Lenagan admits Oxford United top job was tough but rewarding

Witney Gazette: Ian Lenagan at yesterday’s press conference Ian Lenagan at yesterday’s press conference

IAN Lenagan enjoyed his two-year spell as chairman of Oxford United, but admitted it was tough.

After yesterday handing over the day-to-day running of the club to Darryl Eales and Mark Ashton, the U’s joint-owner said there had been plenty of good times during his tenure.

But United’s failure to reach the play-offs last season was a huge low, and Lenagan conceded a delay in appointing a permanent successor to Chris Wilder may have contributed to their downfall.

However, the 68-year-old does not regret his decision to appoint Mickey Lewis as caretaker manager.

“It has taken its strain, of course it has,” he said.

“But there are the compensations because it has been a lot of fun.

“It was not a lot of fun at the end of last season, but we’ve had some good times.

“I have particularly enjoyed the young players coming through.

“Whether with Gary Waddock or now Michael Appleton, there is a belief that squad development is the future for Oxford United and I am very proud that I have forced that through over the last two years. That will continue.”

He added: “We are talking here almost as if I’m going, but I’m certainly not.

“The fact I am now on the Football League and FA board was one of the key factors in now needing a new chairman and chief executive and for me to focus on the stadium bid.”

When Wilder quit United at the end of January, the side looked nailed on for a top-seven finish, with the possibility of automatic promotion.

However, a poor run of form saw Lewis replaced by Gary Waddock.

But his arrival did little to halt the slide as United dropped down the league to finish eighth.

“Whether with Mickey Lewis or a replacement manager I thought we would get to the play-offs,” Lenagan said. “So did almost everybody else.

“Do I take responsibility for a two or three-week delay? Yes, but that’s all.

“I would have made the decision to appoint Mickey Lewis as an interim manager again, but it didn’t work out. That’s life.

“Sometimes you fail and I don’t mind occasionally failing. You can’t get it 100 per cent right.

“But I have to say that there has been nobody prepared to put in as much time or money as me and my two sons have.

“We are appreciated by the vast majority of Oxford United fans.”

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Comments (9)

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8:29am Sat 5 Jul 14

dave from witney says...

Two or three week delay. In case his memory is going we without a manager for two months. All this talk, still no mention of player investment.
Two or three week delay. In case his memory is going we without a manager for two months. All this talk, still no mention of player investment. dave from witney
  • Score: 3

10:19am Sat 5 Jul 14

London_Ox says...

Where is went wrong Mr Lenagan is that you got cocky and complacent when Wilder left and you failed to realise that sometimes indecision is worse than taking a calculated punt. Going with Mickey and Gary were the wrong choices but the main one for me, was not giving the playing side a shot in the arm with new blood in January, unlike most of our rivals. I do feel at we added 3/4 decent players in Jan and also got a much higher calibre manager for an interim period until the end of the season only, we would have made the playoffs comfortably and given ourselves a fair crack.
Where is went wrong Mr Lenagan is that you got cocky and complacent when Wilder left and you failed to realise that sometimes indecision is worse than taking a calculated punt. Going with Mickey and Gary were the wrong choices but the main one for me, was not giving the playing side a shot in the arm with new blood in January, unlike most of our rivals. I do feel at we added 3/4 decent players in Jan and also got a much higher calibre manager for an interim period until the end of the season only, we would have made the playoffs comfortably and given ourselves a fair crack. London_Ox
  • Score: 1

2:53pm Sat 5 Jul 14

Richard Wickson says...

