OUFC confirms profit is their main driver
This is what Tim Williams, CEO of OUFC, had to say on Radio Oxford's 'Five Minute Fans' Forum' on 2 February 2023: “in terms of revenues, an extra 10,000, which is still lower than Derby, could give us an extra 2 million quid of extra revenue. That can go straight onto the pitch in terms of investment. That’s why we need our own stadium, that’s why we need to focus off the pitch, because it’s what allows us to spend on it. And then just another point, and I don’t want to labour this, but the fact that we don’t own our stadium and don’t have control of our stadium, means that there’s probably 330 non-match days where we could otherwise use the revenues from that. Other clubs do it. It’s a brilliant revenue stream. You can probably generate some £1 - £2 million of extra revenue from that. So aligned with 8,500 people coming to the stadium and our loss of control of our non-match day revenues, we are probably £4 million of revenue lower than where we should be…'
So, there you have it: OUFC’s new stadium WON'T be used on just 30 match days a year as we've previously been told (not that we ever believed that anyway). Clearly, the primary motive for commercially developing a Green Belt site, is to fund the Club's grand expansion plans. The extra revenue they hope to generate from more fans attending matches plus the revenue from using the stadium ALL YEAR ROUND is going to be invested on-pitch in an attempt to boost the Club’s results.
Nice plan. But not so great for the residents who now know they can expect year-round traffic and parking issues, not just on match days.
We were told in Cabinet’s recent paper that County Council officers ‘suggested to OUFC that they should focus [on the Triangle] for the development of a new football stadium and ancillary development (within the stadium footprint)’.
Since revenue generation is key, conference and event facilities for external groups will be prioritised over community facilities for local school kids.
Why do the financial ambitions of an insolvent privately-owned company rank above our green space? And what about the additional traffic
generation and pollution in what is already one of the most congested parts of the Oxfordshire transport network?
The dismal OUFC Stage 0 Report published in December 2022 failed to explain how the club would increase the use of public transport to matches. It also failed to explain in any detail how the club would deal with parking issues. Even if we indulge the fantasy that 1000s of fans will travel by train, good luck to locals trying to get into Oxford, or use the P&R and local rail station on match or major event days.
County Council's Cabinet decision making was flawed
Cabinet failed to consider any of this when making its decision to enter into lease negotiations with Oxford United on 24 January 2023. Cabinet failed to take into account the 2,000 additional houses coming to the immediate vicinity very soon (some already at the planning permission stage). Cabinet failed to consider the impact of the massive Oxford North development at neaby Peartree.
We call for an APPROPRIATE LOCAL CONSULTATION RUN BY OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL.
This should properly gather the views of the local communities in Kidlington AND North Oxford by direct written engagement. It must not be flooded with the views of football supporters and people from outside the County like the last engagement exercise.
In the Oxford Times this week Layla Moran says “I urge Oxford United to engage meaningfully with the local residents who will be greatly affected by their plans” … and the club will only succeed “if the views of local residents are listened to and there is genuine community support for the plans”
We don’t want community engagement from OUFC on the assumption that the stadium will go ahead! Haven’t they done that already?! Local people MUST be given the opportunity to tell the County Council whether or not we want a stadium on our local green belt.
Why won’t our County Council listen to us? This is a glaring omission. To continue spending public resources to further the financial interests of OUFC, a privately owned company, and exclude the local community from fundamental decision-making is unacceptable.