U's silent partner revealed

Oxford United supporters received a welcome surprise on Thursday evening, when 'silent partner' Ian Lenagan formally introduced himself.

Lenagan is the Harlequins Rugby League chairman and owns a 50 per cent share of Woodstock Partners Ltd - who own Oxford United FC.

He revealed that his sons, Simon and Adrian, will have more involvement in the club and also announced exciting plans for a £25m training complex at Peers School.

"Myself and Nick each own 50 per cent of Woodstock Partners Ltd, and so have both been involved right from the start," Lenagan told the Oxford Mail.

"But I had only been chairman of Harlequins Rugby League club for nine months when we bought the club, and did not feel that it was right to show people I was branching out into football straight away.

"I am not the kind of person who likes the spotlight, but Nick, Kelvin (Thomas) and Jim (Smith) told me that now was the time to let people know who I am."

Most of the details were mind-numbing, but the considerable effort that had gone into the presentation left a big impression.

"We have nothing to hide, and hopefully people will now see that the club is in safe hands," he said.

"The club lost £640,000 last year, but that's good news because we thought it might have been £720,000.

"But we obviously cannot lose that sort of money every year, which is why we have a strategic plan.

"The main aims of that are to lose not more than £250,000 a year, and, of course, to acquire the stadium and conference centre.

"Firoz Kassam wants £13m for it, and we hope to be able to get the stadium within two years - we will not get it next year unless something miraculous happens.

"I will be meeting with potential partners to see what can be done about raising that money, because it is not financially-viable for me or Nick to just throw our money at it."

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