London_Ox wrote:
Where is went wrong Mr Lenagan is that you got cocky and complacent when Wilder left and you failed to realise that sometimes indecision is worse than taking a calculated punt. Going with Mickey and Gary were the wrong choices but the main one for me, was not giving the playing side a shot in the arm with new blood in January, unlike most of our rivals. I do feel at we added 3/4 decent players in Jan and also got a much higher calibre manager for an interim period until the end of the season only, we would have made the playoffs comfortably and given ourselves a fair crack.
I totally agree and I know the thumbs down brigade will come in heavily but I personally think Lenagan should have sold up completely. Only time will tell if the new lot together with Lenagan will be good for the club but on what little we have heard the Methven bid, to me at least, looked the best for the club and Lenagan had said he wanted what was best for the club not what's best for himself, however he has gone for what, to me again, is what he wanted not what the club needs. The Methven bid appeared to have the funds to either move to a new stadium, hopefully better designed than the concrete slab Kassam currently robs the club for or buy the Kassam and in yesterday's OM they made it plain the new stadium was the favoured option. We do, however, have to support the club come what may and hope the new team gets the ball rolling on new strikers and a decent coach to support Appleton. A successful season is needed after last seasons shambolic last quarter due in no small part to Lenagans indecision bought about in part, as we now know, by his prolonged negotiations with Ashton and Eales. They now need to repay the fans big time.
[quote][p][bold]London_Ox[/bold] wrote: Where is went wrong Mr Lenagan is that you got cocky and complacent when Wilder left and you failed to realise that sometimes indecision is worse than taking a calculated punt. Going with Mickey and Gary were the wrong choices but the main one for me, was not giving the playing side a shot in the arm with new blood in January, unlike most of our rivals. I do feel at we added 3/4 decent players in Jan and also got a much higher calibre manager for an interim period until the end of the season only, we would have made the playoffs comfortably and given ourselves a fair crack.[/p][/quote]I totally agree and I know the thumbs down brigade will come in heavily but I personally think Lenagan should have sold up completely. Only time will tell if the new lot together with Lenagan will be good for the club but on what little we have heard the Methven bid, to me at least, looked the best for the club and Lenagan had said he wanted what was best for the club not what's best for himself, however he has gone for what, to me again, is what he wanted not what the club needs. The Methven bid appeared to have the funds to either move to a new stadium, hopefully better designed than the concrete slab Kassam currently robs the club for or buy the Kassam and in yesterday's OM they made it plain the new stadium was the favoured option. We do, however, have to support the club come what may and hope the new team gets the ball rolling on new strikers and a decent coach to support Appleton. A successful season is needed after last seasons shambolic last quarter due in no small part to Lenagans indecision bought about in part, as we now know, by his prolonged negotiations with Ashton and Eales. They now need to repay the fans big time. Richard Wickson
  • Score: 2

6:11pm Sat 5 Jul 14

GAVLA says...

Who'd want to own a football club? Especially Oxford United. I cannot believe the stick so called fans give Lenagan on this forum. The guy has made mistakes yes , and it was particularly frustrating watching the team implode last season. However the guy has pumped serious money into this football club. I also cannot believe people are suggesting the Methven bid would be better for the football club when they know little, if anything about the structure of the new deal and investment, and hardly anything , about the rival bid apart from the OM coverage. Unbelievable! Why can't people say anything positive and constructive ! Let's give the new management team a chance and see what happens. Win or lose Up the U's
Who'd want to own a football club? Especially Oxford United. I cannot believe the stick so called fans give Lenagan on this forum. The guy has made mistakes yes , and it was particularly frustrating watching the team implode last season. However the guy has pumped serious money into this football club. I also cannot believe people are suggesting the Methven bid would be better for the football club when they know little, if anything about the structure of the new deal and investment, and hardly anything , about the rival bid apart from the OM coverage. Unbelievable! Why can't people say anything positive and constructive ! Let's give the new management team a chance and see what happens. Win or lose Up the U's GAVLA
  • Score: 2

7:35am Sun 6 Jul 14

London_Ox says...

