COMMENT: Oxford United takeover talk distracts from squad building

The Oxford Times: Oxford United’s players began their preparations for the new  season this week (above), but as it stands Johnny Mullins (left) is one of only 11 fit senior players in the squad  Picture: Cliff Hide Order no: OX68316 Oxford United’s players began their preparations for the new season this week (above), but as it stands Johnny Mullins (left) is one of only 11 fit senior players in the squad Picture: Cliff Hide Order no: OX68316

WHILE the tug-of-war continues over Oxford United’s long-term future at boardroom level, there is a danger the day-to-day business is being harmed.

It is just five weeks until the season kicks off at home to Burton Albion and as it stands the first-team squad looks threadbare.

Despite two months of searching, head coach Gary Waddock has only been able to bring in striker Danny Hylton.

Only Exeter City, who are operating under a transfer embargo, and Accrington Stanley have made fewer signings than the U’s in Sky Bet League Two this summer.

Waddock has a 23-man squad, but it is light on experience.

Of the group, five have never played a minute of senior football and another five have featured in fewer than 15 first-team games.

Add in injuries to Ryan Clarke and Andy Whing, who could miss the start of the season, and the U’s are left with 11 senior players.

The club’s policy of promoting young, homegrown talent is a good one, but they need support.

It is clear reinforcements are needed before the campaign begins if Waddock is to have the tools he needs to build a side which can compete.

This is a crucial phase of the calendar and as long as there is uncertainty over the club’s ownership it is difficult to see how further signings can be sealed.

Bookmakers already believe United are twice as likely to get relegated as they are to win the league next season.

The longer this limbo goes on for, the more the odds will stack up against the U’s.

Regardless of whoever ends up owning the club, it is vital not to lose focus on what happens on the pitch.

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11:48am Fri 4 Jul 14

Richard Wickson says...

I, to a certain extent, agree that this is a distraction the players and manager do not need, but let's be totally realistic about the whole picture. I believe Gary Waddock has been told he has very limited funds for squad building therefore any takeover could be good for the club, manager and players. The problem, as I see it at the moment, is Mr. Lenagans silence. Why doesn't he make the fans aware what is happening ? After all as the present owner he needs our season ticket money! As the article says he hasn't spoken to the OM since April, the season ended miserably in May so you would have thought the Chairman would have spoken to the OM after the season ended, most Chairman spoke to their local press then. Could the silence mean he is close to a deal with the Ashton group so only see's Charlie Methvens bid as a nuisance? On the face of it the Methven bid looks a good one for the immediate and long term future. Will the Ashton group now speak to the OM ? Will Mr Lenagan speak to the OM? Let's hope someone breaks the deafening silence !
I, to a certain extent, agree that this is a distraction the players and manager do not need, but let's be totally realistic about the whole picture. I believe Gary Waddock has been told he has very limited funds for squad building therefore any takeover could be good for the club, manager and players. The problem, as I see it at the moment, is Mr. Lenagans silence. Why doesn't he make the fans aware what is happening ? After all as the present owner he needs our season ticket money! As the article says he hasn't spoken to the OM since April, the season ended miserably in May so you would have thought the Chairman would have spoken to the OM after the season ended, most Chairman spoke to their local press then. Could the silence mean he is close to a deal with the Ashton group so only see's Charlie Methvens bid as a nuisance? On the face of it the Methven bid looks a good one for the immediate and long term future. Will the Ashton group now speak to the OM ? Will Mr Lenagan speak to the OM? Let's hope someone breaks the deafening silence ! Richard Wickson
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