Oxford MailNew Oxford United chairman tells fans: My door is open (From Oxford Mail)

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  • "It's encouraging to hear that the guys coming in have a passion for football. They're coming in when expectations are low and it seemed as we were about to engage in a relegation battle so I for one am completely behind their investment.
    Great to hear Appleton has been recruited and that there could be 250k added to the playing staff budget. My view is if they look to get high quality players and coaches in, the rest will surely follow. Looking forward to seeing how their plans develop but mostly looking forward to seeing improvements on the pitch. Good luck to Ashton, Eales and Appleton"
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New Oxford United chairman tells fans: My door is open

Oxford Mail: Darryl Eales (left), Mark Ashton and Ian Lenagan walk out of the Kassam Stadium tunnel after yesterday’s press conference Darryl Eales (left), Mark Ashton and Ian Lenagan walk out of the Kassam Stadium tunnel after yesterday’s press conference

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.”

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9:55pm Tuesday 19th August 2014

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Oxford Mail:

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