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:
6:30pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
A 23-year-old man has been jailed for a year following the death of Long Hanborough man Richard Reed in a car crash last year.
8:30am Thursday 3rd September 2015
AN 880-PUPIL free school in Oxford has been hailed as the beginning of a new solution to the county’s shortage of places.
5:06pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
A JUDGE has postponed sentencing a designer clothing firm over health and safety failures that led to a four-year-old boy being crushed by a 7ft mirror.
5:00pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
A WOMAN who found a hidden camera in the shower of a hotel says she feels disgusted by the incident.
3:28pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
A 34-year-old man has been arrested for aggravated burglary and criminal damage.
1:10pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
A BURST pipe in Banbury is gushing water onto Broughton Road.
1:01pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
A CYCLIST hit a driver with his helmet after a road rage incident near Wallingford.
12:45pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
A radio was stolen from Wilko in Banbury and food and alcohol was taken from a Co-Op in town.
12:34pm Thursday 3rd September 2015
POLICE have released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a series of shoplifting incidents in Wallingford.
11:57am Thursday 3rd September 2015
A MAN and a boy have been charged on suspicion of burglary from a funeral parlour in Wantage.
9:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
AN ANIMAL charity in Oxfordshire has launched an appeal to find a new home for one pet every hour by the end of the year.
8:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
WITH his surname, Jonathan Wynn was never going to settle for second best when he appeared on TV word game Countdown.
6:30am Thursday 3rd September 2015
THE mother of one of the victims of the Bullfinch gang has described £16,500 compensation offered to her daughter as “utterly disgusting.”
6:00am Thursday 3rd September 2015
THE number of complaints upheld by South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) in Oxfordshire plummeted in 2014, despite an overall rise in grievances.