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New Oxford United chairman tells fans: My door is open

Darryl Eales (left), Mark Ashton and Ian Lenagan walk out of the Kassam Stadium tunnel after yesterday’s press conference

Darryl Eales (left), Mark Ashton and Ian Lenagan walk out of the Kassam Stadium tunnel after yesterday’s press conference

First published in U's News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

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.”

Who was Oxford United's man of the match against Exeter City?

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Oxford Utd 2 (Hylton 18, Roberts 90+2), Exeter City 2 (Davies 37, Nicholls 87)

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

5:01pm Saturday 24th January 2015

JAMES Roberts struck a stoppage-time equaliser as Oxford United stopped the rot with a draw at home to Exeter City.

Oxford United sign full back Joe Skarz

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OXFORD United have made their first addition of the January transfer window by signing Joe Skarz.

Johnny Mullins backing Oxford United's quality

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Johnny Mullins says Oxford United’s squad have the quality to get themselves out of trouble even without help from new signings.

Plea for noisy salute today to Oxford United fan Keith Pasfield

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8:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

THE KASSAM Stadium will echo to a minute’s applause this afternoon to mark the death of a lifelong U’s fan.

Patrick Hoban in line for Oxford United start as Will Hoskins sits out training

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2:00pm Friday 23rd January 2015

PATRICK Hoban is in the frame for his first Oxford United start tomorrow after Will Hoskins suffered a mild reaction to playing last weekend.

Time's ticking, but lack of new faces not down to Oxford United's position says Mark Ashton

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 23rd January 2015

Oxford United’s failure to secure a signing during the January transfer window has nothing to do with their position in the table, according to chief executive Mark Ashton.

Oxford United boss guarding against becoming distracted by transfer window

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Friday 23rd January 2015

THE search to strengthen the playing squad may have dominated the agenda at Oxford United this week, but Michael Appleton says he has had to be careful to avoid it becoming a distraction.

Sam Long reflects on bittersweet first Oxford United goal

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9:00am Friday 23rd January 2015

IF Sam Long wasn’t aware of how quickly fortunes can change in football before last weekend, he certainly does now.

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