GAVLA wrote:
Who'd want to own a football club? Especially Oxford United. I cannot believe the stick so called fans give Lenagan on this forum. The guy has made mistakes yes , and it was particularly frustrating watching the team implode last season. However the guy has pumped serious money into this football club. I also cannot believe people are suggesting the Methven bid would be better for the football club when they know little, if anything about the structure of the new deal and investment, and hardly anything , about the rival bid apart from the OM coverage. Unbelievable! Why can't people say anything positive and constructive ! Let's give the new management team a chance and see what happens. Win or lose Up the U's
"Who'd want to own a football club? Especially Oxford United" - What kind of statement is that?! You make it sound like it's mission impossible?! This so called fan has been supporting the club for over 30 years and I have put plenty of my own money through the tills in terms of tix and travel so I have a right like anybody else to say my piece.

It's fantastic IL is bankrolling us but would you continue to support him if for the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years we remained static in terms of no better than A div 2 also ran season after season.

I will say something positive and constructive when the club shows some ambition so I await what now happens on the player recruitment front.

People should think before they speak instead of sprouting dribble..
[quote][p][bold]GAVLA[/bold] wrote: Who'd want to own a football club? Especially Oxford United. I cannot believe the stick so called fans give Lenagan on this forum. The guy has made mistakes yes , and it was particularly frustrating watching the team implode last season. However the guy has pumped serious money into this football club. I also cannot believe people are suggesting the Methven bid would be better for the football club when they know little, if anything about the structure of the new deal and investment, and hardly anything , about the rival bid apart from the OM coverage. Unbelievable! Why can't people say anything positive and constructive ! Let's give the new management team a chance and see what happens. Win or lose Up the U's[/p][/quote]"Who'd want to own a football club? Especially Oxford United" - What kind of statement is that?! You make it sound like it's mission impossible?! This so called fan has been supporting the club for over 30 years and I have put plenty of my own money through the tills in terms of tix and travel so I have a right like anybody else to say my piece. It's fantastic IL is bankrolling us but would you continue to support him if for the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years we remained static in terms of no better than A div 2 also ran season after season. I will say something positive and constructive when the club shows some ambition so I await what now happens on the player recruitment front. People should think before they speak instead of sprouting dribble.. London_Ox
  • Score: 2

9:28am Sun 6 Jul 14

GAVLA says...

The only drivel quoted on the website is the endless negative comments . I would suggest owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, because individuals like you would always find something to moan about. Yes Mistakes have been made, and people should be held to account for their decisions/ actions, but some of the ill informed comments on here are staggering.
In addition, the people that constantly bang on that they've paid their entrance fee so they have the right to moan is a flawed one. If you don't like what's happening stop paying your money and go somewhere else to do your moaning. Ian lenagan has pumped over£6million into the club, which based on your logic gives him more right to do some moaning.
The only drivel quoted on the website is the endless negative comments . I would suggest owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, because individuals like you would always find something to moan about. Yes Mistakes have been made, and people should be held to account for their decisions/ actions, but some of the ill informed comments on here are staggering. In addition, the people that constantly bang on that they've paid their entrance fee so they have the right to moan is a flawed one. If you don't like what's happening stop paying your money and go somewhere else to do your moaning. Ian lenagan has pumped over£6million into the club, which based on your logic gives him more right to do some moaning. GAVLA
  • Score: -4

9:48am Sun 6 Jul 14

London_Ox says...

GAVLA wrote:
The only drivel quoted on the website is the endless negative comments . I would suggest owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, because individuals like you would always find something to moan about. Yes Mistakes have been made, and people should be held to account for their decisions/ actions, but some of the ill informed comments on here are staggering.
In addition, the people that constantly bang on that they've paid their entrance fee so they have the right to moan is a flawed one. If you don't like what's happening stop paying your money and go somewhere else to do your moaning. Ian lenagan has pumped over£6million into the club, which based on your logic gives him more right to do some moaning.
Once good football and business decisions are made, then I'm sure the negative comments will continue. After what happened this season and the unneccessary freefall, what do you expect people to say, positive things?!

And saying owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, isn't that a negative statement in itself based on your own logic?!

So people who have spent thousands on going to games, don't have a right to an opinion now?!

