Oxford United owner plays down £1.1m deficit

10:10am Wednesday 16th April 2014

By David Pritchard

IAN Lenagan says accounts which reveal Oxford United lost more than £1.1million were disappointing but not surprising.

The period covers the 12 months up to the end of June 2013 and a figure of £1,132,990 represents the second successive year the U’s have been more than £1million in the red.

But while the bottom line is more than £110,000 worse than the year before, the club’s owner believes there are good reasons why the situation is not as alarming as it appears.

Lenagan took over as chairman at the start of the period covered by the accounts and says it was used to “clear the decks” financially.

A combination of one-off items which needed to be cleared, plus a spend in the region of £200,000 on loan players to cover injuries, which has been significantly cut since, were key.

Lenagan said: “There are a number of elements we had to bring forward and pay that hadn’t been paid before.

“So when you look at the underlying figures, it’s probably about £750,000 worth of loss within the club, which is pretty much what we expected.

“It’s not what we expected 12 months’ earlier, but one of the reasons I took over as chairman is because I wanted to make sure we went forwards rather than backwards.”

He added: “It was a very different and exceptional year.”

The deficit was covered by additional funding from Lenagan’s Woodstock Partners Limited, to the tune of £1.55m.

It means that while debts to other creditors have fallen slightly, the outstanding loan due to the parent company now stands at £6.1m – although no interest has been charged on it since April 2008.

Lenagan estimates he has put £750,000 into the club since last summer and is forecasting further losses for the year ending this June, plus the 12 months after that, albeit at what he hopes will be declining levels.

“What we’re looking at is a three-year story where Oxford will come down from £1m to somewhere between £500,000 and £750,000 to about £250,000,” he said.

“The figures are not a surprise, they are just disappointing because I don’t want to have to continue putting money in at that rate.”

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