Oxford’s promotion is the stuff of dreams for co-owner Anindya Bakrie

Oxford’s co-owner Anindya Bakrie insists promotion to the Sky Bet Championship was “something you dream of every day” after the club ended a 25-year absence from the division with victory over Bolton in the League One play-off final.

Josh Murphy’s first-half double earned the U’s a 2-0 win in the showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday to ensure they will play second-tier football for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

Bakrie was unable to make the game due to a family emergency but watched on from his homeland Indonesia and was delighted to see Oxford finally make it through the play-offs after two previous failed attempts in the last five years.

Oxford United will play in the Championship for the first time in 25 years (Zac Goodwin/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “It’s something you dream of every day, you can make it and win at Wembley.

“It is indeed an exciting time to take part with this club who has made it to the Championship for the first time in the last 25 years.

“When they put the trophy on the TV, I was holding it. I felt like I was at Wembley. I was in Indonesia, the plane was booked, but sometimes family needs to come first when it comes to emergency, but the fans and my fellow co-owners were there.”

Head coach Des Buckingham arrived at the Kassam Stadium from Mumbai City in November with the club sitting second after Liam Manning left to join Bristol City.

Oxford-born Buckingham became the youngest coach to win an Indian Super League Shield, winning the league title in 2022-23 with Mumbai, and immediately impressed in England by securing the U’s a fifth-placed finish on the way to play-off victory.

Bakrie spoke highly of the Oxford boss, who was tied down on a long-term deal after previously being a youth player at the club.

He added: “I think Des fits right in and is willing to take the challenges.

“He sees eye to eye with the squad, the management team and he knows being an Oxford man he has a lot of hopes, aspirations and challenges also on his shoulders.

“I could see he was nervous in the beginning but that’s normal being a human being, he’s a fighter and he wants to do the best he can.

“I see confidence and progress, a journey, a desire to do better game by game which is all you can ask for as an owner.”

Des Buckingham won promotion in his first season at the club
Des Buckingham won promotion in his first season at the club (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Oxford celebrated promotion with a bus parade around the city on Monday, with thousands of fans flocking to honour the squad’s achievement.

Ipswich took the Championship by storm this season, finishing second to earn back-to-back promotions into the Premier League.

Bakrie did not rule out the chance of emulating the Tractor Boys but he will take it “one step at a time”.

He added: “We do want to keep our best players – it is going to be challenging we have no doubt.

“The Premier League is a dream for owners. Being a part of Oxford is something we are proud of and we take it very seriously.

“To be able to bring the club to the Championship is a dream and the aspiration is to move forward, but we will not think of it as an overnight thing.

“But, like anything in life, with hard work and togetherness through good times and bad, there is no reason why we should not dream big and get to the Premier League.”

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