It's a waiting game for Oxford United

Oxford United owner Ian Lenagan with Simon at a U's game last season

Oxford United owner Ian Lenagan with Simon at a U's game last season

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425451

The parties at the centre of the potential Oxford United takeover were all remaining tight-lipped yesterday and said they had nothing to say . . . yet.

U’s owner and chairman Ian Lenagan again failed to break his silence when contacted, although his son, Simon, did answer our call.

“As soon as there is something that needs to be communicated, it will be,” Simon Lenagan, who is also a board member, said.

A consortium led by Mark Ashton appear to be the favourites to take over the club should it be up for sale, with a team of Oxfordshire businessmen, led by Charlie Methven, also interested.

Although Ashton is the man fronting the bid for his group, the Oxford Mail understands that the person leading the talks is Darryl Eales.

Eales was once reportedly interested in trying to take over Birmingham City, whom he supports, and has strong connections with Ian Lenagan.

The United owner made £19m when selling Workplace Systems in December 2011 to LDC – part of the Lloyds Banking Group.

Eales is listed on the LDC website as an ‘advisory chairman’.

Further investigations show that last month a new company was founded – ENSCO 1070 Ltd – which lists Ashton and Eales as directors, along with Michael O’Leary and Frank Waterhouse.

There is no evidence, however, that this company is involved in the potential takeover of Oxford United.

When the Oxford Mail contacted Ashton yesterday, we were told: “Mark is unable to talk about anything at this moment, which you will hopefully appreciate.”

Oxford United supporters’ trust OxVox have also tried to speak to Ashton about the potential deal.

OxVox chairman Mark Sennett commented: “We have tried to contact Mr Ashton and are hoping for a conversation with him.”

Rumours of a takeover surfaced on Wednesday, with Ashton’s consortium first linked.

Methven’s group, all United supporters, then went public 24 hours later with their interest.

If any deal is struck, it is not clear whether it would involve just the purchase of Oxford United Football Club, or include the stadium, which is owned by former chairman Firoz Kassam.

Talks about the purchase of the stadium have taken place with Kassam in the past, but no deal has ever been struck.

United’s players report back for pre-season training on Monday, with head coach Gary Waddock having made just one addition to the squad this summer, striker Danny Hylton.

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Comments (8)

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11:26am Sat 28 Jun 14

oxfordus says...

Is no news newsworthy??? All we have are rumours of a takeover, which no one involved is willing to corroborate.

Any sensible millionaire would not see OUFC as a realistic proposition would they? Kassam has aleady pillaged and stripped the club of its assets; so all that's left is a club membership in League 2.

OUFC has debt, no ground and no players worth a transfer fee. It has no assets apart from the goodwill of 5000 fans who, by and large, turn-up week in week out.

Am I missing something here?
Is no news newsworthy??? All we have are rumours of a takeover, which no one involved is willing to corroborate. Any sensible millionaire [not that I actually know any personally] would not see OUFC as a realistic proposition would they? Kassam has aleady pillaged and stripped the club of its assets; so all that's left is a club membership in League 2. OUFC has debt, no ground and no players worth a transfer fee. It has no assets apart from the goodwill of 5000 fans who, by and large, turn-up week in week out. Am I missing something here? oxfordus
  • Score: 21

12:48pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Richard Wickson says...

oxfordus wrote:
Is no news newsworthy??? All we have are rumours of a takeover, which no one involved is willing to corroborate.

Any sensible millionaire would not see OUFC as a realistic proposition would they? Kassam has aleady pillaged and stripped the club of its assets; so all that's left is a club membership in League 2.

OUFC has debt, no ground and no players worth a transfer fee. It has no assets apart from the goodwill of 5000 fans who, by and large, turn-up week in week out.

