City FC chief wants to copy Barcelona model

5:00am Friday 14th March 2014

By Dan Robinson

THE owner of Oxford City FC says he is basing his sporting model on world-class clubs such as AC Milan and Barcelona.

American businessman Thomas Guerriero wants to create a unified sports brand like some of the top European clubs.

He bought City last April and he also owns the former Oxford Hoops basketball club, which has been renamed Oxford City.

The 37-year-old said: “For Oxford City football and basketball clubs we’re looking to get people to take notice of the club as a whole.

“If you look at clubs like Barcelona or AC Milan, who have their handball, basketball and hockey teams, we have to aspire to have strong professional teams in these sports so we’re not just football focused.

“Obviously, they are in a different point of their existence than we are, but they are the type of club anyone should aspire to.”

City are second bottom of Skrill League North, three points adrift of safety but with two games in hand over fourth-bottom Gloucester City.

Mr Guerriero said: “The team that’s currently playing for us is the team that I inherited.

“We’re making the best we can with the players we have, but we have some games in hand.

“I have faith in all the people in the organisation that we will be OK.”

He said that, should the worst happen and City are relegated, the club’s plans will not change.

Mr Guerriero said: “We intend to be at Oxford City for many years to come.

“It’s my life, I live it and I’m working around the clock.

“Things never usually go perfectly straight from A to B.

“We love challenges and the opportunity to overcome them. We have several games left and we’re very confident we will finish strongly.

“If we do go down that doesn’t change our business plan, just like if we go up. Slow and steady wins the race.

“We have long-term goals and we’re focused every day to achieve them. I’m only 37 and when I take on a project like this, it’s not a case of just walking in and changing it straight away.”

Mr Guerriero will be in the UK next week to watch two of City’s matches.

Asked by the Oxford Mail if he has plans to invest in the club, Mr Guerriero replied “yes”, but refused to elaborate.

He said: “We’re very excited about what’s about to happen but I won’t talk about it yet.”


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