A Message From Our CEO, Tim Williams

The regular season may be over, but I can say with immense satisfaction that Oxford United carry on as we get set for our Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi-Final clash with Peterborough United.

After 46 games of the league campaign, the team delivered when it mattered most, winning four and drawing one of their final six games to secure a play-off position. We say it so often, but the English Football League is an unforgiving environment with its relentless fixture schedule. Despite several challenges faced across the course of the season, this team has shown quality, as well as a fight and togetherness to set up this hugely exciting Semi-Final.  

We now sit just two games away from a date at Wembley and we all know what’s at stake if we can make it there on May 18. However, there is a very tough test in our way against a Peterborough side who have already achieved cup success this season. 

The last meeting between the sides was one of the most enjoyable occasions I have had during my time here as CEO, with the team securing a fantastic 5-0 win, backed by strong support from you in the stands. And that support will be even more vital tonight at a sold-out Kassam, and then again at Peterborough on Wednesday night.  

No matter what happens in the Semi-Final though, this season has been one of significant progress both on and off the field. The Owners and Board are extremely ambitious, and they have continued to back and develop every aspect of the club. Success is never guaranteed in football, but to see the investment leading to results on the pitch is extremely pleasing and a reward for the commitment that all those inside the club have to Oxford United. 

The Men’s First Team has gone from strength to strength, with Liam Manning beginning the campaign before Des Buckingham was appointed as Head Coach in November. Of course, there have been ups and downs, but to reflect on the 46-league game season, it’s been one of consistent improvement. This is a credit to the very clear footballing strategy put in place by Ed Waldron and the rest of the recruitment department. 

There have also been changes in Des’s backroom staff since my last update, with Joe Moore arriving in March as First Team Coach Analyst. His experience working at the likes of Fulham, Arsenal Women and New Zealand Football means he is an important addition to the coaching team. 

While the season is yet to conclude, preparations for the 2024/25 season are well underway. Much will depend on how these final weeks pan out but, as ever, we will continue to improve our playing squad and set-up as we look to ensure each season is better than the one before it. 

It has also been a fantastic 12 months for the Women’s Football programme. Sam Rose became our first-ever full-time Manager of the Oxford United Women’s First Team and the Women’s Development Squad won a league and cup double for the second successive year, lifting the league title in a season where they remained undefeated. It shows that Oxford United have a very talented group of young players coming through the system as we look to develop the strength of our Women’s sides.  

The Men’s Academy have also had an incredibly strong season, embarking on some European adventures along the way. In February, 37 academy players flew out to compete in two prestigious tournaments in Barcelona at Under-12 and Under-13 levels, with our older group reaching the Semi-Final stages. This marked the first time a group from Oxford United below the Under-18s took part in a non-domestic competition. That has been backed up this week, with our Under-14 and Under-16 squads excelling in the Elite Neon Cup in Athens, Greece. These tournaments provide incredible opportunities and showcase our club as a place for the best young local players to come and develop. 

Away from the pitch, it has also been a strong season commercially, with the club on course to deliver record revenues. Season Ticket and match ticket sales were up on last year and our average home attendances are the highest they’ve been since we returned to the Football League, which highlights the ongoing support you show this football club. We have also had a record year in retail, as well as seeing the 2023/24 home kit becoming our fastest-selling ever.   

In addition, we developed a number of new partnerships, launched our Business Club, and significantly invested in our brand, marketing and matchdays. I’m so proud to have a group of people working for this club that are hungry and dedicated to take us forward. 

Our ambitions to build a new stadium have seen a number of important milestones reached, with our planning application submitted earlier this year and the Heads of Terms agreed with Oxfordshire County Council. However, we still have a long way to go in this process and, as always, we need your support to ensure this once-in-a-generation opportunity becomes a reality. This venue will provide a home for Oxford United and for entertainment, business, community, education and tourism, and will be something the whole county of Oxfordshire can be proud of. For the club, it’s a crucial step in safeguarding our future, and to ensuring we can continue to go from strength to strength across the Men’s and Women’s teams.  

Finally, a note to each and every one of you. As I have said, this season has brought plenty of ups and downs, but at home and away you have been there to back the team. In recent weeks and months, we have seen that connection with the players grow and I can’t wait to see the support you are going to give them this evening. 

The fans’ forum was a very positive evening and I want to thank everyone who organised the event and all those who contributed. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to take your questions and listen to your views. Your feedback is always welcomed, and the launch of our Fan Engagement Plan was a commitment to clearer and more consistent communication. 

Oxford United is about the people – the fans, the players, the team in the ticket office, the security staff, the stewards, the chefs, the grounds people, the volunteers and countless more. You all give your time and have so much passion and love for this club. Myself, the Chairman, the Owners and the Board are acutely aware of our responsibility as custodians and proud to be part of this club. Finally, thank you to Oxford United in the Community, OUSP and OxVox for your contributions throughout the campaign and continuing to bring us together. 

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, this season has been one to remember and, as I always say, the best is yet to come. 



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