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New Oxford United chairman tells fans: My door is open

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

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

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.”

Oxford United buoyed by Roberts news

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Wednesday 26th November 2014

MICKEY Lewis backed James Roberts to come back stronger than ever after Oxford United were boosted by the news the striker’s hamstring injury was not serious.

What's lurking in our interactive back page today?

Oxford Mail:

1:00pm Wednesday 26th November 2014

Here's our interactive back page for you to explore today with links to all the stories and latest headlines

Oxford United hope for Roberts return inside a month

Oxford Mail:

12:34pm Tuesday 25th November 2014

JAMES Roberts could return to Oxford United action in three or four weeks after his hamstring injury was found to be less serious than initially feared.

Michael Appleton aiming to loan out Oxford United players

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 25th November 2014

Michael Appleton is keen to loan out a couple of senior Oxford United players before the window closes on Thursday.

VIDEO: Highlights and reaction from Oxford United's draw with AFC Wimbledon

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Monday 24th November 2014

OXFORD United were unable to break down a well-organised AFC Wimbledon side during their goalless draw at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.

What's in our interactive back page today?

Oxford Mail:

10:43am Monday 24th November 2014

Explore your way around our interactive back page - eight links for your best local sports coverage, including our Oxford United match picture gallery. And there's video highlights from U's clash with AFC Wimbledon as well..

Alfie Potter hoping injury to James Roberts is not too serious

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 24th November 2014

ALFIE Potter admitted it was a big blow for everyone at Oxford United to see James Roberts limp off on Saturday.

Oxford United head coach has mixed feelings after goalless draw

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Monday 24th November 2014

MICHAEL Appleton refused to be too downbeat and instead praised the way Oxford United stuck to the game plan as they drew a blank against AFC Wimbledon.

Andy Whing delighted at shutting out Adebayo Akinfenwa threat

Oxford Mail:

7:40am Monday 24th November 2014

ANDY Whing relished playing his part in restricting Adebayo Akinfenwa’s impact as Oxford United shared a goalless draw with AFC Wimbledon.

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