Thai businessman buys Oxford United F.C.

Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth

UNITED fans have admitted to being ‘sceptical’ of the club’s new owner but said they would ‘wholeheartedly’ support him if he shares their ambitions,

Thai businessman Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth finally completed his takeover of Oxford United on Thursday and fans have broadly welcomed the move.

But a fans’ poll revealed that 59 per cent were ‘sceptical’ but said he deserved a chance at the helm.

The club’s supporters’ trust OxVox said he would received the ‘wholehearted support’ of the fans if he shared the their ambitions to see a ‘progressive football club’.

Chairman Jeremy Faulkner, in an official trust statement, said: “He takes over at a time when the club faces a number of key challenges on and off the field.

“We look forward to hearing Tiger’s plans and to working with him for the good of Oxford United and its supporters.”

“He joins a club whose fans are eager for it to build on the recent successes, and will offer their wholehearted support to any owner that shares their ambitions to see a progressive football club that OUFC fans and the wider community can be proud of.”

The new owner has already moved to quash any anxiety over his ambitions.

He said: “I would just like to say to the fans now that my ambitions match, and may even exceed, theirs.”

Another arm of the United fan base, the Yellow Army, echoed the sentiments of OxVox and said it was an ‘exciting time’ for the club – calling for fans to sell out the U’s next home game against Fleetwood Town on March 3.

They said: “As fans, we are passionate will support you as you help take our club forward.

“Let’s pack the stadium for Fleetwood. It’s a new start, an exciting time, let’s show how great we can be.”

The arrival of ‘Tiger’ brought an end to Darryl Eales’ three-and-a-half years in charge of the club.

Despite ploughing millions into the club Mr Eales made no secret of the fact that to take United to the next level it would need additional investment.

United fan George Dugdale was one of those sceptical fans but was also optimistic about the changes.

He said: “I’m pleased we have now got a fella who wants to own Oxford United doing just that.

“I’m obviously sceptical but best of luck to him.

“He needs to take advice from the right people, figure out the line between ambition and sustainability and get people back on board.”

Mr Dugdale also thanked the outgoing chairman describing his tenure, which included a promotion, two Wembley appearances and several FA Cup giant-killings as ‘a great ride to be on.’

OxVox also paid tribute to his ‘huge contribution to the club and were pleased he would be retaining a shareholder and a place on the board.

Mr Thanakarnjanasuth will give his first press conference as Oxford United chairman on Monday morning.

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