watford. He extended his contract in January 2010 to keep him at the club until the end of the 2009–10 season. He scored his first goal for Doncaster against Peterborough United on 16 March 2010.
Due to his impressive form in the 2009/10 season, Rovers offered Oster the opportunity to renew his contract with the club. Oster agreed and committed to Doncaster for a further two years. Oster has been an ever present for Doncaster in the 2010–11 season after topping the Rovers' appearance chart in mid April with 38 starts. In May 2012, Oster was released by the club after the expiry of his contract.
On 7 September 2012, Oster signed for Football League Two club Barnet. On 19 October 2012, he scored his first goal for Barnet, scoring the third goal in a 4–0 win against Northampton Town. Oster was released by manager Edgar Davids at the end of the season following Barnet's relegation from League Two.
On 20 September 2013, Oster signed for Conference Premier club Gateshead on non-contract terms, the move being his first into Non-league. He made his debut the following day as a second half substitute against Tamworth.
In April 2002 whilst at Sunderland, Oster accidentally shot reserve team player Mark Maley with an air-gun. Neither of the pair believed the gun was loaded and Maley had to undergo an eye operation. Whilst on loan at Leeds United in December 2004 Oster and Jamie McMaster were suspended by the club for misbehaving at the clubs Christmas party. The incident spelled the end of his Leeds career and his loan was terminated. In 2005 his Sunderland contract was terminated after he was arrested for assault outside a Durham nightclub.
Club career statistics
- (correct as of 10 December 2013)
|Grimsby Town (loan)||2002–03||17||6||0||0||0||0||-||-||-||17||6||0|
|Leeds United (loan)||2004–05||8||1||1||0||0||0||-||-||-||8||0||1|
- Grimsby Town
- Supporters Young Player of the Year: 1997
- Football Championship Winner 2005–06
- "Oster signs contract at Burnley". BBC Sport. 30 January 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- Hadfield, Dave (20 September 1997). "Speed satisfies his thirst for goals". London: The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- "Everton 5 – 0 Scunthorpe". SportingLife. 1 October 1997. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- Bramwell, Neil (13 February 1999). "Jeffers springs eternal for Blues". London: The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- Fifield, Dominic (26 April 2002). "Sunderland player accidentally shot in the face by team-mate". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Sunderland end Oster's contract". BBC Sport. 27 January 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Leeds sack Oster after incident". BBC Sport. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Leeds 1–1 Millwall". BBC. 19 December 2004. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- "Coventry 0–2 Burnley". BBC. 12 February 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- "Makin and Oster pen Reading deals". BBC Sport. 2 August 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Little and Kitson strike as Royals earn first win of the season". readingfc.co.uk. 9 August 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Oster commits his future to Royals as he signs new contract until summer of 2008". readingfc.co.uk. 31 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Oster is ready for United challenge after his first Premiership goal in ten years". readingfc.co.uk. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Four offered deals, six released". readingfc.co.uk. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- "Eagles snap up Oster and Griffit". bbc.co.uk. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "Crystal Palace 2–1 Hereford". BBC. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- "Peterborough 1 – 2 Doncaster". BBC. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
- "Dozen depart from Rovers". Sky Sports. 18 May 2012.
- "RETAINED LIST - PHASE ONE". Barnet FC. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Gateshead sign midfielder John Oster on non-contract terms". BBC Sport. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- "Tamworth v Gateshead". BBC Sport. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- "Wales 2–2 N Ireland". BBC Sport. 8 September 2004. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- Includes FA Cup, League Cup, FA Community Shield and FA Trophy