Lenagan targets Championship in five years for Oxford United
In a rare interview, the U’s backer confirmed that the club’s aim is to be in the Championship within five years – but that they will get there the right way.
And that means being run as they are now, on a sound financial footing.
“The job that Chris and Kelvin have done is magnificent,” Lenagan said.
“Oxford United has been around for a long time and the plan is gradually and gently run it better and better to move up through the leagues.
“We made a mistake at first because when we went down into the Conference, we threw money at it for a year to try and get back – and that was the wrong way to do it.
“But since then we have done it slowly, gently, carefully and managed the business properly with good people of integrity and who can feel part of Oxford United.
“Kelvin typifies that and Chris Wilder is exactly the same.
“Chris is a great manager because he understands budgets.
“We gave him more money this year because he made a very good case that a couple of hundred grand extra would allow Oxford to move into the play-offs, which is what we want.
“Our ambitions are clear. We want to move up a division and into the Championship within a five-year period. That’s the target – we might achieve it, we might not.”
As well as two promotions, trying to buy the Kassam Stadium remains a priority.
And Lenagan is hopeful that is still a realistic possibility.
“We are in a good position now because the club is stable and in a relatively good position on and off the field,” he explained.
“Yes we would like to buy the stadium at the right price, with the right conditions.
“Our relationships with Firoz Kassam are good.
“He’s a business guy, I am a business guy and we might eventually possibly find the right arrangement that works.
“We will continue to work at that, but we will not overpay.”
Lenagan rarely speaks publicly, but that, he says, is because of the efficiency that the club is run.
“I got involved in the football club because I have lived in Oxfordshire for 31 years and it was obvious that it needed to be returned to the fans.
“Since then me and my family have enjoyed it immensely.
“But I am low profile.
“When you have a chairman and manager who manage the club well there’s no point me looking for the publicity of talking in public.
“My son is the general manager of the youth and community side of the business, so we are heavily involved.
“I don’t get to as many games as I would like, probably one in every three or four, but I enjoy it when I come and Saturday was special.
“We are passionately involved. And I don’t just mean financially, I mean in terms of the good management of the business.
“We have some difficulities occasionally and we step in and handle our way through those difficulties.
“Oxford has been enjoyable over the past three years and if we can do what we want with it, I don’t mind being low profile.”