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Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 12:09 UK

Credit woes hurts U's stadium bid

Oxford United

Oxford United's attempts to buy the Kassam Stadium from their former owner are being hit by the credit crunch.

Ex-chairman Firoz Kassam, the owner of the ground, will not budge on the agreed asking price of 13.5m - even though property prices are falling.

Current United chairman Nick Merry told BBC Oxford: "Obviously with the [financial] climate at the moment it's getting tougher all the time.

"Without the stadium you can't sustain the club."

United's average home attendances this season are under 4,500 - as compared to over 6,000 two years ago in their first season back in non-league.

I have been working on this [the stadium deal] for two years and if I didn't think there was any hope I wouldn't keep doing it

Oxford chairman Nick Merry
"We lose money every month and gates fall because of performances on the field," Merry added.

It is understood stadium rent rises have come through "cost of living" clauses, though Merry will not be drawn on that issue.

"We have the best support there is and I am grateful for that, but when people stay away it hurts us.

"I have been working on this [the stadium deal] for two years and if I didn't think there was any hope I wouldn't keep doing it.

"We are constantly trying to put something together that makes commercial sense for the football club. There is a price put in play - that's the prerogative of the seller and we are just trying to make it work with what we are trying to do."

The U's have played at the Kassam Stadium since 2001.


see also
Oxford hope for stadium progress
15 Apr 08 |  Oxford Utd
Merry completes Oxford takeover
22 Mar 06 |  Oxford Utd


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