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.”
6:04pm Tuesday 13th October 2015
CALLUM O’Dowda played 90 minutes as Republic of Ireland Under 21s lost 1-0 to Italy in a Euro 2017 qualifier.
5:10pm Tuesday 13th October 2015
Patrick Hoban scored all three goals as Oxford United's development side won 3-1 at Aston Villa.
2:36pm Tuesday 13th October 2015
Oxford United defender Freddie Grant has been loaned out to Farnborough for a month.
2:47pm Tuesday 13th October 2015
Oxford United will be backed by a sold out away end for their Sky Bet League Two clash against Leyton Orient on Saturday.
9:30am Tuesday 13th October 2015
Oxford United have made their best start to a season since returning to the Football League in 2010 and Johnny Mullins believes the squad are better-equipped to last the distance than in their previous spell at the sharp end.
12:20pm Monday 12th October 2015
A THRILLED Michael Appleton described Oxford United’s 1-0 win against AFC Wimbledon as the biggest result of their campaign.
11:50am Monday 12th October 2015
WATCH the key moments from Oxford United's 1-0 win against AFC Wimbledon in Sky Bet League Two.
11:30am Monday 12th October 2015
GEORGE Baldock joked he would give finishing tips to older brother Sam after bagging the only goal of the game to give Oxford United a fourth win in 12 days.
9:20am Monday 12th October 2015
JORDAN Graham saluted a moment of magic from George Baldock which earned Oxford United all three points against AFC Wimbledon.