The leader of a group of Oxfordshire businessmen who have launched a takeover bid for Oxford United, says they have the financial muscle to take the club forward.
Charlie Methven confirmed last night that talks have taken place between his consortium and U’s owner Ian Lenagan.
However, the United supporter doubted they were the frontrunners, with a rival group, led by Mark Ashton, believed to still be in pole position to take control.
Methven, who has been working in an advisory role with the U’s, says his group have spoken to Lenagan and will provide him with an “alternative option”.
“We approached the owner about a month ago and indicated that if the club came up for sale, we would be interested,” Methven said.
“We held conversations that were both friendly and constructive.
“Those conversations have dried up in recent weeks, I am not sure exactly why, but it might indicate that somebody is in a stronger position than us.”
He added: “In previous years when Oxford United have been in difficulties, there has only been one offer on the table.
“I do not believe this is healthy, and so we are keen to provide an alternative option.
“We have raised significant funds, and feel the amount would be sufficient.
“However, we could have more funds as a back-up if needed.
“We have given a firm indication we would be interested, and believe Ian was grateful for that interest.”
The situation has arisen due to speculation the United chairman is unwilling to continue pouring money into a club which has lost more than £1m for two successive years.
The latest available accounts, which cover the 12 months up to the end of June 2013, show Lenagan’s total investment, through his Woodstock Partners Ltd company, was in excess of £6m.
Methven is hoping his group’s affinity with Oxford United could work in their favour.
“I have, and remain, a major supporter of what the Lenagans have done,” Methven said.
“They have put a number of very good things in place at the club, and I was concerned – and still am – that whoever comes in, if they are an unknown quantity, won’t be the best people to complete those things.”
Methven was appointed as a trustee of the Oxford United Youth and Community Sports Trust in May 2011 and last year played a key role in setting up fans’ group the Yellow Army.
His name was revealed in a statement from supporters’ trust OxVox, whose calls for Lenagan to break his silence and put fans in the picture of developments have fallen on deaf ears.
The U’s owner has still to return any calls from the Oxford Mail or reply to any of our requests for an interview.
Our top stories:
8:30am Tuesday 13th October 2015
THE county is being “left in the dark” over how to help with the Syrian refugee crisis.
3:50pm Tuesday 13th October 2015
A FREE bus service is being set up from Carterton to Bampton so residents can access the post office.
9:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
TRIBUTES have poured in for a “beautiful, brave and determined” teenage cancer sufferer who passed away last week.
8:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
SERIOUSLY injured patients in Oxfordshire will soon be able to be treated by air ambulance crews at night following the launch of the charity’s new £4.5m helicopter.
7:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
A NEW scheme could land young people in the county a career with Oxford United Football Club.
6:30am Tuesday 13th October 2015
A CAMPAIGN to recruit social care workers is to be launched to combat soaring demand for home care.
6:00am Tuesday 13th October 2015
THE site of the former Friar pub in Marston could become student flats as a seven-year saga nears its end.
6:00am Monday 12th October 2015
THE NAME expected to be given to the main street in Oxford’s biggest housing estate for 100 years has led to concerns its neighbours will be left behind.
8:30am Monday 12th October 2015
A TEN-year high in cycling accidents has been blamed on the state of Oxfordshire’s roads, with fears growing that cash to repair them could be hit by fresh budget cuts.
10:45pm Sunday 11th October 2015
Two British troops from RAF Benson have been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
2:02pm Monday 12th October 2015
A mum has apologised to the family of the man she stabbed and killed.
12:34pm Monday 12th October 2015
A new specialist air ambulance will be unveiled in the county today as Thames Valley Air Ambulance launches night-flying operations.
9:20am Monday 12th October 2015
Firefighters tackled a blaze inovling a wood-burning boiler in Ducklington last night.
9:10am Monday 12th October 2015
Passengers are having to endure delays to train services across Oxfordshire this morning.