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.”
12:10pm Friday 27th November 2015
THERE have been plenty of highlights at Oxford United this season, but Michael Appleton says there is no time to enjoy them as he seeks to capitalise on an opportunity 12 years in the making.
11:30am Friday 27th November 2015
A JOURNALIST who went undercover to expose football’s slave trade says his task would have been much more difficult without help from Oxford United.
9:30am Friday 27th November 2015
Oxford United took measures to maintain their promotion form ahead of a busy December by making two loan signings from Sky Bet Championship clubs.
9:00am Friday 27th November 2015
PATRICK Hoban says his sudden glut of goals is down to a change in fortune in front of goal rather than a change in approach.
8:30am Friday 27th November 2015
RONNIE Moore says Oxford United’s players have the quality to “frighten the life” out of his Hartlepool United side tomorrow.
4:30pm Thursday 26th November 2015
CHRIS Maguire has become Oxford United’s second loan signing of deadline day.
12:30pm Thursday 26th November 2015
OXFORD United have strengthened their squad ahead of today's loan deadline by signing defender Jordan Evans from Fulham.
10:40am Thursday 26th November 2015
RYAN Taylor is due to see a specialist next week as Oxford United bid to get to the root of his groin problem.
9:00am Thursday 26th November 2015
OXFORD United remain optimistic they will get at least one loan signing across the line before today’s deadline.