Oxford United chairman Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth wrote the following notes for the Boxing Day game against Southend United:
Good afternoon everyone and a very Merry Christmas to you all. It is a wonderful time of year and our plan is to give you even more to smile about with a win over Southend today.
One thing I have found out this season is that Karl puts his players first and really cares about how everyone is doing. He makes sure that their families are looked after, and that is something I greatly admire. I believe the players were scheduled to have Christmas Day off, but also given a schedule of what they needed to do to prepare for today’s game. I think that is the right thing to do, but it also shows an element of trust in them, something which I know they will honour and stick to. I don’t have that problem and will be eating and drinking too much like the rest of you!
Today’s game marks the half-way stage in the season, so I thought it would be good to look back at how far we have come. I am having to write these notes on the morning on 19th December, just after we have beaten Spurs Under 21s in the Checkatrade Trophy. That was a very good game again – I was up until 4.45am in Thailand watching it, and very much enjoyed the way we played. Congratulations to Armani Little on making his debut, the latest in a very exciting group coming through. The day before, we signed Fabio Lopes as a professional and that follows on from Kyran Lofthouse, Slavi Spasov and Michael Elechi all signing earlier in the season.
Over the next few years you will see those players stepping up and I hope making many appearances for Oxford United. At the training ground there is a wall with the shirts of young players who have made their debut in recent years. I want that wall to have shirts from local young players who have played 100 games, or captained the side, or scored a famous goal that seals promotion or a famous cup win. All these things are possible because our Academy is blossoming and we should be very proud.
The training ground itself has been a massive help this year. I know there are many fans waiting to see it in person, but I have to ask for a little patience: Phase 2 is still under construction and that means we cannot have large groups of people touring the site while the work is going on. Apologies, but it will be worth it when we can finally show fans around.
Most importantly, after half a season we are in great form, playing attractive football and I know there will be clubs above us in the table looking over their shoulders because they know we have a strong squad who have grown together after a very tough start and we are also working very hard to bring in some quality players in January. That is a very positive place to be as we end the first half of the season looking for another win.
To read the complete programme online, visit www.matchdayfix.com/oufc