OXFORD United’s proposed move to Stratfield Brake must show it will benefit the wider community, an academic in the city has said.

Dr Stuart Whigham is a senior lecturer in sport, coaching and physical education at Oxford Brookes University, and was due to give a talk about football fans in the city being uprooted.

The event – ‘Who Owns Football?’ – was however cancelled and will instead take place in May.

It will focus on the impact of United’s move from the Manor Ground to the Kassam Stadium, plus Oxford City making Court Place Farm their home after leaving the White House Ground.

Whigham, a Hibernian fan who has lived in Oxford for 15 years, said: “What we were planning on talking about was the loss of place.

“Going to the Manor, you knew the pubs and there was a bit more life in the area.

“The move to the Kassam was more of a retail sense, not like the pubs and restaurants in Headington.

“Fans will always follow their wherever they play, but a sense of routine was lost.”

United’s initial plans for Stratfield Brake, south of Kidlington, include an 18,000-capacity stadium, community and sports grounds, plus hotel, retail and conference facilities, subject to planning permission.

“One thing the club has done particularly well is engage with the Supporters’ Panel and OxVox,” said Whigham.

“There’s a real sense the supporters are behind the club in this move.

“If it gets approved, the important next stage is how can they make the match day experience as positive as possible.

“It’s things like local businesses and pubs because it’s going to be a new development out of town.

“They need to think about having something which isn’t overly corporate or overly sanitised.”

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Ensuring supporters can travel to matches sustainably is another crucial box to tick, said Whigham.

“Ultimately I’m a football fan, but there are rightful concerns by local residents – we’re talking about a big development.

“What Oxford City did quite well was get the other sports facilities around the stadium.

“That won over local people, and that’s what Oxford United need to do as it’ll be important for the long-term sustainability of the site.

“Having a connection with the park and ride, and being well-connected with buses, is better than what you get with the Kassam.

“Encouraging people to travel in a green way could again dissuade people who have concerns.”

Whigham said that the study of sport at higher education level is something that has increased upon the turn of the century.

He said: “In the last 20 to 25 years, in tandem with the growing professionalism of sports, it has meant the same for the study of sports.

“There’s many chances of getting a job in the industry, whether that be performance analysis or hospitality.

“I’ve got a great job, I get to talk about football, and the good and bad about it.”