IAN Lenagan enjoyed his two-year spell as chairman of Oxford United, but admitted it was tough.
After yesterday handing over the day-to-day running of the club to Darryl Eales and Mark Ashton, the U’s joint-owner said there had been plenty of good times during his tenure.
But United’s failure to reach the play-offs last season was a huge low, and Lenagan conceded a delay in appointing a permanent successor to Chris Wilder may have contributed to their downfall.
However, the 68-year-old does not regret his decision to appoint Mickey Lewis as caretaker manager.
“It has taken its strain, of course it has,” he said.
“But there are the compensations because it has been a lot of fun.
“It was not a lot of fun at the end of last season, but we’ve had some good times.
“I have particularly enjoyed the young players coming through.
“Whether with Gary Waddock or now Michael Appleton, there is a belief that squad development is the future for Oxford United and I am very proud that I have forced that through over the last two years. That will continue.”
He added: “We are talking here almost as if I’m going, but I’m certainly not.
“The fact I am now on the Football League and FA board was one of the key factors in now needing a new chairman and chief executive and for me to focus on the stadium bid.”
When Wilder quit United at the end of January, the side looked nailed on for a top-seven finish, with the possibility of automatic promotion.
However, a poor run of form saw Lewis replaced by Gary Waddock.
But his arrival did little to halt the slide as United dropped down the league to finish eighth.
“Whether with Mickey Lewis or a replacement manager I thought we would get to the play-offs,” Lenagan said. “So did almost everybody else.
“Do I take responsibility for a two or three-week delay? Yes, but that’s all.
“I would have made the decision to appoint Mickey Lewis as an interim manager again, but it didn’t work out. That’s life.
“Sometimes you fail and I don’t mind occasionally failing. You can’t get it 100 per cent right.
“But I have to say that there has been nobody prepared to put in as much time or money as me and my two sons have.
“We are appreciated by the vast majority of Oxford United fans.”
- Related stories
- It's all change at Oxford United as Eales, Ashton and Appleton come in and Waddock is sacked
- Disappointed rivals now backing United for the future
- New United chairman Eales says to the fans: My door is open
- Chief exec Ashton's priority is improving United's squad
Latest United news:
9:45pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015
GEORGE Baldock rescued Oxford United with a late strike which earned a draw against Morecambe at the Kassam Stadium.
9:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Armand Gnanduillet is available to make his Oxford United debut against Morecambe tonight after joining on loan until the end of the season.
9:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015
MICHAEL Collins believes tonight's clash is the most important of Oxford United's season as they attempt to open the gap on the battle at the bottom with a home victory against Morecambe.
5:00pm Monday 2nd March 2015
OXFORD United have strengthened their attacking options before tomorrow's clash with Morecambe by signing Armand Gnanduillet on loan.
10:55am Monday 2nd March 2015
WATCH the key moments as Oxford United stood firm to claim a goalless draw at Fratton Park.
9:30am Monday 2nd March 2015
BOSS Michael Appleton hailed a new-found trust with his Oxford United players as they delivered a disciplined performance to claim a point with a goalless draw at Portsmouth.
9:00am Monday 2nd March 2015
RYAN Clarke was thrilled to preserve his perfect record against Matt Tubbs on the way to a hard-fought clean sheet at Fratton Park.
8:40am Monday 2nd March 2015
JAKE Wright was delighted to shut out what he felt was one of the best attacks in Sky Bet League Two as Oxford United drew 0-0 at Portsmouth.