IT has taken four years of hard work for Oxford United to be able to announce Stratfield Brake as their preferred site for a new stadium.

Oxfordshire County Council will consider the club’s proposal to lease the sports ground, south of Kidlington, at their cabinet meeting next Tuesday.

Read also: Oxford United confirm Stratfield Brake stadium plans

Even today is only the ‘start of the conversation’, according to U’s managing director Niall McWilliams, with several hurdles to overcome.

But here are some of the key stadium-related developments over the last four years.

  • November 2017: United were told a relocation to Stratfield Brake was ‘not viable’ at a meeting between council leaders, officers, the club and supporters’ trust OxVox. The same was said of a site at nearby Water Eaton. Their locations on green belt land and planning constraints were given as reasons by Adrian Colwell, head of strategic planning and the economy for Cherwell District Council.
  • September 2018: McWilliams tells a fans’ forum that the U’s have five different options for stadium sites. Chairman and owner Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thankarnjanasuth, who had only taken over seven months prior, admits he has been taken by surprise how deep the stadium problems are. Former chairman Firoz Kassam, whose company Firoka own the Kassam Stadium, says relations with the club have reached an ‘all-time low’.

Read also: Sports clubs react to Oxford United stadium plans

  • October 2018: The club, city and county councils issue a joint statement saying they have identified sites and appointed a planning consultant, although they did not specify the options.
  • June 2019: After wealthy investors including Anindya Bakrie, Erick Thohir and Horst Geicke join United’s board, McWilliams suggests the club may have the backing to explore the possibilities of a world-class stadium. He said: “This might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for Oxford United and the county to find a solution to this problem.”
  • October 2019: Having noticeably stepped up efforts to find a stadium solution in the previous 12 months, Geicke suggests United’s future lies away from Grenoble Road. He said: “I have decided I want to meet some people and talk to them about what they expect, where the city sees their support and co-operation with such a stadium.”
  • November 2019: United announce the agreement to take over the long-term lease at Oxford Sports Park has been completed. It is the first time the club have owned their own training ground and is said to put them on ‘more stable ground’ before tackling the stadium issue.

Read also: OxVox chair shares view on stadium proposals

  • April 2021: McWilliams plays down expectations of an imminent announcement after a YouTube video emerges appearing to show plans for a new stadium. Tiger had said the previous week that he hoped United would have news by the end of the year.
  • August 2021: United announce they have secured the public catering rights at the Kassam Stadium after reaching a deal with Firoka. It means they get a portion of the money spent on food and drink at the ground.
  • November 2021: Prospective owner Anindya Bakrie offers the clearest indication yet that United see their future away from the Kassam Stadium. The director speaks about building a greener ground than Grenoble Road: “From the environmental sustainability side, we can make a difference.”
  • January 2022: United announce they have made a formal proposal to Oxfordshire County Council to lease part of Stratfield Brake, near Kidlington, for 250 years. Initial plans include an 18,000-capacity stadium, community and training grounds and hotel, retail and conference facilities. The council, which owns the land, will discuss this at its cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 18.