OXFORD United have received a major financial injection with lifelong supporter Stewart Donald set to acquire a ten per cent stake in the club.

The investment is in excess of £500,000 and will also see his company, Witney-based Bridle Insurance, sponsor the women’s team, United’s academy and this month’s pre-season tour to Austria.

It is the fruition of conversations between Donald and United chairman Darryl Eales, since the latter’s ENSCO 1070 bought 51 per cent of the club from Ian Lenagan a year ago.

While it is unclear whose stake the ten per cent will come from, Eales remains the largest shareholder.

Donald said: “It was very simple from my perspective. I’ve been a fan for 30 years and I’ve always tried to help them over the last few years.

“I just got the sense that Darryl would appreciate a little bit more help to try and make sure he can achieve the things he wants.

“We were talking numbers and the money was a little bit more, so he said ‘why don’t you take a little share of the club?’”

He added: “I’m an Oxford boy, so it’s a big pull for me and I completely buy into Darryl and what he’s trying to do.”

While Donald is chairman at Eastleigh, where he has spent an estimated £3m since taking over in 2011, he will not be joining the U’s board and is confident the investment will not be a conflict of interest.

For the Oxfordshire businessman it is just the start, with a commitment to cover a proportion of United’s losses among the areas he is intending to assist.

“I would envisage what we have done now will just be the start of me spending money at Oxford United,” he said.

“It’s a substantial investment in the club - it will be in excess of half a million pounds - and it says ‘I’m here to help’.

“I have to be careful because I’ve got Eastleigh, but you’re allowed to own ten per cent of another club for investment purposes.”

Eales is thrilled with the deal, which is due to be officially rubberstamped in a few days.

He said: “Stewart and I have been talking for some time and share a common vision for the club, especially in building success both on the pitch and in the community.

“I am delighted that we will continue to build a strong relationship and that his passion and knowledge will be available to help drive the club forward.”

Mark Ashton, the U’s chief executive, said: “It is clear Stewart is extremely passionate about Oxford United, and having an investor in the club who has such great links with the local business community, can only be a positive thing.”

  • OXFORD United have announced their new squad numbers.

Keeper Sam Slocombe has inherited the No 1 jersey, with Ryan Clarke – who is close to leaving – given No 13.

The other new signings are: George Baldock (2), Kemar Roofe (4), Liam Sercombe (8), Ryan Taylor (20).

The players will complete a two-day team bonding camp at RAF Benson today, before the first sessions of pre-season at the training ground tomorrow.