NEW Oxford United chairman Darryl Eales has a simple solution for any supporters sceptical of his intentions – just ask him.
The prospect of a private equity expert from Birmingham suddenly becoming interested in the club raised suspicion in some quarters.
But after acquiring a significant stake in the club, described as between 30 and 50 per cent, he was keen to make assurances and spoke frankly about what motivated the move.
Eales said he wants to be part of United’s long-term plan, which means putting money in, rather than taking it out.
“You read some blogs talking about ‘is he going to take money out of the club?’,” he said.
“I’m thinking ‘if I wanted to make sensible investments you wouldn’t choose football’.
“I would say to supporters, ‘come and speak to me’.
“If you want to know my views on something, come and ask me because I’m new to all this, but I think people who have worked for me will say what you see is what you get.
“I don’t have agendas, politics I really dislike and I’m completely open.”
He added: “I don’t regard football as a business, but it’s got to make sense economically.
“I’m not looking to make money out of this, but I’m not looking to lose money either.
“If we started earning a profit as a business – and clearly it’s loss-making at the moment – I’m very happy for 100 per cent of that to be reinvested in the club.
“You can be the judge of this, but I don’t think I’ve got a big ego, so I’m not doing this for a big ego trip.
“I’m doing this to test myself in a different arena – in the sport I love.”
Top of the 53-year-old’s ‘to do’ list is make funds available to help Michael Appleton, who has replaced Gary Waddock as head coach, strengthen the squad.
Discussions have already taken place with incoming chief executive Mark Ashton, but it will not be a spending spree.
He said: “I’ve said to Mark, within sensible bounds, tell me what you need from a playing perspective and I’ll flex it.
“That’s not millions – I might say ‘you’ve got an extra £250,000 to spend’.”
Patient progress is the aim of the game for the new chairman, who briefly considered getting involved with Birmingham City 18 months ago before deciding against investing in the club he supports.
Eales is confident United have what it takes to move up the football pyramid, but stopped short of setting a deadline.
He said: “Realistically, to me this should be a sustainable Championship club.
“That’s what we’ve talked about, but what I think is foolhardy is to say we’re going to do that within three or five years.
“That’s just your inspiration, and all our efforts will be on trying to achieve that.”
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Latest United news:
6:40am Wednesday 1st October 2014
JAMES Roberts admitted it was extra sweet to score a winner for Oxford United against rivals Swindon Town, even if it came in a behind-closed-doors game.
3:26pm Tuesday 30th September 2014
JAMES Roberts came off the bench to score the winner as Oxford United came from two goals down to win 3-2 against Swindon Town at Roman Way.
9:00am Tuesday 30th September 2014
Oxford United’s position in the table is now a concern for head coach Michael Appleton, who has acknow-ledged it is taking longer than expected to improve results.
8:00am Tuesday 30th September 2014
A lacklustre Oxford United Women suffered a 5-0 thrashing at local rivals Reading, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.
10:30am Monday 29th September 2014
MICHAEL Appleton admitted Oxford United were second best where it really mattered as they lost 2-0 at Luton Town.
10:24am Monday 29th September 2014
OXFORD United slipped back into the bottom two in Sky Bet League Two as they lost 2-0 at Luton Town.
8:10am Monday 29th September 2014
A RUEFUL Tyrone Barnett held his hands up for a missed header which turned out to be the key moment in Oxford United’s defeat.
7:30am Monday 29th September 2014
JOHNNY Mullins was disappointed Oxford United failed to heed the warnings about Luton Town’s fast start as they fell behind in just over a minute, writes DAVID PRITCHARD.
5:05pm Saturday 27th September 2014
OXFORD United's five-game unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt as they crashed to defeat at Luton Town.