It's been 12 months that Kelvin Thomas will never forget.

But the man responsible for overseeing one of the biggest turnarounds in the club’s history is now able to look back with pride on the work done over the past year.

Thomas was asked to take over as Oxford United chairman exactly a year ago.

The club were 19th in the Blue Square Premier, but their league position was the least of their worries.

Being forced into administration had been talked about, but chairman Nick Merry denied that this was the case.

However, it was only when Thomas agreed to drop his commitments in the United States – which had prompted his resignation from the club’s board 16 months earlier – and return as chairman that he began to really understand just how much financial trouble they were in.

“I knew that there were problems, but probably didn’t realise the mountain that the club was facing,” he admitted.

“The reduction in income was having a major effect on the business and we needed to turn that around.”

And he has done just that.

However, he refuses to take all the credit, and went to great lengths to point out that despite his hard work, the club have not achieved anything.

He is wrong.

Oxford United has been turned from a football club suffering around £850,000 a year losses, to one that could potentially break even this year.

And, the U’s could even be in profit if they win promotion.

But how, by playing in the same league, against the same teams, has this changed?

“The biggest thing we did was look at the club and not lose sight of what could be achieved,” he said.

“It would have been easy when I came in and even in the close season to say we need to cut all our expenses.

“That is very difficult, in my opinion, to do within a football club, unless you get drastic and get rid of all your players.

“So we had to take a different approach and tap into our income streams and increase the income significantly.

“So far, it has worked with a lot of support. We have been creative and honest in our approach and I think people have appreciated that.

“Ticket income, executive boxes and sponsorship advertising have all increased, and matchday betting and the 50-50 draw are all direct benefits.

“An extra £1,000 or so on a matchday soon adds up when you have 23 home games.”

Even though he will not get carried away with the transformation that now sees Oxford top of the Blue Square Premier, Thomas has to admit the past year has gone well.

“I think it is fair to say that I am pleased with the turnaround so far,” he said.

“The club was 19th when I took over and crowds were dwindling. The two previous home games before I took over had 3,859 and 3,840 home fans.

“So far this season, we have an average of 6,106 home fans per game if you include Luton, and 5,671 if you take Luton out the equation.

“But, as I always say, we have not achieved anything yet and we have to focus on what we want to achieve and keep working hard towards that.”

But is there one particular achievement he is proud of?

“It is a culmination of things, but if I was most proud of two things they would be the relationship between the club and the fans, as well as the hard- working reputation that we are starting to get as a football club,” he added.

“I feel we are all moving in the same direction, from the staff to the players to the fans, and there is a general feeling about the place that we are all in this together.

“That is why I think people are coming out to support us, because they know that everyone throughout the club, is going to put a shift in.”

So where does he see Oxford United in five years?

“I am looking for us to be back in the Football League and profitable,” he said.

“Where in the Football League? I am not sure, but that’s the beauty of football and what keeps us coming back for more.”