Bright future for football within Oxford
Oxford City FC, Oxford United FC and Oxford City Council are delighted to announce that they have agreed in principle, to a new partnership that will support a bright future for football within the city of Oxford.
The partnership will maximise the use of Court Place Farm Stadium and provide a significant contribution to securing the future of Oxford City FC. It will also enable a continuation and development of OCFC's extensive community activities whilst also enabling OUFC to have a permanent base throughout the week.
The plans are subject to formal agreement from each of the three parties but all are keen to support the partnership which will also enable the construction of a 3G/4G pitch as a replacement for the current Court Place Farm pitch.
The partnership will involve the creation of a joint venture trading company which will be owned 50:50 by OCFC and OUFC and will lease and operate the main stadium facility.
Oxford City Football Club will retain its independent status and a further board restructure will follow to bring in further investment and operations management. There will be no change to the charitable status or the community activities undertaken under the Oxford City banner. The existing 3G pitch and community arena will not be affected by this partnership.
From the Oxford United perspective, the club is delighted to help find a win/win solution which helps secure OCFC's future but which also provides a permanent facility from which the club can operate during the week especially in terms of creating a supporters club and retail outlet as well as the opportunity to commercialise the Court Place Farm stadium facility more generally, especially as a potential future home for Oxford United Women as well as expanding our community activities.
OUFC is also discussing, albeit at an early stage, the possibility of creating a permanent training home for the First Team at Court Place Farm. This would provide a significant benefit to the development of the club's infrastructure and all parties are keen to find a way to allow this to happen.
Oxford United's Chairman, Darryl Eales, is also making a charitable donation directly to Oxford City to help ensure that the short term is assured.
Justin Merritt said, "We have developed a strong partnership with Oxford United in the past few seasons and in the past few months have undertaken a series of positive and creative meetings. We have focussed on the positives a partnership could bring and by maximising the use of the stadium pitch, facilities and commercial opportunities it will enable a strong future for both clubs. The partnership has huge potential and from the outset has been structured with the needs of all parties in mind."
Bob Price of Oxford City Council said:
“The City Council is delighted that the two clubs have reached an outline agreement on joint use of the Court Place Farm pitches. The Council initiated these discussions in the wake of Colin Taylor's sad death and the realisation of OCFC's financial position. We will be working with the clubs to finalise the details of how the facilities will be used."
United Chairman Darryl Eales said, "Relatively unusually, this really is a win/win solution. We are delighted to be able to help Oxford City whilst also establishing a broader base for Oxford United commercially as well as hopefully for our First Team and our Women’s team.
“We have established an excellent relationship with Justin and Paul Lyon and believe that we can work exceptionally well together to benefit both clubs and the community.
“More broadly, it provides a great opportunity for local Oxfordshire businesses to support either or both of their local clubs via multiple sponsorship and commercial opportunities and to become more actively involved with the development of both clubs"
OUFC Managing Director, Greig Box Turnbull, added:
"Talks have progressed positively and quickly and we are excited about the scope of this opportunity for all concerned.
"This is a significant development for the football community in Oxfordshire, it makes sense for the two clubs to partner and help each other and the wider community we serve.
"We are hopeful this will now progress, with wider support from key stakeholders. The opportunity is exciting and one we look forward to progressing."