Could have been inexperience in terms of transfer that caused the oxidation, or maybe even a bad seal on your fermenter. Hell, my first 3 beers were all a different sort of junk just because I had yet to figure out what I was doing
I personally see why it's nicer to have clearer beer. Letting it clear in bottles is dink in my opinion, because all the gunk is just going to settle at the bottom. Sometimes I like to drink from my bottles, and I don't like having to leave some extra beer at the end just to avoid getting a mouthful of gunk.
All things being equal, if you aren't going to secondary, I've always thought some extra time in the primary fermenter is a decently suitable replacement