Am I missing something here?
Maybe you are only missing a simple point, it's close season, there are no matches to report on, because of financial constraints the club (unlike most others in League 2) isn't signing players. Therefore anything that can be linked, however tenuously, to OUFC is being regarded as newsworthy by the OM. Like you I wonder why investors will be interested as there is no assets to the club but maybe they are genuinely interested in OU. If I was ever fortunate to drop a big Euromillions I know I would invest in the club even if it was only to build a stadium with some soul, not a concrete slab that lacks imagination or soul, I would love the architect/designer to explain what he was thinking of when he dreamt up the monstrosity the club currently plays in. No need for panic tho as I cannot do the euro from abroad so unfortunately can only wonder what might happen.
[quote][p][bold]oxfordus[/bold] wrote: Is no news newsworthy??? All we have are rumours of a takeover, which no one involved is willing to corroborate. Any sensible millionaire [not that I actually know any personally] would not see OUFC as a realistic proposition would they? Kassam has aleady pillaged and stripped the club of its assets; so all that's left is a club membership in League 2. OUFC has debt, no ground and no players worth a transfer fee. It has no assets apart from the goodwill of 5000 fans who, by and large, turn-up week in week out. Am I missing something here?[/p][/quote]Maybe you are only missing a simple point, it's close season, there are no matches to report on, because of financial constraints the club (unlike most others in League 2) isn't signing players. Therefore anything that can be linked, however tenuously, to OUFC is being regarded as newsworthy by the OM. Like you I wonder why investors will be interested as there is no assets to the club but maybe they are genuinely interested in OU. If I was ever fortunate to drop a big Euromillions I know I would invest in the club even if it was only to build a stadium with some soul, not a concrete slab that lacks imagination or soul, I would love the architect/designer to explain what he was thinking of when he dreamt up the monstrosity the club currently plays in. No need for panic tho as I cannot do the euro from abroad so unfortunately can only wonder what might happen. Richard Wickson
  • Score: 5

12:58pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Richard Wickson says...

Richard Wickson wrote:
oxfordus wrote:
Is no news newsworthy??? All we have are rumours of a takeover, which no one involved is willing to corroborate.

Any sensible millionaire would not see OUFC as a realistic proposition would they? Kassam has aleady pillaged and stripped the club of its assets; so all that's left is a club membership in League 2.

OUFC has debt, no ground and no players worth a transfer fee. It has no assets apart from the goodwill of 5000 fans who, by and large, turn-up week in week out.

Am I missing something here?
Maybe you are only missing a simple point, it's close season, there are no matches to report on, because of financial constraints the club (unlike most others in League 2) isn't signing players. Therefore anything that can be linked, however tenuously, to OUFC is being regarded as newsworthy by the OM. Like you I wonder why investors will be interested as there is no assets to the club but maybe they are genuinely interested in OU. If I was ever fortunate to drop a big Euromillions I know I would invest in the club even if it was only to build a stadium with some soul, not a concrete slab that lacks imagination or soul, I would love the architect/designer to explain what he was thinking of when he dreamt up the monstrosity the club currently plays in. No need for panic tho as I cannot do the euro from abroad so unfortunately can only wonder what might happen.
Ps to above. Maybe just maybe the Methven lot have an interest in the heart of the club and want to put it on a forward path for the first time in many years, unfortunately neither Merry nor Ian Lenagan have been in a position to acquire the stadium therefore we have stagnated. Believe or not there are people who genuinely have an interest in the future of the club of that I am sure. I just hope some of them have adequate funds.
[quote][p][bold]Richard Wickson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]oxfordus[/bold] wrote: Is no news newsworthy??? All we have are rumours of a takeover, which no one involved is willing to corroborate. Any sensible millionaire [not that I actually know any personally] would not see OUFC as a realistic proposition would they? Kassam has aleady pillaged and stripped the club of its assets; so all that's left is a club membership in League 2. OUFC has debt, no ground and no players worth a transfer fee. It has no assets apart from the goodwill of 5000 fans who, by and large, turn-up week in week out. Am I missing something here?[/p][/quote]Maybe you are only missing a simple point, it's close season, there are no matches to report on, because of financial constraints the club (unlike most others in League 2) isn't signing players. Therefore anything that can be linked, however tenuously, to OUFC is being regarded as newsworthy by the OM. Like you I wonder why investors will be interested as there is no assets to the club but maybe they are genuinely interested in OU. If I was ever fortunate to drop a big Euromillions I know I would invest in the club even if it was only to build a stadium with some soul, not a concrete slab that lacks imagination or soul, I would love the architect/designer to explain what he was thinking of when he dreamt up the monstrosity the club currently plays in. No need for panic tho as I cannot do the euro from abroad so unfortunately can only wonder what might happen.[/p][/quote]Ps to above. Maybe just maybe the Methven lot have an interest in the heart of the club and want to put it on a forward path for the first time in many years, unfortunately neither Merry nor Ian Lenagan have been in a position to acquire the stadium therefore we have stagnated. Believe or not there are people who genuinely have an interest in the future of the club of that I am sure. I just hope some of them have adequate funds. Richard Wickson
  • Score: 20

