Oxford United: Charlie Methven emerges as takeover candidate

Kassam Stadium
Oxford United currently share the Kassam Stadium with Premiership rugby union side London Welsh

A consortium led by local businessman Charlie Methven has emerged as a candidate to take over Oxford United.

The U's have been owned by businessman Ian Lenagan, who also owns rugby league side Wigan Warriors, for eight years.

Oxford, whose stadium is owned by ex-chairman Firoz Kassam, have been the subject of multiple takeover bids.

"Our bid is about clearing the debt and having equity, Oxford United has to have its own stadium," Methven told BBC Radio Oxford.

"It's essential, in the short term, that there is a significant injection of money into the playing side of our club.

"We have the money and we believe it's going to take £2.5m to £3m over the next two years."

The club finished eighth in League Two last season.

A consortium based in the West Midlands - believed to involve ex-Marussia F1 chairman Darryl Eales and former Watford FC chief executive Mark Ashton - is still thought to be the front-runner.

It is understood Lenagan, whose investment in the club is believed to be nearly £8m, has not been looking to offload the U's.

Meanwhile, Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth has proposed an idea for a new ground to be built north of the city at Water Eaton.

He said it was vital for the club to get a freehold stadium rather than the current situation of paying rent for the Kassam.

But the planning authority Cherwell District Council has raised concerns as the proposed site lies on greenbelt land.