NEW Oxford United chairman Darryl Eales has a simple solution for any supporters sceptical of his intentions – just ask him.
The prospect of a private equity expert from Birmingham suddenly becoming interested in the club raised suspicion in some quarters.
But after acquiring a significant stake in the club, described as between 30 and 50 per cent, he was keen to make assurances and spoke frankly about what motivated the move.
Eales said he wants to be part of United’s long-term plan, which means putting money in, rather than taking it out.
“You read some blogs talking about ‘is he going to take money out of the club?’,” he said.
“I’m thinking ‘if I wanted to make sensible investments you wouldn’t choose football’.
“I would say to supporters, ‘come and speak to me’.
“If you want to know my views on something, come and ask me because I’m new to all this, but I think people who have worked for me will say what you see is what you get.
“I don’t have agendas, politics I really dislike and I’m completely open.”
He added: “I don’t regard football as a business, but it’s got to make sense economically.
“I’m not looking to make money out of this, but I’m not looking to lose money either.
“If we started earning a profit as a business – and clearly it’s loss-making at the moment – I’m very happy for 100 per cent of that to be reinvested in the club.
“You can be the judge of this, but I don’t think I’ve got a big ego, so I’m not doing this for a big ego trip.
“I’m doing this to test myself in a different arena – in the sport I love.”
Top of the 53-year-old’s ‘to do’ list is make funds available to help Michael Appleton, who has replaced Gary Waddock as head coach, strengthen the squad.
Discussions have already taken place with incoming chief executive Mark Ashton, but it will not be a spending spree.
He said: “I’ve said to Mark, within sensible bounds, tell me what you need from a playing perspective and I’ll flex it.
“That’s not millions – I might say ‘you’ve got an extra £250,000 to spend’.”
Patient progress is the aim of the game for the new chairman, who briefly considered getting involved with Birmingham City 18 months ago before deciding against investing in the club he supports.
Eales is confident United have what it takes to move up the football pyramid, but stopped short of setting a deadline.
He said: “Realistically, to me this should be a sustainable Championship club.
“That’s what we’ve talked about, but what I think is foolhardy is to say we’re going to do that within three or five years.
“That’s just your inspiration, and all our efforts will be on trying to achieve that.”
9:20am Tuesday 6th October 2015
CALLUM O’Dowda cannot wait for his first taste of a game against Swindon Town after getting permission to delay his trip to meet up with the Ireland Under 21 squad.
9:00am Tuesday 6th October 2015
JORDAN Graham is in line to make his first Oxford United start as injury looks likely to rule Danny Rose out of their clash with Swindon Town.
8:30am Tuesday 6th October 2015
ALTHOUGH Oxford United have won fewer derby matches than rivals Swindon Town, who lead 21-13, they go into tonight’s game looking for an unprecedented fifth straight victory.
12:30pm Monday 5th October 2015
LIAM Sercombe declared he is having the time of his footballing life at Oxford United after scoring two late goals in a 3-1 victory at Accrington Stanley.
8:30am Monday 5th October 2015
MICHAEL Appleton hailed an “almost perfect” week as Oxford United added a 3-1 win at Accrington Stanley to their midweek victory at York City.
7:30am Monday 5th October 2015
OXFORD United’s clinical edge in the final third was key to their victory, according to beaten Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman.
12:00pm Sunday 4th October 2015
SEE the key moments as Oxford United won for the second time on the road in the space of five days with a 3-1 success at Accrington Stanley.
4:57pm Saturday 3rd October 2015
LIAM Sercombe scored twice in the final 11 minutes to give Oxford United their second away victory in five days.
6:08pm Saturday 3rd October 2015