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Chairman's Notes For Blackpool Programme

Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth writes in this afternoon's programme

15 December 2018

Oxford United chairman Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth wrote the following notes for today's programme against Blackpool:

I have been involved in business and in football for a very long time now and in all those years I do not think I have ever had such a frustrating month. My frustration is not with the club or with the team because I think we are making huge improvements in all areas.
We are on an amazing run in the league. The draw at Peterborough last Saturday was well deserved and we are also through to the third round of the FA Cup. So we are making progress with every game at the moment.  

Our Under-23 programme is thriving and our under-18 side are top of their league with two more young players, Kyran Lofthouse and Michael Elechi, signing their first professional contracts last week - there will be more following in their footsteps, I am sure. I was happy for Leon, Chris and their under-18 team for their win at Burnley on Tuesday night. So I think we are in good health in footballing terms and most supporters know this and can see for themselves that the infrastructure that we put in place last summer is starting to pay off.
I like to think that I am always approachable: ask Niall McWilliams, Karl Robinson and Mark Thomas because I am on the phone to each of them for many hours every day. But sometimes in business you find yourself in exceptional circumstances, situations where you simply cannot lay everything out in the open. I apologise to the fans if they were worried about the HMRC winding-up order last week. That is completely understandable, and unacceptable from us, but we were dealing with it and it has been paid.

There will always be rumours and speculation. I would love to explain why the situation got to that point, and I received a well-worded letter from OxVox asking for exactly that explanation. It is right for fans to ask those questions. I have agonised over what I can say in reply. In time I will be able to answer them all, and I promise I will do, but at the moment there are things that simply cannot be divulged. I know that will annoy so many people, but it is the truth. Nothing I say beyond that will stop speculation, I know, but perhaps I can reassure fans with a few facts.

Oxford United is run as a sustainable football club and run by people with experience within the game and a passion for this club. We have a Board who have a united plan for the future. We have money to match our ambitions. We have come through a situation which nobody could have foreseen, caused not by our own negligence but by outside factors. We will learn from that and in the end be better for it.

One of the OxVox questions was about the make-up of the board and how it works. Fans have met Zaki and he has been at a number of games and is overseeing a number of projects on the non-football side of the organisation, including the stadium discussions with Firoka. Erick and Horst have also given the club substantial support since joining the board and continuously advise me on various matters. The way we will structure not just the board, but also the responsibilities throughout the whole club is something that we continue to work on and we will make announcements as and when we can. I will also do my best to introduce all the Board members to the fans, because I think that will help everyone, but this may take some time to arrange.

The other big question that fans have is whether recent events have any bearing on the team. I can answer that easily: nothing will change our commitment or our plans to strengthen. I have talked to Karl and the recruitment team and we have clear plans in place for the January transfer window. I have also talked to the staff and they have been fantastic, led by Niall who has guided us through rough waters. We still face challenges: show me the football club that doesn’t. But we will all work hard on your behalf to bring success here. This is my club now, one I love, but more importantly it is your club and will be for many years after I am gone. All I can do is promise to look after it as best I can.


You can read the full programme online at


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