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Football fans told to drink at stadium as Priory stays shut
OXFORD United fans have called on supporters to get behind the 12th Man Bar, as the future of the Priory pub remains unclear.
The Priory, next to the Kassam Stadium in Grenoble Road, was used as the match day bar for U’s fans but shut suddenly in June.
Former Oxford chairman Firoz Kassam’s company Firoka owns the site and after it closed he said it would function as a pub again in the future.
But asked when there would be an announcement on its future, Mr Kassam said: “If and when we have a comment.”
Former landlord of the Priory pub Tim Rackley said it needed “someone with a lot of money” to take it on.
He said: “It needs a lot of work doing. Unless someone comes in and starts waving money about it will be left as it is.”
In June the Oxford Mail reported fans calling for Mr Kassam, who also owns the stadium and nearby Ozone Leisure Park, to take action to stop the pub in Grenoble Road becoming a magnet for vandals.
Mr Rackley had joined forces with Barry King, landlord of the next nearest pub, the Catherine Wheel, in Sandford-on Thames.
Mr King agreed to let Mr Rackley put on special events, but it only lasted for two matches.
Now Oxford fans are being urged to use the 12th Man Bar in the stadium.
The bar opened this summer for the first game of the season against Bury.
It is free for season ticket holders and non-season tickets pay a £1 donation to the 12th Man Fund.
Last week it was also announced that the club will benefit financially from work to improve hospitality at the stadium after an agreement with Firoka.
It will receive a share of beverage sales in the stadium’s hospitality areas including the 12th Man Bar although the exact split has not been revealed.
Abingdon resident Joe Nicholls said: “It was disappointing the Priory pub closed but the 12th Man Bar is excellent and it is great the club is benefiting from it.”
Phil Fugle, of Easy Hanney, said: “The Priory was popular but the bar is more convenient.”
Oxvox chairman Mark Sennett said: “It is sad what has happened to the Priory but there is little we can do now apart from get behind the bar.”
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