When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Race is on to seize stadium ownership
A mounting campaign has been launched by supporters’ group OxVox urging the football club to take ownership of the stadium from Firoz Kassam and offering to help raise money.
News which emerged yesterday that London Welsh were in talks about buying the stadium has spurred U’s fans into action.
OxVox chairman Mark Sennett said: “This is a pivotal moment for both clubs as London Welsh and Oxford United look to push on.
“This could be the starting gun for a real change for sport in Oxfordshire so it is obviously something we want to be a part of.
“Something we are looking to do is helping Oxford United to raise the money and we will be meeting with the club next month to discuss it.”
The meeting was arranged before yesterday’s news.
Oxford United fan Tim Rackley, also landlord of The Priory pub near the stadium, said owning the stadium was key to United’s progress.
He said: “It would be great if the club could get a move on and buy the stadium but it just seems to drag on and on.
“There is no way Oxford United will move forward without owning the stadium.”
Meanwhile London Welsh fans have said the way forward is for the two clubs to work together.
Martin John, chairman of the London Welsh supporters’ club, said: “I don’t see why we shouldn’t share the stadium constructively. We are both renting the place at the moment and it must be better to try to buy it.
“Coming to Oxford has been a very positive move for us and at our match against London Wasps we had a crowd of more than 10,000 which is our biggest ever.”
This was backed by Bob Price, the leader of Oxford City Council and a London Welsh fan.
He said: “It would be very welcome if somebody other than Firoz Kassam were to buy the stadium because he has been very difficult in negotiations with Oxford United.
“It being owned by one of the clubs would mean there is an operator which does not see it simple as a commercial investment from which profit can be drawn.”