2:03am Sun 29 Jun 14

BenkiuGuasu says...

There is a bit more to this article than "nothing to report" - more than I expected when I read the headline.

Let's hope to the heavens that any deal DOES include the stadium. No real way forward for the club until this happens...
There is a bit more to this article than "nothing to report" - more than I expected when I read the headline. Let's hope to the heavens that any deal DOES include the stadium. No real way forward for the club until this happens... BenkiuGuasu
  • Score: 7

5:07pm Sun 29 Jun 14

OUFC67 says...

With the lack of transfer activity from us it is no real surprise this news and always likely Lenagan wants to sell to an interested party providing they have the financial credibility to put money into the club. Waddock saying he was going to get targets late was just a ploy for these take over talks to conclude. However, it may take another month before anything conclusive comes off. Just worried that we do obtain an extra 5 decent players that can add value to the team especially midfield and up front to get us goals as well as play entertaining football. Interesting July going up for the U's.
With the lack of transfer activity from us it is no real surprise this news and always likely Lenagan wants to sell to an interested party providing they have the financial credibility to put money into the club. Waddock saying he was going to get targets late was just a ploy for these take over talks to conclude. However, it may take another month before anything conclusive comes off. Just worried that we do obtain an extra 5 decent players that can add value to the team especially midfield and up front to get us goals as well as play entertaining football. Interesting July going up for the U's. OUFC67
  • Score: 1

12:11pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Oxokuba says...

Agree with most comments on this - unless takeover team have a serious intention to purchase the ground or at least put funds in place to cover costs for at least 3-5 years we will limp along like we have done for last 5 years. As much as I welcome interest in the club particularly from the Methven camp we really need to see colour of money and depth of ambition if the club is going to survive.
Agree with most comments on this - unless takeover team have a serious intention to purchase the ground or at least put funds in place to cover costs for at least 3-5 years we will limp along like we have done for last 5 years. As much as I welcome interest in the club particularly from the Methven camp we really need to see colour of money and depth of ambition if the club is going to survive. Oxokuba
  • Score: 1

12:21pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Richard Wickson says...

BenkiuGuasu wrote:
There is a bit more to this article than "nothing to report" - more than I expected when I read the headline.

Let's hope to the heavens that any deal DOES include the stadium. No real way forward for the club until this happens...
It's not often you and I agree Benkiu but on this we do. We might have opposing views at times but both of us want this club to go forward and succeed.
[quote][p][bold]BenkiuGuasu[/bold] wrote: There is a bit more to this article than "nothing to report" - more than I expected when I read the headline. Let's hope to the heavens that any deal DOES include the stadium. No real way forward for the club until this happens...[/p][/quote]It's not often you and I agree Benkiu but on this we do. We might have opposing views at times but both of us want this club to go forward and succeed. Richard Wickson
  • Score: 1

1:22pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Brenda Jackson says...

The interested business men are eyeing ground in and around the Stadium- and OUFC hold a trump card here as contractual tenants.

It's the prospects of making some serious profits that has also got kasham suddenly being
Community minded and allowing Club crests on his stadium, he's also being nice to fans' groups, surely they won't be taken in- again, will they?!

I just hope Oxford Utd come out of all this in a far better position than they are now.
The interested business men are eyeing ground in and around the Stadium- and OUFC hold a trump card here as contractual tenants. It's the prospects of making some serious profits that has also got kasham suddenly being Community minded and allowing Club crests on his stadium, he's also being nice to fans' groups, surely they won't be taken in- again, will they?! I just hope Oxford Utd come out of all this in a far better position than they are now. Brenda Jackson
  • Score: 2

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