OXFORD United's millionaire landlord has said his relationship with the football club has hit an ‘all time low’.

Firoz Kassam, who owns the Kassam Stadium in which the U’s play, hit back yesterday at claims made by the club at a fans’ forum this weekend.

United owner Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth and managing director Niall McWilliams told supporters on Saturday they were considering alternative venues to play their home matches, largely because of a fraught relationship with the stadium company.

Now Mr Kassam has said the disagreements have been brought on by the club, and until they pay him the money he believes his company is owed – a figure he claims is in excess of £600,000 – there will be no chance of a reconciliation.

He told the Oxford Mail yesterday: “Some of the things people have said and the figures quoted – well they are talking out of their backsides.

“They spoke about there being a £1m rent. That is totally wrong. People know the rental figure – they pay just over £300,000 a year to play at the stadium.

“On top of that there is a service charge, because obviously they have to pay for using gas, electricity, water etc. but the club have disputed this and we have been in arbitration for a long time now.

"During that period I have not been paid any of the service charge I am owed, which is now more than £600,000.

“No businessman would allow that sort of a figure to go unpaid, and until I receive that money, I will be sticking 100 per cent to the licence agreement we have.

“I am not prepared to be flexible any more. It’s their choice.”

Asked whether he felt the relationship between club and stadium had hit an all-time low, Mr Kassam replied: “Absolutely.”

It is a view shared by United's Thai businessman chairman Mr Thanakarnjanasuth, who took the club over in February.

He told fans at Saturday's forum: “We have a few problems between the stadium company and our club.

“There’s an agreement made over 10 years ago between us and the landlord.

“Three years ago, [former owner] Darryl Eales questioned it and why we were paying for things that were not in the document.

“The thing has become more and more difficult, the relationship has become worse.

“I travelled to Monaco with Niall to meet with Mr Kassam and try to compromise.

“We were very poorly treated by the stadium company. For example now the rent has gone up from half a million to almost £1m."

He added: “It has taken me by surprise how deep the (stadium) problems are and how complex everything is.

“We have a few options: either we work with Mr Kassam and make the relationship better and make it work for both sides or we have to look at the other option.

“The lease is running down, so it’s natural to look at the other options to find a new home. But we have to make the right decision for our club.”

Mr McWilliams added: “We do have a plan for the stadium and we have five different options – I just don’t want to give anybody false hope. All I can say is we are working very hard on the solution.”

He added: “Both the councils are very supportive.

“They are actively helping us – and I hope we can give more information in a couple of weeks – to find a site for a new stadium. There is progress being made.”

But Mr Kassam said it was the club’s decision to contest the charges, which has led to this situation.

He added: “Being in arbitration has muddied the waters greatly.

“When (previous owners) Nick Merry and Ian Lenagan were in charge, I never had any issues. We both knew what the agreement was and what we had signed up for.

“But lately, for some reason, people have chosen to dispute this and now I am out-of-pocket. It is a very troublesome situation for me, because if these people in charge now walk away, how do I get my money?”

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson also expressed his frustration at the arrangement, claiming the team were unable to train on the pitch without paying a £3,000 fee.

The U’s boss also called the three-sided ground ‘probably the worst-designed stadium in the country'.

“Honestly, we hate playing there,” Mr Robinson said. “It doesn't feel like home.”

Mr Kassam hit back at this as well, saying: “For the manager to blame the stadium for their poor results is rubbish.

“When Michael Appleton was manager, he asked a few times to train on the pitch and we were very flexible and relaxed about it all, because at the time they would pay for the maintenance of the pitch.

“Now, I am not being flexible because any costs occurred are not being paid for by the club.

“Yes the stadium only has three sides, but it would be quite easy to sort out a fourth stand. But again, I am not going to help them with that until I am paid what I am owed.”

Other issues raised by the club included being unable to sell Singha beer – the company which sponsors United’s shirts – in the stadium, and being restricted to access from only 9am to 5.30pm in the week and from midday on a matchday.

“What beer I sell makes no difference to me,” Mr Kassam said. “But it all goes back to being flexible.

“The club used to have keys and could come and go as they liked. But now I am sticking to the agreement.”

However, although the club and landlords are at loggerheads, both parties believe they can work closely together again.

“Of course,” said Mr Thanakarnjanasuth.

Mr Kassam replied: “There is no reason why not.

“I have had a few meetings with them, but my message to them is to drop the arbitration and pay what I am owed.”