Oxford United owner says fans hold the key to financial stability

Ian Lenagan (right) with head coach Gary Waddock

Ian Lenagan (right) with head coach Gary Waddock

First published in Sport Bicester Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

IAN Lenagan has called on supporters to match his commitment to Oxford United, with the chairman saying they hold the key to the club’s financial success in the future.

Tomorrow, they are due to announce season ticket prices for the 2014-15 campaign, on the day Gary Waddock’s side host fellow play-off hopefuls York City.

A victory would put the U’s in a good position to make the play-offs, their highest finish since dropping out of the third tier in 2001.

But although the side have spent all but one week of the campaign in the top seven, crowds at the Kassam Stadium are down from last season.

It marks a 20 per cent decrease on the figure from two years ago.

It has a significant impact on the finances, with United’s most recent accounts – up to June last year – revealing a £1.1m loss.

Lenagan, whose interest-free loan to the club now stands at more than £6.1m, is optimistic the heavy losses will not continue, but made it clear how vital it was for fans to give their backing.

“An extra 1,000 spectators through the gate makes a massive difference,” he said.

“You’re talking about £10,000 a game and we have 23 home games.

“If we got 2,000 extra spectators you almost wipe the losses out. It’s within our grasp.

“If you were to say who can make the biggest difference to Oxford United financially, it’s the fans. It’s not me.

“I’m propping up losses and trying to change the business, trying to appoint a good manager, trying to get the right commercial people, which I’ve got.

“I’ve probably done almost everything I can do now.”

Lenagan is aware supporters will be influenced by whether United play attractive, successful football, something he believes is in the process of coming to fruition by appointing Gary Waddock as head coach.

And the U’s owner says now is the time for fans to turn up.

He said: “I think my commitment to Oxford and the Lenagan family’s commitment to Oxford has been massive. And it continues.

“My request to Oxford fans, particularly now, but on into the new season, is to buy season tickets, buy match tickets.

“Show that you support Oxford United in the same way that I support Oxford United, both financially and in effort.”

United’s chief pointed to tomorrow’s home game as a good exam ple. It clashes with the traditional Good Friday fixture between his other club, rugby league side Wigan Warriors, and St Helens.

But he will be at the Kassam Stadium and is hoping for a gate of about 6,500, although forecasts earlier this week predicted an attendance of 5,600.

Lenagan said: “I’m going to the Oxford game – that shows you where my heart is, doesn’t it?

“Sure, Wigan are on television at 12.15pm, but it’s not the same, you want to be supporting on the ground and I’ve been at every game for more years than I can remember, but I’ll be at Oxford on Friday.

“I’m saying to the fans do the same – pay your money, show your support and come along.”

Comments (9)

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9:44am Thu 17 Apr 14

dave from witney says...

The long taken farce over appointing a new manager has not helped the attendance figures for the past couple of months. To leave Lewis in charge while the team fell out of the auto and then play off spots was pretty crazy really. While the Plymouth result and manner in which it was obtained was very welcome, this late in the season it does not give GW much time to get the'lost' fans back onside. Unless we can get to Wembley, I fear a reduction in season tickets sales.
The long taken farce over appointing a new manager has not helped the attendance figures for the past couple of months. To leave Lewis in charge while the team fell out of the auto and then play off spots was pretty crazy really. While the Plymouth result and manner in which it was obtained was very welcome, this late in the season it does not give GW much time to get the'lost' fans back onside. Unless we can get to Wembley, I fear a reduction in season tickets sales. dave from witney
  • Score: 6

11:16am Thu 17 Apr 14

GRB says...

Fair comments Dave
Fair comments Dave GRB
  • Score: 4

11:18am Thu 17 Apr 14

MiddleBartonYellow says...

I go to every home game but even I would admit that for the most part it has been rubbish. Better football equals bigger crowds.
I go to every home game but even I would admit that for the most part it has been rubbish. Better football equals bigger crowds. MiddleBartonYellow
  • Score: 14

12:16pm Thu 17 Apr 14

onthebench says...

I for one am an Oxford United supporter, "till I die". That means, come what may, I will once again be buying my season ticket regardless of what division we are in. It doesn't make any difference to my decision, but I also firmy believe that with Gary Waddock as Manager we will be playing attractive football next season.
I for one am an Oxford United supporter, "till I die". That means, come what may, I will once again be buying my season ticket regardless of what division we are in. It doesn't make any difference to my decision, but I also firmy believe that with Gary Waddock as Manager we will be playing attractive football next season. onthebench
  • Score: 14

1:14pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Doctor69 says...

Sorry IL the reason attendances are dropping is because we have been terrible at home for at least 2 seasons now.
Hopefully GW can turn things around and give us something to cheer, even if the result goes against us, give us attacking football where we really have a go at the away team and fans will return.

Will be interesting to see ST prices, there is no justification for an increase in price.
Sorry IL the reason attendances are dropping is because we have been terrible at home for at least 2 seasons now. Hopefully GW can turn things around and give us something to cheer, even if the result goes against us, give us attacking football where we really have a go at the away team and fans will return. Will be interesting to see ST prices, there is no justification for an increase in price. Doctor69
  • Score: 5

2:28pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Abingdonox says...

Isn't inflation good enough justification for an increase in season ticket prices ? I'm with onthebench on this one, quite happy to buy my season ticket even at a small increase and regardless of which division we are in.
Isn't inflation good enough justification for an increase in season ticket prices ? I'm with onthebench on this one, quite happy to buy my season ticket even at a small increase and regardless of which division we are in. Abingdonox
  • Score: 10

8:53pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Brenda Jackson says...

''Oxford United owner says fans hold the key to financial stability'' I disagree, the fans that are still going despite years of sub-standard football are the lifeblood- But getting the absentees to return requires a saleable product, eg decent attacking football.
Then there is a good chance the attendances will increase, so the 'key' as with every Club is attractive football and success.
So let's hope the prolonged search for a replacement manager pays dividends next season, whichever division we're in.
All the buttering up of stay aways will not entice them back Mr L. You must really appreciate that is the truth.
''Oxford United owner says fans hold the key to financial stability'' I disagree, the fans that are still going despite years of sub-standard football are the lifeblood- But getting the absentees to return requires a saleable product, eg decent attacking football. Then there is a good chance the attendances will increase, so the 'key' as with every Club is attractive football and success. So let's hope the prolonged search for a replacement manager pays dividends next season, whichever division we're in. All the buttering up of stay aways will not entice them back Mr L. You must really appreciate that is the truth. Brenda Jackson
  • Score: 4

11:31pm Thu 17 Apr 14

35 year fan says...

I have every sympathy with IL who pours a hell of a lot of money in, but he surely must see that the home performances generally and the regular new year collapses in results would try the patience of angels.
I have every sympathy with IL who pours a hell of a lot of money in, but he surely must see that the home performances generally and the regular new year collapses in results would try the patience of angels. 35 year fan
  • Score: 2

7:53pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Beau champ mummy says...

Why should we as fans bale u out lenagan put ur hand in ur pocket u tight wad it's your business
Why should we as fans bale u out lenagan put ur hand in ur pocket u tight wad it's your business Beau champ mummy
  • Score: 0

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