Oxford United Football Club today announces that Sumrith “Tiger” Thanakarnjanasuth has become the majority shareholder and chairman of the club.
The current chairman Darryl Eales retains a shareholding and significant investment in the club and will remain on the Board.
The capital structure of the club has been strengthened as part of the transaction and the debt has been reduced.
Darryl said: “My ambition has always been to help the club achieve sustainable success. We have made significant progress on and off the pitch, and I believe a partner with similar ambition but greater resources will accelerate the prospect of achieving this objective.
“Tiger has the financial resources, high level connections in football, including with the EFL, and, critically, the passion and drive which can deliver on the club’s ambitions. We have formed a good relationship and I am delighted to welcome him to the club.
“I would like to thank all staff at the club and all fans for their patience while we concluded the deal. Confidentiality is essential in such circumstances and I am particularly grateful to OxVox, with whom I have had several meetings recently, for ensuring this confidentiality.
“It has been a privilege to serve as chairman over the past three and a half years. To be part of a team which changed the culture and mindset of the club and achieved promotion from League 2 was fantastic. Crowds have risen from around 5,000 to an average of over 8,000 and there have been unforgettable moments, not just two trips to Wembley but the promotion day against Wycombe and the wins over Swansea and Newcastle, not forgetting those great battles against our rivals from Swindon.
"I am so proud to have been part of that and just as proud to see the progress being made by our Community and Academy departments, who go from strength to strength. Furthermore, we have just invested in a new training ground which we hope will provide first class facilities for many years to come, and full details will be announced in the very near future.
“This is a wonderful club and I would like to thank everyone for their support and kindness. Sharing so many experiences with our fantastic fans - sometimes on the terraces with them - has been a personal highlight.
“I look forward to helping Tiger wherever I can to drive the club forward. I am sure all fans will get behind him and give him a very warm welcome.”
Tiger said: “First of all I want to say how exciting it is to become part of Oxford United. I have been to games recently and seen the passion of the fans and the ambitious way that the whole club is set up, not just the first team but also the Academy, the Community programme and the back office structure. Darryl has such enthusiasm for the club and that really made it an easy decision to join forces and try to keep the U's moving in the right direction.”
“I am only sorry that I am unavoidably out of the country for this announcement, but I am looking forward to coming to the Northampton game on Saturday and to saying hello to the fans properly at a later date. I would just like to say to the fans now that my ambitions match, and may even exceed, theirs.
"I know many fans are anxious to know our plans for the Head Coach position. In the past few weeks, a lot of progress has been made and I have been kept fully informed. Now that I have been formally appointed as chairman, I will be looking to complete this process quickly so that we can provide further stability for the rest of the season."