Whitwell, Derbyshire born inside or outside right Bernard “Bunny” Oxley began his football career with Whitwell Old Boys from where he was signed by Third Division (North) club Chesterfield, making his Football League debut and only appearance of his debut season at Grimsby Town in April 1926. After 3 further appearances during 1926-27, he broke into The Spireites’ first team in October 1927, becoming a regular, scoring 10 goals in 34 further appearances through to the season end. He was then signed by First Division club Sheffield United for £1,350 in May 1928, who initially employed him on the right wing but later selected him in a number of attacking positions.
Oxley formed a strong partnership with Jack Pickering at the start of the 1929-30 season but an operation for appendicitis saw Oxley miss a large number of games. Eventually returning to the first team Oxley’s form was inconsistent, he played just over half their matches in 1930-31 and had his best season in 1931-32 missing only 4 matches as The Blades finished seventh in the division, but he eventually lost his place in November 1932 and after a difficult season in 1933-34, in which Sheffield United suffered relegation, he was sold to Sheffield Wednesday for £1,000 in May 1934 after 11 goals in 123 appearances for The Blades.
Oxley scored on his Wednesday debut in a draw with Stoke City before the season end, but was unable to find a regular starting place with The Owls the following season scoring 3 further goals in 13 matches without featuring in their 1935 FA Cup win, before he moved again to Second Division club Plymouth Argyle for £600 in September 1935, making 15 appearances for The Pilgrims, and again to Third Division (North) club Stockport County in June 1936. Oxley’s career was revived at County and he featured regularly, helping the side win the Third Division (North) Championship in 1936-37, although they were immediately relegated the next season.
After 10 goals in 75 appearances for The Hatters, Oxley spent a brief time as player-manager with Midland League club Worksop Town before signing as player-coach with Scunthorpe & Lindsey United in November 1938. In 1939 Oxley moved to The Netherlands to coach football and cricket and was appointed coach at HVV Den Haag but was forced to flee in 1940 following the German invasion after the start of the Second World War, during which he worked for the Worksop Fire Service. After the War Oxley spent some time playing with Wombwell Athletic in 1946 and coached Denaby United in 1946-47 before being appointed manager of Worksop Town in 1947, after which he acted as a scout for Leyton Orient.
His older brother Cyril Oxley also played professional football for Chesterfield, Liverpool and Southend United.
NB in the image Oxley is shown with Sheffield United team mates Jock Gibson, George Green and Jack Pickering.