The leader of a group of Oxfordshire businessmen who have launched a takeover bid for Oxford United, says they have the financial muscle to take the club forward.
Charlie Methven confirmed last night that talks have taken place between his consortium and U’s owner Ian Lenagan.
However, the United supporter doubted they were the frontrunners, with a rival group, led by Mark Ashton, believed to still be in pole position to take control.
Methven, who has been working in an advisory role with the U’s, says his group have spoken to Lenagan and will provide him with an “alternative option”.
“We approached the owner about a month ago and indicated that if the club came up for sale, we would be interested,” Methven said.
“We held conversations that were both friendly and constructive.
“Those conversations have dried up in recent weeks, I am not sure exactly why, but it might indicate that somebody is in a stronger position than us.”
He added: “In previous years when Oxford United have been in difficulties, there has only been one offer on the table.
“I do not believe this is healthy, and so we are keen to provide an alternative option.
“We have raised significant funds, and feel the amount would be sufficient.
“However, we could have more funds as a back-up if needed.
“We have given a firm indication we would be interested, and believe Ian was grateful for that interest.”
The situation has arisen due to speculation the United chairman is unwilling to continue pouring money into a club which has lost more than £1m for two successive years.
The latest available accounts, which cover the 12 months up to the end of June 2013, show Lenagan’s total investment, through his Woodstock Partners Ltd company, was in excess of £6m.
Methven is hoping his group’s affinity with Oxford United could work in their favour.
“I have, and remain, a major supporter of what the Lenagans have done,” Methven said.
“They have put a number of very good things in place at the club, and I was concerned – and still am – that whoever comes in, if they are an unknown quantity, won’t be the best people to complete those things.”
Methven was appointed as a trustee of the Oxford United Youth and Community Sports Trust in May 2011 and last year played a key role in setting up fans’ group the Yellow Army.
His name was revealed in a statement from supporters’ trust OxVox, whose calls for Lenagan to break his silence and put fans in the picture of developments have fallen on deaf ears.
The U’s owner has still to return any calls from the Oxford Mail or reply to any of our requests for an interview.
Our top stories:
9:12am Saturday 10th October 2015
TRIBUTES have poured in for a “vibrant and popular” former student who was struck down and killed on the A40.
5:30am Saturday 10th October 2015
A “REMARKABLE” teenager whose battle with cancer inspired hundreds to raise funds for research has passed away.
12:25pm Saturday 10th October 2015
Soldiers from the barracks named after First World War hero Edward Brooks officially unveiled a new memorial at his grave today.
8:30am Saturday 10th October 2015
OXFORD’S revamped Westgate Centre will reopen in October 2017, just in time to give the city’s economy a £100m Christmas bonus.
8:00am Saturday 10th October 2015
THE restaurant at the Randolph Hotel has reopened nearly six months after a devastating blaze, but the hotel will not be back to normal until March.
7:00am Saturday 10th October 2015
MULTI-MILLION pound plans to transform a neglected Cowley shopping centre are set to rejuvenate the area, developers said.
6:30am Saturday 10th October 2015
HIGH-tech firms could move abroad if top Oxfordshire facilities are not protected from national spending cuts, a UK science boss has warned.
6:00am Saturday 10th October 2015
MUCH-NEEDED repairs to a special school in Blackbird Leys may lead to more closures over the next few days.
3:37pm Friday 9th October 2015
A 19-year-old woman killed in a crash on the A40 this morning has been named locally as Katy Pancott.
7:00am Friday 9th October 2015
A MOTHER who received horrific burns in a caravan fire has spoken of her two-year fight to recover from her injuries.
6:24pm Friday 9th October 2015
A car crash has blocked part of the slip road off the A34 this afternoon.
6:26pm Friday 9th October 2015
AN AUTISTIC teenager who died during a stay at an NHS unit had been improving and making friends, an inquest heard.
4:23pm Friday 9th October 2015
A BROKEN-down caravan is causing traffic delays in Headington.
3:10pm Friday 9th October 2015
A "DANGEROUS" rapist and a second man who tried to damage his victims' character have been jailed.