Oxford United Chairman Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth wrote the following notes for the visit of Cheltenham Town:
Happy New Year everyone and, like all Oxford fans, I hope 2022 brings us success, creates a lot of great memories and is the year when we win promotion.
I believe we are on track to achieve that, but there is a long way to go and there are a lot of teams still in contention after half a season. Most of them are the big clubs that we knew would be in the chase this season: Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth, Ipswich. Add in Rotherham and Wycombe, who came down from the Championship but kept most of their players, and it is a very strong division.
But we are in there fighting and I liked reading the BBC’s forecast for the rest of the season where they didn’t even mention Oxford once! I don’t mind that so much; so long as the fans and the players believe we can do it then that’s enough, but it did just remind me that we are still the underdogs and to be in contention at half way is a good effort.
In the last two seasons we have been a long way behind where we are now, not just on the pitch but also in what we are building off it. I think 2021 was a year where the club did fantastic work and grew the numbers of young fans and supporters all around the county. I also want to single out Niall McWilliams and Tim Davies, because they quietly go about their business in the background but are doing amazing things which I hope give us the best possible chance of moving forward to very exciting times in 2022 and for many years ahead.
Most fans focus on what happens on the pitch, of course, and that is exciting as well. Karl and his coaches have got us into this strong position, and we will back him over the next month to strengthen wherever he thinks we need to. The recruitment team work hard all year round and planning for this window maybe started one year ago. We have targets and we have flexible plans which can be adjusted as the transfer window changes.
Last summer we were very successful and put together a very balanced squad. Think back two or three weeks and we were picking up wins with 13 players out, which tells you plenty about our strength in depth. We want to add to that, but huge changes aren’t the way; now we are in a good position, we can build carefully with no need to rush in to a difficult market. That’s a wonderful place to start from and I believe will allow us to keep going and keep improving in this new year.
Finally, enjoy today’s game but once again, look after each other and make sure everyone stays safe. Then let’s start the new year as we mean to go on…
You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc