Stefan Oakes made his full league debut for Leicester in 1998, playing Chelsea. He had recovered from a broken leg incident and climbing his way through the academy doors and into the first team. His brother Scott had earlier made his debut, but moved on to play for clubs such as Luton and Sheff W, they are son’s of the Showaddywaddy guitarist Trevor Oakes.
Stefan remembers the day v. Chelsea as one of the best in life. He was a good passer of the ball, one who could also operate on the flank to the left and spray passes in, score a goal and be creative. He also describes the captain of Leicester City’s 1969 final team, David Nish as a pivotal inspiration as he was in charge of the youth while Stefan was progressing.
Martin O’Neill also had a key in Stefan’s career going forward, suffering from a terrible set back with that broken leg, but instead of axing Stefan, MON gave him a one year deal to be able to prove himself, this shows a human side with football that few might have recognized.
Before that game v. Chelsea, Stef had just been with the first team on the buss to learn his trade but failed to get on the bench and just being left in the stands for the 90 minutes, remembering his time making tea for Steve Walsh. He then later played against Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest among those.
Stefan Oakes was one of those four young players in MON’s set up going forward, with Stuart Wilson and Stuart Campbell also breaking through the following season, Emile Heskey had allready established himself from that crop of players in this age group.
Stefan’s best period at Leicester was in that 99/00 season playing 32 games in total and featuring in the EFL Cup final back then known as Worthington Cup, and we all remember that great 2-1 win v. Tranmere.
The change of managers stopped it really for Stefan at Leicester with Peter Taylor coming in and he fancied other players more, and that is a footballers life, you don’t really know what managers are like and how they build their teams. He did get more opportunities with Harry Bassett, but with Micky Adams the career at Leicester came to an end, firstly being loaned out to Crewe and later joining Walsall.
He then joined Notts County and played under former Leicester player Gary Mills, enjoyed his stay and did see some progress. Then after two seasons at Meadow Lane he made the switch to Wycombe Wanderers, made a total of 110 league appearances and by the age of 30, making a new switch to Lincoln City.
Stefan Oakes made a move to US Soccer, playing for New York City FC, in between periods in non-league with Tamworth again playing under the management of Gary Mills.
He later moved back to the US and today the Director of North Carolina FC Youth, training and coaching kids in that area to progress in soccer. He still follows Leicester and that will always be his team as one of very few local born players to make the grade and playing near 100 appearances in all competitions.