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Oxford United supporters' group call for answers
OXFORD United supporters' trust OxVox have this morning released a statement urging anyone interested in taking over the club to make clear their intentions.
Two consortiums, one led by Mark Ashton and the other by Charlie Methven, are in discussions with U's owner Ian Lenagan about a deal.
Ashton's Birmingham-based group are believed to be the front-runners, but neither they or Lenagan have spoken publicly or responded to OxVox's requests.
The group have now issued a plea for clarity in the situation.
Their full statement read: "OxVox is calling on Oxford United and all parties that are interested in acquiring a stake in the club, to come forward and discuss their plans with the Supporters Trust and our entire fanbase.
“Despite the lack of communication from the board of Oxford United and a refusal to respond to the requests of the OxVox committee, we invite all those involved, including all consortia, to be open with their business plans and outline their vision for the club.
“We have recently been approached by the consortium led by local businessman Charlie Methven and we’ve invited him to provide further details about his plans so that we can relay this information to our fanbase.
“While we do not expect to be part of any confidential offers and commercial information of any private transaction, we do expect that fans are provided as much information as possible.
“Despite several attempts to contact Mark Ashton, whom we can confirm is in advanced discussions over potential ownership, he has refused to enter into any dialogue with OxVox despite the Asset of Community Value being placed on the Kassam Stadium.
“The stadium ownership remains a key component for the medium to long-term prospects of Oxford United and any agreement to purchase the stadium would trigger the right to bid. We have always been clear on what would happen in this situation.
“We would seek detailed information on the bid and then make recommendations to our membership to vote to either remove or activate the right to bid.
“We have also been very vocal that in order to recommend that the right to bid is removed, the club would have to own the stadium itself rather than a subsidiary company. At the very least the stadium would have to be held in a trust.
“If a subsidiary company owned the stadium there might be short-term wins such as the club playing at the site rent free, or receive additional revenue, but this could be removed at the whim of any future owner.
“The only way to protect Oxford United’s long-term prosperity is for it to own the ground itself. We would only advise the membership to remove the right to bid if these criteria were met.
“Finally, should the club change ownership then we expect the new owners will ask for support from our loyal fanbase.
“We therefore once again ask you to break your silence and not treat our supporters with contempt by refusing to speak to them.
“We ask all Oxford United fans to unite behind the club staff, manager and players and to show those watching that we are united in our aims for success on the field and for the safe-guarding of our football club off it.”
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