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.”
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Latest United news:
10:00pm Tuesday 21st October 2014
DANNY Hylton scored twice in 109 seconds as Oxford United came from behind to claim their first away league win in an enthralling game at Sixfields.
3:51pm Tuesday 21st October 2014
MATT Bevans could miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery yesterday.
9:00am Tuesday 21st October 2014
Michael Appleton has urged Oxford United to make the most of an opportunity this week to end their wait for an away win.
8:00am Tuesday 21st October 2014
Michael Collins says Oxford United’s thrashing on their last away trip will act as a powerful motivation to get a positive result at Sixfields tonight.
10:42am Monday 20th October 2014
OXFORD United bounced back to form with a 2-0 win against Tranmere Rovers at the Kassam Stadium.
9:30am Monday 20th October 2014
ALFIE Potter hailed a “perfect day” as he came off the bench to score and give Oxford United a much-needed victory over Tranmere Rovers.
8:20am Monday 20th October 2014
JAKE Wright praised the performance of debutant Tareiq Holmes-Dennis in Oxford United’s win over Tranmere Rovers.
6:30am Monday 20th October 2014
MICHAEL Appleton said his selection on Saturday should alert Oxford United’s players that they have to perform or face being dropped.
5:56pm Saturday 18th October 2014