The Oxford United Chairman, Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth, wrote the following notes for the Sheffield Wednesday programme:
So much has happened since the start of 2022, and I want to try to talk about that in two stages.
Ever since I arrived here, our message has been the same: that for Oxford United to be successful it needs two things to develop hand in hand: the club itself and the team on the pitch.
The last two weeks have been so exciting with news of the new stadium, and as we have said over and over again, we need a stadium that feels like our home, one that can sustain a successful team. Niall McWilliams said it correctly: Oxford is an internationally famous city and needs international-class facilities that the whole city feels proud of.
Every interview I have done, I think, I have been asked about the stadium and what our plans are, so it was wonderful to finally be able to reveal our preferred site and talk with a little more freedom about our plans. It was an announcement that got fans very excited, and I hope was just the first step towards a new era for the club. There is a long way to go and we will work with the Council, with the planning authorities and with everyone affected by the move. On Tuesday, the Council asked for time to gather opinions from residents near Stratfield Brake, and that is the correct thing to do; we want to work with people and start all the conversations that need to happen, and the quicker those discussions begin then hopefully the quicker we are in control of our own future.
Like all of you, I want things to happen quickly, but can I ask everyone to respect that procedures need to be followed and the new stadium has to work for everyone in Oxford, not just the football club.
The timing of the announcement, after two away defeats, wasn’t great, but we know that Karl and the players will overcome such things and stay on track. What a wonderful opportunity to show Oxford United in its best light today: a win over a famous club like Sheffield Wednesday in front of a crowd of 10,000 people.
I mentioned respect, and whether we are at home or away, we want everyone wearing the badge, whether on the field or in the stands, to show respect for those around them. Last weekend at Wycombe there were chants, comments and actions that have no place at our club. I saw emails from parents saying their children no longer wish to go to football and other fans wrote in to express their disgust at a small number of fans making homophobic comments. Discrimination, of any kind, has no place at our wonderful club.
Please help us: we are chasing a place in the highest level of the Football League that we have played in for quarter of a century, we are growing in the community, developing players in the Academy, and we are so close to finding a new home. Help us grow by making sure that every person at the game feels welcome and part of what we are building. We will build it and we will build it together.
You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc