9:30am Thursday 26th June 2014
By Mark Edwards
IAN Lenagan has been urged by OxVox to clear up the uncertainty surrounding Oxford United after the club was the subject of extensive takeover rumours.
News has emerged that a consortium involving Mark Ashton, a former chief executive of Watford and Wycombe Wanderers, has held talks with the U’s owner and chairman about a possible deal.
And it is understood that at least one more group is also interested in becoming involved.
Lenagan was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Oxford Mail, but OxVox, the club’s supporters’ trust, has urged the U’s chief to shed some light on the rumours one way or another.
Many fans are worried about the lack of information coming out of the club, with Lenagan not having spoken publicly since an interview with this newspaper in April.
Mark Sennett, chairman of the group, says this is an ideal time for the position to be made clearer.
“We have always had a good relationship with the Lenagan family and they have always had Oxford United’s best interest at heart,” he said.
“But we would ask Ian that if there is truth in this rumour – or even if there isn’t – to speak out and let’s get rid of the uncertainty.
“All supporters would like to know which direction the club is going.”
United’s owner has always said he is happy to talk with anyone who is interested in getting involved with the club, but in that April interview, said Oxford United was not for sale.
“We get them (approaches) every couple of months, I had another one this week who might be real, or might not be real,” he said.
“I always have a simple view, I will talk with anybody who wants to get involved with Oxford United. Do I want to sell Oxford United? No, I don’t.”
Sennett says OxVox would be ‘cautious’ about Ashton taking over, should the speculation prove correct.
“Any time a rumour does the rounds and a name is linked to Oxford United, we, as a supporters’ trust, have to do our research,” he said.
“We have spoken to people connected to Watford and Wycombe where Mr Ashton has been in the past and, being honest, the feedback is not good.
“If there is to be an ownership change at the club, our one and only concern is that the person or group must have the interest of our football club, Oxford United, at heart and that the deal would be the right one for the football club.
“I suppose the word I would use in terms to our reaction is cautious.”
OxVox last year won the right to bid on the Kassam Stadium should it ever go up for sale after Oxford City Council made it a “community asset”.
This means owner Firoz Kassam would have to declare a six-month moratorium for supporters to put together a rival bid before any sale.
Sennett confirmed, however, they had not received notice of a bid for the stadium.
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