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.”
5:30pm Wednesday 26th August 2015
MICHAEL Collins scored a late consolation as Oxford United's development team lost 4-1 at Bournemouth.
12:11pm Wednesday 26th August 2015
OXFORD United winger Callum O'Dowda has been selected by Republic of Ireland Under 21s for two games next month.
9:30am Wednesday 26th August 2015
OXFORD United felt they had cause for complaint over the goal which knocked them out of the Capital One Cup at Sheffield Wednesday last night.
9:42pm Tuesday 25th August 2015
OXFORD United's 13-game unbeaten run came to an end as they bowed out of the Capital One Cup against Sheffield Wednesday.
9:30am Tuesday 25th August 2015
RYAN Taylor has added incentive to open his Oxford United goalscoring account tonight as the striker takes on boyhood team Sheffield Wednesday.
9:20am Tuesday 25th August 2015
MICHAEL Appleton expects Oxford United to create chances after watching Sheffield Wednesday’s recent games.
2:30pm Monday 24th August 2015
OXFORD United have work to do on the training ground to solve their unwanted habit of conceding the opening goal, according to centre back Johnny Mullins.
9:30am Monday 24th August 2015
MICHAEL Appleton admitted Oxford United rode their luck after a “rubbish” start, but was pleased with another gritty comeback to earn a 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town.
7:40am Monday 24th August 2015
DANNY Rose praised Oxford United for keeping their discipline in a fractious finish to the 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town.