Oxford MailMethven announces his vision for United (From Oxford Mail)

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Methven announces his vision for United

Oxford Mail: Charlie Methven says his consortium's first priority is to clear  United's debt Charlie Methven says his consortium's first priority is to clear United's debt

Charlie Methven says the first priority of his consortium, should they take over Oxford United, would be to clear the debt and invest in the playing squad.

Although it would appear Methven’s group of Oxfordshire businessmen may not be front-runners to take over the U’s, they yesterday made their intentions clear after submitting a formal offer for the club.

A rival consortium headed by Mark Ashton and Darryl Eales is understood to be in advanced talks with United owner Ian Lenagan.

Methven was philosophical about what may happen, but said his group – which was given a huge boost with the backing of wealthy businessman and United fan Stewart Donald – had a clear strategy.

“Ultimately, what will be will be,” he said.

“But our bid comes from people whose commitment to the club is unquestionable.

“The final decision is entirely up to Ian Lenagan, but he has always said that he will do what’s best for Oxford United and its supporters.

“We believe that if we were successful, our plan would ensure that happens.”

Central to any takeover would be the U’s owning their ground, but investment into the playing side is also crucial.

Methven added: “We do not believe Oxford United should be saddled with any debt.

“It is a business turning over £3.5m a year, so the first thing would be to make sure it is debt free.

“We would inject a significant amount into the playing side of the club in order to deliver a squad that we believe could justify expectations of achieving.

“It could be that we invest £3m of equity into the playing side over the next two years.

“We would obviously discuss with the manager what needs to be done, but with the club losing £1m a year, those figures would mean that around £500,000 could be added to the playing budget for each season.”

As revealed in yesterday’s Oxford Mail, there is potential to move the club to a new site at Water Eaton.

This is the preferred outcome for Methven, but he would not rule out staying at the Kassam Stadium.

“What is clear is that Oxford United must own their own stadium,” he said.

“There are two options for this.

“One is to acquire the Kassam Stadium, and it would be no disaster if this happened.

“However, we believe that Water Eaton presents a huge opportunity.”

The support of Donald, whose Bridle Insurance company were United’s shirt sponsors from 2010-13, provided Methven’s consortium with a huge lift.

“The backing of the Donald family is immense,” Methven commented.

“They are massive Oxford United fans who have given us their commitment.

“They have the finances and have agreed to help us.”

Since first going public with their interest last week, Methven confirmed that no further discussions had taken place with Lenagan, who is still refusing to break his silence.

“I don’t take this as a negative because any discussions would need a firm, factual basis.

“But we now have this.”

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