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New Oxford United chairman tells fans: My door is open

Darryl Eales (left), Mark Ashton and Ian Lenagan walk out of the Kassam Stadium tunnel after yesterday’s press conference

Darryl Eales (left), Mark Ashton and Ian Lenagan walk out of the Kassam Stadium tunnel after yesterday’s press conference

First published in Headlines Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

NEW Oxford United chairman Darryl Eales has a simple solution for any supporters sceptical of his intentions – just ask him.

The prospect of a private equity expert from Birmingham suddenly becoming interested in the club raised suspicion in some quarters.

But after acquiring a significant stake in the club, described as between 30 and 50 per cent, he was keen to make assurances and spoke frankly about what motivated the move.

Eales said he wants to be part of United’s long-term plan, which means putting money in, rather than taking it out.

“You read some blogs talking about ‘is he going to take money out of the club?’,” he said.

“I’m thinking ‘if I wanted to make sensible investments you wouldn’t choose football’.

“I would say to supporters, ‘come and speak to me’.

“If you want to know my views on something, come and ask me because I’m new to all this, but I think people who have worked for me will say what you see is what you get.

“I don’t have agendas, politics I really dislike and I’m completely open.”

He added: “I don’t regard football as a business, but it’s got to make sense economically.

“I’m not looking to make money out of this, but I’m not looking to lose money either.

“If we started earning a profit as a business – and clearly it’s loss-making at the moment – I’m very happy for 100 per cent of that to be reinvested in the club.

“You can be the judge of this, but I don’t think I’ve got a big ego, so I’m not doing this for a big ego trip.

“I’m doing this to test myself in a different arena – in the sport I love.”

Top of the 53-year-old’s ‘to do’ list is make funds available to help Michael Appleton, who has replaced Gary Waddock as head coach, strengthen the squad.

Discussions have already taken place with incoming chief executive Mark Ashton, but it will not be a spending spree.

He said: “I’ve said to Mark, within sensible bounds, tell me what you need from a playing perspective and I’ll flex it.

“That’s not millions – I might say ‘you’ve got an extra £250,000 to spend’.”

Patient progress is the aim of the game for the new chairman, who briefly considered getting involved with Birmingham City 18 months ago before deciding against investing in the club he supports.

Eales is confident United have what it takes to move up the football pyramid, but stopped short of setting a deadline.

He said: “Realistically, to me this should be a sustainable Championship club.

“That’s what we’ve talked about, but what I think is foolhardy is to say we’re going to do that within three or five years.

“That’s just your inspiration, and all our efforts will be on trying to achieve that.”

VIDEO: Highlights from Oxford United's win at Newport County

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

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WATCH Kemar Roofe's wonder goal as Oxford United finished the season with a 1-0 win at Newport County.

Who was Oxford United's man of the match at Newport?

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Newport County 0, Oxford Utd 1 (Roofe 30)

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

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A STUNNING strike from Kemar Roofe ensured Oxford United finished the season on a high with a hard-fought win at ten-man Newport County.

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Kemar Roofe has thanked Oxford United for giving him the chance to play the best football of his career.

Oxford United's young guns give boss Michael Appleton his biggest boost

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OXFORD United’s emerging crop of young players have given Michael Appleton the most significant bonus during his first season in charge.

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ALEX MacDonald is set to receive a medal for the part he played in Burton Albion’s promotion campaign – and he plans to use it as motivation to win another next season with Oxford United.

Rising stars shine brightly at Oxford United's awards night

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WHILE Danny Hylton’s hat-trick of prizes grabbed the limelight, Oxford United’s Annual Awards Evening also recognised two of their young guns.

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