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U’s 12th Man fan club gone as substitute support group steps in
Promoting a 12th Man event in 2012, players Jake Wright – whose signing the group helped to fund – Adam Chapman, Sean McGinty and Tyrone Marsh
A high-profile Oxford United fan club has shut after being told it would not be able to continue fundraising on club grounds.
The 12th Man group, which has been running for four years and has raised almost £60,000 for transfers, had permission to sell its merchandise in the 12th Man supporters’ bar on match days.
But it has now been told it will not be allowed to continue raising any money at the ground.
The Yellow Army supporters group, which was formed in the summer, will now be the main fundraiser at the Kassam Stadium.
Officials at 12th Man said there had been a disagreement about fundraising, but exactly what happened remains unclear.
After meeting on Thursday night to discuss the group’s future, a statement was issued by 12th Man saying: “This is clearly in response to the 12th Man’s departure from the Yellow Army.
“We are disappointed differences of approach to fundraising are not tolerated within the Oxford United family.”
The organisation started in 2010 when the club was still in the Conference. Despite winding up, the group said its remaining £14,800 would still be available to Oxford United.
12th Man treasurer Trevor Lambert said: “There may be politics at play, but I am not involved in that.
“I can’t really understand why this has happened. The logic of saying to a group, who are raising a bit of cash for you, that you no longer require their efforts, is a conundrum.
“Our main concern has always been helping the club and that remains the case.”
The 12th Man group has fallen out with the Yellow Army following a disagreement on how fundraising should be organised, but the exact details of the row have not been revealed.
“It put us in a position where we were not able to continue,” said Mr Lambert.
The changes will take effect from the next home game, against Burton Albion on March 8.
Mark Sennett is the chairman of OxVox, which is also part of the Yellow Army.
He said: “This is a natural evolution and an opportunity for fans to refocus on supporting the youth training schemes.
“12th Man were a great part of the Yellow Army but they decided to leave the group and the club has had to think about how things will be managed on match days.
“It is great to see that a number of 12th Man members have already come over to say they will still work with us. I have loved working with them and hope they will still be involved.”
The group will also begin selling its own merchandise in the bar, which will be renamed after a fan vote.
But in a statement issued on Thursday, Yellow Army member Matt Organ said it had ordered in merchandise.
“Every penny in profit will directly help our football club and go towards improving the match day experience for fans,” he said.
“The beauty of the Yellow Army is the flexibility in how the funds raised can be put to use for the benefit of our club as a whole.”
The Oxford Mail asked Oxford United for a comment on the 12th Man group’s demise.
A club spokesman said: “All Oxford United fans are welcome at every game and everyone can play a part in the Yellow Army.”