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.”
9:30am Saturday 4th July 2015
Darryl Eales says the only big regret of his first year in charge at Oxford United was the takeover was not completed sooner.
4:30pm Friday 3rd July 2015
Oxford United’s pre-season friendly against Coventry City will now take place at Nuneaton Town on Saturday 1st August (3pm).
9:30am Friday 3rd July 2015
A YEAR on from stepping down as Oxford United chairman, Ian Lenagan is convinced he did the right thing in selling a controlling stake to Darryl Eales.
9:00am Friday 3rd July 2015
RYAN Clarke has paid tribute to Oxford United's supporters after his six-year stay at the club ended yesterday by mutual consent.
4:14pm Thursday 2nd July 2015
RYAN Clarke has admitted it is a sad day but he leaves Oxford United with "amazing memories" after six years at the club.
1:00pm Thursday 2nd July 2015
OXFORD United have received a major financial injection with lifelong supporter Stewart Donald set to acquire a ten per cent stake in the club.
9:30am Wednesday 1st July 2015
GEORGE Baldock described the decision join Oxford United as a “no-brainer” given the determination the club had shown to bring him back.
4:00pm Tuesday 30th June 2015
GEORGE Baldock has agreed to return to Oxford United on a season-long loan deal from MK Dons.
12:00pm Tuesday 30th June 2015
OXFORD United’s game at Bristol Rovers in September has been selected for live coverage by Sky Sports.