DARRYL Eales says his decision to retain ownership of Oxford United was the right thing for the football club.

The U’s chairman yesterday confirmed he had ended takeover talks with Uruguayan businessman Juan Sartori.

And Mr Eales, who has developed a deep emotional bond with the club since taking over in July 2014, is excited about the future under head coach Michael Appleton as United look to mount a Sky Bet League One promotion challenge.

The Oxford Mail exclusively revealed online yesterday the U’s chairman had rejected an offer from Mr Sartori to buy the club.

Mr Eales said he could easily have ‘cashed in’ on the deal, but says he has made a ‘personal decision’ that was ‘right for Oxford United Football Club’.

It ends three months of speculation over who would be in control of the U’s next season.

And Mr Eales says he hopes attention can now be fully turned to the club’s on-field matters.

“I have always maintained the football club is not for sale,” Mr Eales said.

“But I cannot stop people from enquiring about it.

“However, for a variety of reasons I said to Juan Sartori that I thought we should call it quits.

“Hopefully that stops all the speculation.”

Mr Sartori made a firm offer to the United chief to buy the club last month and also met stadium landlord Firoz Kassam about trying to negotiate a deal to obtain the ground.

However, his advances have been rejected by Mr Eales, who says he is fully committed to building a team capable of challenging for honours.

“I met Juan twice and there was an offer tabled a while ago that I rejected,” he said.

“I have to do what I believe is right for Oxford United Football Club.

“If this was just to do with me cashing in money, I could have done it.

“But I have made a personal decision.

“I love Oxford United Football Club. We have made great strides during my time here and I am very excited about working with Michael Appleton to build a squad that is hopefully capable of challenging for promotion next season.”