Retail is starting to return across the UK and for Oxford United that means the return of a key revenue stream for the football club.
While the shop at the ground remains closed the online store at oufcshop.co.uk will be open for business as usual from Friday.
We asked Chairman Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth for an update on what is happening off the field for the U’s right now.
“It is a good question and it is important for fans to know that they can help the club massively right now" he told us. “We need them more than ever. We are no different to any other club really. We have the same concerns and the same worries because at our level there are limited revenue streams available. Ticket money has obviously dried up along with things like programme sales and iFollow. Fans can see those things but there are also so many other ways that this lockdown affects our business and so many reasons why we are going to need help from fans to kick start everything again.
“Sponsorship is a good example. Singha, Polythene UK and Lan 3 expect a certain amount of exposure on TV and in the media and Box Holders want to bring guests to games where they have chosen to sponsor the match. Even fans who sponsor their favourite players, or the Cabling Company sponsoring Player of the Month. Lockdown has changed all of that. I want to thank so many of our commercial partners because they have been so supportive and helpful through what has been a difficult time.
“Retail in particular has been affected. The away kit this season was our best-ever selling kit and the home kit was hugely popular. If the season had finished conventionally then we know fans would want kits for the big games at the end of the season- imagine the demand if we had been at Wembley for a play-off final.
“We are very fortunate to have excellent people looking after the commercial side of the club. In retail we were ahead with planning for next season so new kits were already planned along with new training kit and so on. We also have plans for season tickets but we need confirmation on what we are offering first- will fans be able to attend games? When does the season start?
“In the bigger picture, the Board will always support the club. We are growing as a club as well as a team and we speak to Karl all the time to offer our backing and help in any way we can.
“Like everyone else the club have to take small steps at first. We will reopen the online shop and offer reductions on many lines and we ask fans to take a look online and maybe buy a home shirt or a t-shirt because it just starts to help the club get back on its feet.
“The same with season tickets when they go on sale. We truly appreciate the support you have given us and we have spoken to many fans over the last few weeks. All of them have said the same thing: we want to help and we will support our club.
“It feels like we have stuck together at a difficult time. In some ways things were reversed for the last few weeks. We have supported the fans where we could and I hope the special bond that exists between the club and its supporters will be even stronger after this experience.”