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City chief Guerriero keen to open talks with United
OXFORD City FC president Thomas Guerriero is looking to bring other local sports teams under his business umbrella.
The American businessman, who co-owns the club with the Oxford City Charitable Company as well as local basketball and futsal football teams, said he would be “interested” in holding talks with other organisations – including Oxford United.
In the city as part of a five-day trip to England, Mr Guerriero said he was looking to strengthen City by building a larger sporting institution of multiple disciplines.
Oxford City Stars ice hockey team confirmed there had already been a meeting, and Mr Guerriero said: “We’re always open to having discussions with any team that sees the opportunity in being a part of what we’re doing here.
“Our goal ultimately is to be the dominant sports club in this part of England and the way to do that is to have more than one sport, which is what we’re hoping to do.”
Mr Guerriero, who attended Oxford City’s Skrill North matches against Boston United and Histon, took over the club last April and now owns the former Oxford Hoops basketball team and ex-Oxford Lions futsal team.
Mr Guerriero speaks to Mail reporter Dan Robinson before the game
He suggested he would like to speak to Oxford United – adding that he was disappointed not to have seen any of the team’s home games during his visit – as well as London Welsh and ice hockey team Oxford City Stars.
The Wall Street financier said: “We’re looking to see what would be a wise addition to our portfolio and we have a few targets in sight.
“There’s three teams in Oxford that we don’t control – Oxford United and the rugby and ice hockey clubs – and we would have an interest in speaking with those teams if it made business sense.
“We leave the doors open to opportunities.”
Mr Guerriero said he also has plans to invest in club facilities and wants the basketball and futsal teams to have their own stadiums.
They currently play at The Mail Centre, Oxford Business Park North, and Oxford Brookes University.
He said: “We expect in 2014/15 for them to have their own home ground so we can really develop those two sports to be a successful component of Oxford City.
“The only way sports teams succeed is if they have their own facility. We have 450 kids playing in our basketball programme and it’s growing.
“We’re looking for the ground to be as close to the football facility as possible and are looking at sites.”
He would also like to replace the pitch with a 3G artificial surface at the football club’s Marsh Lane ground if the Football Conference League approves artificial pitches.
FA general secretary Alex Horne said last week the organisation was exploring the possibility of allowing teams to use the surface in the FA Cup but now non-league clubs must vote on it.
Mr Guerriero said: “If you are looking to play a certain style of football we would aspire to have some improvements done to allow that.
“With wear and tear we would be very interested in having a 3G surface. That would give us an avenue to help us develop our youth programme and have more people play on the pitch.”
Oxford City Stars secretary Richard Carpenter said: “We had a meeting with Mr Guerriero as we’re always happy to hold talks with any Oxford sporting team.”
London Welsh and Oxford United both declined to comment.
RELEGATION WON’T CHANGE PLAN
Oxford City is on a sound financial footing and Thomas Guerriero’s long-term plans for the club won’t be affected if they are relegated from the Skrill North league.
Mr Guerriero would eventually like to expand his operation and build more facilities in the rest of Oxfordshire.
The financier bought the club because it has always been his dream to become a part of English football and he believes Oxford would benefit from a stronger sporting reputation.