9:30am Saturday 28th June 2014
By Mark Edwards
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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