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:
9:10am Wednesday 28th January 2015
REPORTS suggesting Tyrone Barnett had rejected personal terms at Oxford United are wide of the mark, says chief executive Mark Ashton.
3:21pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
TOM Newey has signed a contract at Northampton Town until the end of the season, 24 hours after leaving Oxford United.
11:10am Tuesday 27th January 2015
JOE Skarz admitted it took plenty of thought to drop two divisions and join Oxford United, but was swayed by the club’s potential.
11:00am Tuesday 27th January 2015
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5:40pm Monday 26th January 2015
TOM Newey has agreed a settlement to leave Oxford United early by mutual consent.
4:34pm Monday 26th January 2015
JAMES Roberts scored for the second time in three days as Oxford United won 2-1 a development match at West Bromwich Albion.
12:10pm Monday 26th January 2015
OXFORD United have had a transfer fee accepted by Peterborough for striker Tyrone Barnett.
11:00am Monday 26th January 2015
WATCH the goals from Oxford United's 2-2 draw with Exeter City, where James Roberts scored a stoppage-time equaliser at the Kassam Stadium.
9:30am Monday 26th January 2015
JAMES Roberts said it was a huge relief to get off the mark in front of Oxford United’s home fans and admitted his superb equaliser was down to pure instinct.