If you are an owner of a football club and you largely finance the operation, then that's great and you get the decision making perks associated with that but a club without it's fans, is not a football club, its just a soulless entity. so you are not making any sense.

You obviously have low standards in life if you are positive and content about what is happening at Oxford United.. I'm a pretty ambitious kinda guy and like to see progression and a winning mentality not tolerate abysmal performances on and off the field.

The only thing I agree with is that IL has more right to moan.. Absolutely.. but then he's the one who's pulling the strings in terms of the outcomes this season so he has only himself to blame if he does.
[quote][p][bold]GAVLA[/bold] wrote: The only drivel quoted on the website is the endless negative comments . I would suggest owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, because individuals like you would always find something to moan about. Yes Mistakes have been made, and people should be held to account for their decisions/ actions, but some of the ill informed comments on here are staggering. In addition, the people that constantly bang on that they've paid their entrance fee so they have the right to moan is a flawed one. If you don't like what's happening stop paying your money and go somewhere else to do your moaning. Ian lenagan has pumped over£6million into the club, which based on your logic gives him more right to do some moaning.[/p][/quote]Once good football and business decisions are made, then I'm sure the negative comments will continue. After what happened this season and the unneccessary freefall, what do you expect people to say, positive things?! And saying owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, isn't that a negative statement in itself based on your own logic?! So people who have spent thousands on going to games, don't have a right to an opinion now?! If you are an owner of a football club and you largely finance the operation, then that's great and you get the decision making perks associated with that but a club without it's fans, is not a football club, its just a soulless entity. so you are not making any sense. You obviously have low standards in life if you are positive and content about what is happening at Oxford United.. I'm a pretty ambitious kinda guy and like to see progression and a winning mentality not tolerate abysmal performances on and off the field. The only thing I agree with is that IL has more right to moan.. Absolutely.. but then he's the one who's pulling the strings in terms of the outcomes this season so he has only himself to blame if he does. London_Ox
  • Score: 1

9:40am Mon 7 Jul 14

Richard Wickson says...

London_Ox wrote:
GAVLA wrote:
The only drivel quoted on the website is the endless negative comments . I would suggest owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, because individuals like you would always find something to moan about. Yes Mistakes have been made, and people should be held to account for their decisions/ actions, but some of the ill informed comments on here are staggering.
In addition, the people that constantly bang on that they've paid their entrance fee so they have the right to moan is a flawed one. If you don't like what's happening stop paying your money and go somewhere else to do your moaning. Ian lenagan has pumped over£6million into the club, which based on your logic gives him more right to do some moaning.
Once good football and business decisions are made, then I'm sure the negative comments will continue. After what happened this season and the unneccessary freefall, what do you expect people to say, positive things?!

And saying owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, isn't that a negative statement in itself based on your own logic?!

So people who have spent thousands on going to games, don't have a right to an opinion now?!

If you are an owner of a football club and you largely finance the operation, then that's great and you get the decision making perks associated with that but a club without it's fans, is not a football club, its just a soulless entity. so you are not making any sense.

You obviously have low standards in life if you are positive and content about what is happening at Oxford United.. I'm a pretty ambitious kinda guy and like to see progression and a winning mentality not tolerate abysmal performances on and off the field.

The only thing I agree with is that IL has more right to moan.. Absolutely.. but then he's the one who's pulling the strings in terms of the outcomes this season so he has only himself to blame if he does.
Hear hear you make good sensible comments. Yes, I like you, have my moans but I believe we both think before we have our say. Ian Lenagan has put in a fair bit of money but he, like any League 2 club owner knows there is little if anything at all to be made in money terms. He's a wealthy man and if he thought owning OU was like owning Wigan RLFC he was sadly mistaken. He has made several bad decisions owning OU, not the least the delay in bringing in a new manager after Wilder ran out, Wilders parting shot that he was going to a club with a Chairman who is a footballing man said it all. Anyone who owns a club at this level needs to have an open wallet or not own a club at all. We as fans pay a decent amount to travel to and watch games, home and away, unlike IL we are not wealthy, nor do we have big ego's. We want a club that has pride and determination and won't stagnate, if the chairman cannot afford the club he should get out, the Methven bid gave him a chance to do just that and he wanted to stay involved. If the club doesn't get in decent players then we will again stagnate, we have some good young lads who with decent support and coaching will come thru but they do need experience around them, at present we have little of that. We are desperate for goalscorers and have been since we returned to the Football League, Ashton has said we let players worth 30 goals a season leave so it's imperative they are replaced. Some might consider what I have said to be a moan, I feel as a ticket buying supporter I am entitled to have a say and that what I am doing. Believe me if I was wealthy I would buy the club and happily take supporters comments on board, sadly I know I never will but will continue to support and have my say!
[quote][p][bold]London_Ox[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GAVLA[/bold] wrote: The only drivel quoted on the website is the endless negative comments . I would suggest owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, because individuals like you would always find something to moan about. Yes Mistakes have been made, and people should be held to account for their decisions/ actions, but some of the ill informed comments on here are staggering. In addition, the people that constantly bang on that they've paid their entrance fee so they have the right to moan is a flawed one. If you don't like what's happening stop paying your money and go somewhere else to do your moaning. Ian lenagan has pumped over£6million into the club, which based on your logic gives him more right to do some moaning.[/p][/quote]Once good football and business decisions are made, then I'm sure the negative comments will continue. After what happened this season and the unneccessary freefall, what do you expect people to say, positive things?! And saying owning a football club is a thankless task and mission impossible, isn't that a negative statement in itself based on your own logic?! So people who have spent thousands on going to games, don't have a right to an opinion now?! If you are an owner of a football club and you largely finance the operation, then that's great and you get the decision making perks associated with that but a club without it's fans, is not a football club, its just a soulless entity. so you are not making any sense. You obviously have low standards in life if you are positive and content about what is happening at Oxford United.. I'm a pretty ambitious kinda guy and like to see progression and a winning mentality not tolerate abysmal performances on and off the field. The only thing I agree with is that IL has more right to moan.. Absolutely.. but then he's the one who's pulling the strings in terms of the outcomes this season so he has only himself to blame if he does.[/p][/quote]Hear hear you make good sensible comments. Yes, I like you, have my moans but I believe we both think before we have our say. Ian Lenagan has put in a fair bit of money but he, like any League 2 club owner knows there is little if anything at all to be made in money terms. He's a wealthy man and if he thought owning OU was like owning Wigan RLFC he was sadly mistaken. He has made several bad decisions owning OU, not the least the delay in bringing in a new manager after Wilder ran out, Wilders parting shot that he was going to a club with a Chairman who is a footballing man said it all. Anyone who owns a club at this level needs to have an open wallet or not own a club at all. We as fans pay a decent amount to travel to and watch games, home and away, unlike IL we are not wealthy, nor do we have big ego's. We want a club that has pride and determination and won't stagnate, if the chairman cannot afford the club he should get out, the Methven bid gave him a chance to do just that and he wanted to stay involved. If the club doesn't get in decent players then we will again stagnate, we have some good young lads who with decent support and coaching will come thru but they do need experience around them, at present we have little of that. We are desperate for goalscorers and have been since we returned to the Football League, Ashton has said we let players worth 30 goals a season leave so it's imperative they are replaced. Some might consider what I have said to be a moan, I feel as a ticket buying supporter I am entitled to have a say and that what I am doing. Believe me if I was wealthy I would buy the club and happily take supporters comments on board, sadly I know I never will but will continue to support and have my say! Richard Wickson
  • Score: 1

6:17pm Mon 7 Jul 14

Beau champ mummy says...

Think ur go down as worst chairman we have ever had
Think ur go down as worst chairman we have ever had Beau champ mummy
  • Score: 0
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