Oxford United were shocked last night by the news Jim Rosenthal had res-igned from the club’s board with immediate effect.

The move is a significant blow to the U’s, with the well-known television sports presenter a major influence behind the scenes.

In an email to the Oxford Mail, the 64-year-old gave a brief statement, but declined to give a reason behind the decision.

He said: “I have felt it necessary to resign from the board of OUFC with immediate effect. I don't believe it is in the interest of the club to air my reasons at this time.

“I offer my continued support to Chris Wilder and the team and will support home and away as I have done for more than 50 years!

“I will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

It is the second high-profile exit in recent months, after Kelvin Thomas stepped down as chairman in July.

Rosenthal was appointed to the board as a director in 2010, but he had been very active with the club since Thomas joined in 2008.

A lifelong U’s fan, the former Oxford Mail reporter went down in folklore for wearing a United hat on air after the Milk Cup victory at Wembley in 1986.

When contacted last night chairman Ian Lenagan refused to comment on Rosenthal’s resignation.

Lenagan, who owns the club and succeeded Thomas in July, now makes up the board with sons Simon and Adrian.

Mark Sennett, chairman of supporters’ group OxVox, paid tribute to Rosenthal.

He said: “Jim has been a great supporter of Oxford United and we thank him for his involvement as a director and sponsor.

“We wish him all the best in everything he does and look forward to seeing him again in the future.”

Despite Rosenthal following Thomas out the door, Sennett felt there was no need for fans to be concerned for the club’s future.

“Not at all,” he said. “With the fact that Ian Lenagan has taken over the day-to-day running of the club, it is always good to see the owner wants to get involved.

“We met with Ian Lenagan last month and the relationship between us and him is good. It was a very positive meeting.”

Sennett said that OxVox would be asking Lenagan if he intended to recruit replacement board members.

“The key thing is the owner of the football club is still committed to the football club, so from our point of view that is all you could ask,” he added.