Report this comment
  • "Appleton as manager! - he has a 25% win ratio (19 wins form 79 games) and has achieved nothing at his former clubs apart from getting sacked. If you thought Waddock was bad you've seen nothing yet."
  • 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

UPDATE: Darryl Eales to become chairman of Oxford United as Waddock replaced as head coach + read the full statement

ANNOUNCEMENT: Ian Lenagan, centre, with Darryl Eales to his left and Mark Ashton to his right

ANNOUNCEMENT: Ian Lenagan, centre, with Darryl Eales to his left and Mark Ashton to his right

First published in Headlines
Last updated

Businessman Darryl Eales will become chairman of Oxford United.

In a statement released today, current chairman Ian Lenagan revealed Mr Eales was a new investor and shareholder at the club.

Each of the Lenagan Family and Mr Eales now has more than 30% of the shares of Oxford United Ltd but both with less than 50%.

A new board of directors has been set up with Mr Eales taking up the position of chairman, Mark Ashton appointed as chief executive and Ian Lenagan taking board responsibility for the stadium development project.

Head coach Gary Waddock has been replaced by Michael Appleton - appointed by Mr Ashton who said he wanted to work with his own man as head coach and had worked with Mr Appleton before.

Appleton has previously managed Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers.

Mr Lenagan's two sons, Simon and Adrian, have stepped down from the board of directors.

He revealed discussions had been ongoing for the past year but became crucial when the stadium development became "time-critical".

Ian Lenagan said: "Darryl is a football fan and a very successful businessman with, of importance, significant commercial experience.

"Darryl and I share the same personal and business style and have an identical approach to the strategies required for the ongoing success of Oxford United. We also have precisely the same ambitions for the club."

Lenagan, talking about the rival bid from Charlie Methven’s consortium, said: “We did finally get a bid from them yesterday, but that was conditional on us having done the deal on the stadium already.

“Darryl is quite prepare to take the risk and move forward.

“Charlie and his group are nice people and they are welcome to come and talk to us if they wish to do so and if they wish to inject further finances to make things go quicker, of course we’d be delighted to speak.”

Stewart Donald, the wealthy businessman behind Mr Methven's bid, said: “I am hoping that this will be good news and that Darryl Eales is in it for football rather than making money.

“If their intentions are similar to Charlie Methven’s vision then that will be great news but we are going to have to let time tell.”

New chairman Mr Eales said he considered himself the "custodian" of the club.

He said: "I would like to add that I have been impressed with everything I have seen at the club over the past months and I am delighted to be involved in conjunction with Ian Lenagan in driving Oxford United even faster along the already-defined strategy to achieve its ambitions.

"I look forward to meeting many of the fans, staff and partners of the club in the immediate future."

Oxfordshire businessman Charlie Methven has said he is disappointed that his alternative bid wasn't successful but said he hopes the U's go from strength to strength. 

Read the whole statement in full:

A statement from Oxford United Chairman, Ian Lenagan:

There has been much speculation over the past few weeks that the Lenagan family was selling its shares in Oxford United and moving on. That is not the case. What we have been doing is planning ahead for the next stage of development of Oxford United.

The past two years since I took over as chairman on July, 13 2012 have seen many advances including paying off of debts, financial stabilisation, recruitment and bedding in of a highly capable sales and marketing team, the real implementation of a young player development strategy, a better match-day experience and involvement of fans generally, a good relationship with the supporters trust, OxVox, and the development of a much better relationship with Firoz Kassam as owner of the stadium and conference centre.

The board of directors was convinced that an excellent base had been firmly established for the future success of the club.

However, the disappointment of not achieving the play-offs at the end of last season was an indication that even greater investment was perhaps needed to get up into League 1.

Of even more importance however was the growing certainty that – with the radical changes likely in the planning landscape for Oxford in the next 12 months and the opportunity which that could present to Oxford United finally to own its own stadium – it was vital at this crucial time to plan ambitiously to take advantage of these opportunities or to lose them.

That meant a further significant investment in financial and management terms;
financially to fund increased running cost and capital investment in a stadium project and, in management terms, to both run the club on a day-to-day basis whilst also devoting dedicated and experienced resource exclusively to the Stadium Project.

It was decided that this was the time to bring additional financial and management resources into the club alongside the Lenagan family in order to ensure this one-time opportunity would not be missed.

Consequently, I am delighted to announce the arrival of a new investor and shareholder in Oxford United, Darryl Eales, to stand alongside the Lenagan Family bringing significant extra financial investment and management skills into Oxford United.

Darryl is a football fan and a very successful businessman with, of importance, significant commercial experience. Until May of this year Darryl was CEO of LDC, the private equity part of Lloyds Banking Group, stepping down following 11 years in the role to concentrate on his own private interests including, particularly, Oxford United.

Darryl and I share the same personal and business style and have an identical approach to the strategies required for the ongoing success of Oxford United. We also have precisely the same ambitions for the club.

Discussions have been in process between the parties for over 12 months but accelerated
two months ago when the stadium development opportunities became time-critical.

Each of the Lenagan Family and Darryl Eales now has more than 30% of the shares of Oxford United Ltd but both with less than 50%.

