Chris Wilder's first team squad have enjoyed the first three weeks of pre-season and will take to the Kassam Stadium pitch for the first time this Saturday as The U's welcome Birmingham City in their first home pre-season fixture.
Off the pitch, preparations by the Chairman, Ian Lenagan, have been just as busy and the club are happy to announce a new Senior Management Team behind the scenes to help run the Club.
Paul Wright started as Finance and Operations Director at Oxford United on July 1st.
Paul is a highly experienced Finance Director, qualifying initially with KPMG as a Chartered Accountant before a successful career as FD in private companies and as CFO and CEO in Main Market and AIM-listed public companies. He has over 10 years' experience working together with Ian Lenagan as Chairman in previous companies and has joined Oxford United to help spearhead its expansion . Paul is a keen sports supporter with also three years' experience as part-time FD at Harlequins RL.
Paul assumes control of all areas of the club's finance from the departing Susannah Maxa (who will be moving to Devon with her family this month) plus the whole Operations area.
"I have worked in sport and with Ian Lenagan for a number of years and share his enthusiasm and ambition for what can be achieved here at Oxford United.”
Paul becomes a full Member of the Board of Oxford United Ltd with immediate effect.
Tony Davison has joined the club as Commercial Director.
Tony, 39, has previously worked for Sunderland FC, Wembley Stadium and commercial sports giants IMG and SportFive. He brings a wealth of commercial football experience to the club and has started work at the Kassam Stadium this week reporting directly to Ian Lenagan:
"Everyone talks about the potential at Oxford United and this potential is clear to see at the Club. I head up the new Commercial Department which will strive to realise that potential by developing new and existing business partnerships, generating revenue and establishing strong relationships with fans, corporate customers, businesses and other Oxfordshire organisations."
Tony will be supported in the Commercial Department by two very familiar faces. Gemma Drewett will extend her sales work with the Youth and Community Trust, after an excellent start with Oxford United,to working across the whole Club whilst there is a new role in Sales for Peter Rhoades-Brown. Peter will move from his role in Community to a newly created additional post in the Sales Department reporting also to Tony Davison.
"I have loved my Community work – particularly in coaching – but people have often suggested that I should be involved in the sales operation and the business community and I am delighted that the Club has given me this opportunity of a new and exciting career. I can't wait to get started and to get out and about meeting businesses across the county and learning from Tony. It will seem strange to have a new role on match-days but I will be here at every game supporting our customers and I am sure that the fans will be just as kind when I see them in the lounges and boxes. "
As part of the new Commercial Team, the Club is delighted to welcome Gerald Kelly as Marketing Manager. Gerald played football locally in Oxfordshire whilst completing his degree in marketing, then worked at Wycombe Wanderers before moving to Harlequins Rugby Union club and becoming Community Marketing Manager where, among his marketing duties,he co-ordinated their massively successful 'Big Match' at Twickenham. Gerald assumed responsibility this week for all marketing and ticket sales at the U’s, building on the successful United We Stand season ticket campaign that launched in May.
"The new direction has been clearly set at the Club in the past six months and my role is to deliver on that front. Ticket sales, branding, website and getting the match-day experience right are priorities whilst working closely with the fans and the new Yellow Army initiative."
Chris Williams, after a successful year working with Ian Lenagan, continues in his important role in charge of Press and Media reporting to Tony Davison as part of the Commercial Team.
Chairman Ian Lenagan said:
"Saturday marked the one year anniversary since I took over as Chairman of the club and there have been significant changes in the whole structure and outlook during that period. Chris Wilder has assembled an exciting squad on the pitch and our long-term commitment to Youth Development, Sports Science and the infrastructure on the playing side of things means that the future looks very bright.
"At the same time, you need the right people working as a team behind the scenes and it was crucial that we spent time finding the right blend of professional people with experience, integrity and ambition. We believe we have now brought together a bright, hard-working team of people on and off the pitch with one common goal of bringing success to Oxford United."
Two further changes see Lucy Townsend step up as Club Shop Manager following the retirement of Hilary Sillman while Adrian Spiers becomes the new Safety Officer after thirty years as part of the stewarding team at the club.