Firoz Kassam has bought Oxford United.

The struggling First Division club announced today that the hotel entrepreneur had bought former chairman Robin Herd's 89.5 per cent controlling interest.

The millionaire had set a deadline of midnight. The United board met last night but but made no statement until 11am today. The announcement read: "Mr Kassam is delighted with the progress that has been made with Oxford City Council regarding the development of the Minchery Farm site. However, there are still important issues to be resolved."

On Tuesday, members of the council's strategy committee voted for a plan to save the club.

Under the scheme, Mr Kassam would pay to complete United's half-built stadium by January 1, 2000. In return, he would receive land next to the stadium for a leisure development, including a hotel, multiplex cinema and bowling alley.

The council would then take a 20 per cent stake in the company that would be set up to run and manage the stadium. But Mr Kassam would not be allowed to develop the adjoining land until he had completed the stadium.

The council now plans widespread consultation on the whole package, including public meetings at Blackbird Leys and Littlemore and a Mori-type poll of council taxpayers.

Story date: Thursday 01 April

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.