The Football League has indicated formally no objection to the new shareholdings and acceptability of all persons under the Owners and Directors Test and hence this announcement is unconditional.

A new board of directors is now in place with Darryl taking up the position of chairman, Mark Ashton appointed as chief executive taking over responsibility for day-to-day management of the board’s existing strategy and Ian Lenagan taking Board responsibility for the Stadium Development project.

My two sons Simon and Adrian Lenagan step down from the board to concentrate on their own businesses having spent thousands of unpaid hours working on behalf of Oxford United. The board thanks them formally for their contributions to the club.

A change in personnel as a consequence of this new shareholding and management structure is the replacement of Gary Waddock by Michael Appleton since Mark Ashton wishes to have with him his own person as head coach, having worked with Michael Appleton previously.

We would like to thank Gary for his effort and contribution through the past months on behalf of Oxford United and to make it clear that this change does not in any way reflect on his performance or capability as head coach.

I believe strongly that this new shareholding structure with two major investors now involved is an an even stronger position for Oxford United than before and bodes well for the club’s future ambitions. I look forward to the start of the new season and the opportunity personally on behalf of the new board to focus on the Stadium Development opportunity.

Statement by new Chairman, Darryl Eales:

Ian Lenagan has explained fully and well the rationale behind my entry into Oxford United.

I would like to add that I have been impressed with everything I have seen at the club over the past months and I am delighted to be involved in conjunction with Ian Lenagan in driving Oxford United even faster along the already-defined strategy to achieve its ambitions.

I look forward to meeting many of the fans, staff and partners of the club in the immediate future.

A lot of people talk about ownership of a football club. I prefer to think of my involvement as that of a custodian of Oxford United with long-term intentions and ambitions which I share with the fans and with Ian.

Mark Ashton takes over all day-to-day activities of the club as chief executive from Monday. I know there has been some disquiet at the possible entry of new people into a settled and positive environment at Oxford United but be assured that we intend to continue in precisely the same way as before. Mark, in particular, is a highly-capable young man who has learned much from his experiences in running other clubs and I ask that he be supported fully and with enthusiasm by Oxford United fans.

Personally, I am so pleased to be involved with Oxford United directly in the management of a football club after years as an active football fan and I look forward to being a major contributor in a strong and successful future for Oxford United.

  • Our top stories:

Judge: South Oxfordshire arsons may remain mystery + dramatic CCTV video from inside council

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 30th May 2015

A JUDGE has said we will never find out why an arsonist started a series of “devastating” fires in South Oxfordshire, as he sectioned him under the Mental Health Act.

More than 250 Didcot power station protesters have now set up camp

Oxford Mail:

2:43pm Saturday 30th May 2015

More than 250 environmental activists are now camped near Didcot Power Station.

Fans keen to join Oxford United on their pre-season trip to Austria

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 30th May 2015

Oxford United’s pre-season preparations have been boosted by the confirmation of a training camp and a match in Austria.

Fundraiser attempts to break space hopping world record

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 30th May 2015

A CHARITY fundraiser hopes she will finally be hopping over the finishing line in a world record-breaking attempt.

Didcot murders: Community creates a trail of ribbon tributes to its three murder victims

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 30th May 2015

DOZENS of floral tributes have now been left outside the Didcot home where a family were murdered.

Businessman faces jail over revenge arson on best man

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 30th May 2015

A BUSINESSMAN who started a fire that forced people to jump from windows has been told he will receive a long prison sentence for his “appalling” crime.

Oxfordshire named most innovative county in new report

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 30th May 2015

OXFORDSHIRE has been named as the most innovative part of the UK, beating old rivals Cambridge into second place.

Flooded out pensioners given only £25 a week in expenses

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 30th May 2015

TWO pensioners flooded out of their home in Normandy Crescent have been given just £25 a week by Thames Water to cover their expenses.

County police and fire service could share sites to help save cash

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Saturday 30th May 2015

POLICE and fire service staff could share office buildings under new plans put forward for “blue light” services in the county.

Didcot power tower demolition confirmed for 2016 as protesters arrive

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Saturday 30th May 2015

PROTESTERS started to descend on Didcot yesterday ahead of a demonstration against government plans to build 30 new gas-fired power stations.

‘Affordable NHS housing will help to ease staff shortages’ says chief nurse

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Saturday 30th May 2015

AFFORDABLE housing for workers at one of the county’s hospital trusts is one of its biggest issues as it battles staff shortages, a chief nurse has warned.

Aerial troupe perform ‘striking’ display at Oxford Castle Quarter

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Saturday 30th May 2015

THE historic buildings of Oxford Castle Quarter were lit up for a breathtaking display by French aerial dancers – and that was just the rehearsal.

Rising cost of delayed tower blocks revamp will top £20m

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 29th May 2015

A MULTI-million pound project to refurbish Oxford’s five tower blocks could be delayed by almost a year.

Oxford University is set to appoint its first female vice-chancellor

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 29th May 2015

THE first female vice-chancellor of Oxford University has been nominated by committee members and could take up her post next January.

Comments (27)

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