Report this comment
  • "I vote for The New Manor as a name :)"
  • This field is mandatory
  • This field is mandatory
  • Please note we will not accept reports with HTML tags or URLs in them.


  • Enter the above word in the box below

U’s may move to a new ground

Water Eaton

Water Eaton

First published in Headlines
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425451

THE leader of Oxfordshire County Council has said he would back a move which could see Oxford United leave the Kassam Stadium and build a new ground at Water Eaton.

And last night, Ian Hudspeth said it would potentially allow the club’s present home in Grenoble Road to be redeveloped for housing.

As revealed in Friday’s Oxford Mail, U’s owner Ian Lenagan is involved in takeover talks with at least two consortiums, and this newspaper understands any successful negotiations are likely to depend on the club owning their home.

But that might be away from the Kassam Stadium.

While an official approach has not been made for the site, which is located next to the Water Eaton Park-and-Ride and proposed new Oxford Parkway railway station, Mr Hudspeth confirmed informal talks between the county council and United have taken place.

But he warned there would be a number of obstacles to overcome with the land, which falls under Cherwell District Council’s authority.

He said: “I had the idea a few months ago that it might be a potential location and did speak to Oxford United about it, but they were informal talks.

“The county council is not the planning authority. However, as an Oxford United supporter, I am obviously keen for the club to own its own facility.

“Water Eaton might do that.

“However, it is on Green Belt land and there would have to be discussions with Cherwell District Council.”

United have paid rent to landlord Firoz Kassam since moving from the Manor Ground in 2001, which is now believed to be around £500,000 a year.

That burden has hindered the club’s progress, with the U’s posting losses of in excess of £1m for each of the last two years.

Mr Hudspeth believes a move to a new location could suit all parties. He said: “From a transport point of view, it [Water Eaton] would be next to the train station, is on bus routes and there would be car parking, so transport-wise it is a very good location.

“We could then look at the Kassam Stadium, and it might mean that could be redeveloped for housing to assist Oxford City Council to provide the need for homes.

“I am aware that the desire of all Oxford United supporters to own their own ground is great.”

Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council, said the area would be ideal for such a development.

He said: “If ever you were looking at a site that’s worth developing, then that would be it. It is obviously a viable site.

“The football club and the rugby club [London Welsh have shared the ground since 2012] are very important parts of the community and they serve a wide section of the community.

“We would be happy to take part in any discussions that ensure they both remain viable. We will look at anything that sounds feasible.”

A consortium led by Mark Ashton appear to be favourite to take over the club should it be up for sale, with a team of Oxfordshire businessmen, fronted by Charlie Methven, also interested.

Mr Lenagan and Mr Kassam were yesterday both unavailable for comment.

Cherwell district councillor Michael Gibbard, the cabinet member for planning and the councillor for Water Eaton, said: “This is not something we are aware of and nothing has been put to us yet.

“My immediate thought is that it would be a major visual development in the Green Belt and not one to be encouraged but you could look at whether it is a special case.”

Our top stories:

Update: Fire at Didcot Power Station under control and 'no risk to the public' + Video of blaze

Oxford Mail:

9:08pm Sunday 19th October 2014

THE fire at Didcot Power Station is under control and the smoke is not hazardous to the public, a fire chief has said tonight.

Free: Get Oxford Mail news alerts sent direct to your phone via Whatsapp

Oxford Mail: Whats App logo

2:00pm Sunday 19th October 2014

OXFORD Mail readers can now sign up to get major breaking news alerts sent direct to their mobile phones with a new service using Whatsapp.

UPDATE: Traffic lights back on at Frideswide Square after earlier fault

Oxford Mail: Frideswide Square

10:18am Sunday 19th October 2014

THE traffic lights in Frideswide Square and its approaches are out this morning.

Three men to appear in court charged with thefts of mobile phones from Oxford nightclubs

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

10:29am Sunday 19th October 2014

THREE men have been charged with six counts of theft after mobile phones were allegedly stolen at two city nightclubs.

Council and NHS leaders defend use of office space by county unions

Oxford Mail: WAR ON WASTE: Jonathan Isaby

7:29pm Sunday 19th October 2014

COUNCIL and NHS leaders have defended allowing their buildings to be used by unions after concerns that this goes against official guidance.

Remains of Hurricane Gonzalo to cause strong winds across Oxfordshire this week

Oxford Mail: Wild winds headed towards Cornwall

12:09pm Saturday 18th October 2014

Strong winds will hit Oxfordshire on Tuesday as the remains of Hurricane Gonzalo hits the UK.

Comments (24)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree