A TEAM training at their stadium would not normally make headlines, but Oxford United’s time there this morning was significant.

It is thought to be the first occasion the U’s have had a session at the Kassam Stadium since May 2016, on the eve of their final game of the promotion season.

Relations with landlords Firoka, owned by Firoz Kassam, cooled significantly shortly afterwards, making a repeat of that impossible in the last three-and-a-half years.

But it appears with arbitration proceedings taken out by United over the service charge now settled, there has been a thaw.

Head coach Karl Robinson said: “When I first came we weren’t allowed in this room or that room.

“This is a tremendous step forward.

Also read: Oxford United boss Karl Robinson - We were below par at Exeter City and it hurts

“It’s only how a football club should be, we should have this warmth and this relationship.

“Long may this continue.”

The training session is not the only symbol of an improving situation.

United’s players and staff stayed over last night at one of the hotels next to the stadium owned by Kassam.

It meant a reduction in travel time in the wake of the Leasing.com Trophy game at Exeter City, with players not having to go home and then back in again for training in the morning.

And earlier this week it was announced Singha, who announced a sponsorship deal in summer 2018, would finally be available in hospitality areas from tomorrow’s game with Shrewsbury Town.

Robinson said: “The deal we got on the hotel was ridiculously cheap compared to anything we had anywhere else.

“It’s great, our players got back at 1am and then in the morning we just walked across and were ready to train.

“They’ve also allowed us to do it after the Man City game (on December 18), so this isn’t just a one-off.

“I owe a massive thank you to everybody that has allowed it to happen.”

United’s board have changed tack in the last 12 months and it appears to be bearing fruit.

Although they are searching for alternative sites for a stadium, leaving the Kassam would still be several years away, so there has been a renewed drive to improve the relationship.

Robinson said: “It’s funny how something negative happens in the past and you carry that anger with you.

“All of a sudden a small situation can be made into a really big one and everyone’s back gets up.

“You’re never going to solve a problem then.

“I’m really pleased we’re starting to talk and do the right things.

“The big thing is we have respect for each other and from a business point of view it works for everybody.

“The support we have from our board is very good.

“Because they’re in that same world they have an ability to communicate and not let emotion drive it.”