OxVox News - Issue 1 - Oct 2020

OxVox

OxVox News
Issue 1
October 2020

VOX

Hi everyone

Welcome the first of what we hope will be regular

newsletter updates on what OxVox has been up to.

I hope this update

finds you well and that the

disappointment of just missing

out on promotion has been

eased by what has been an

extremely exciting start to

the transfer window. Given

everything that has happened

this year I can’t help but feel

proud of where our club is now.

Both on and off the field some

really important progress has

been made and while this year

has thrown up some major

challenges, the club continue

to do many of the right things

that gives us confidence in

the future. As a supporter, the

signings of Matty Taylor and

Cameron Brannagan show huge

intent. It is also heartening to

see the club continue to invest

in young and exciting talent,

a policy that has been the

hallmark of our recent success.

Behind the scenes, we continue to

hold a regular dialogue with the

club and ask them questions from

our membership. We have video

meetings pencilled in this week

with Tiger and Zaki and later with

David Garth and Niall McWilliams.

We are also setting up a meeting

with financial director Tim Davies

soon. We intend to follow up on

several topics we have been in

contact about including season

tickets and how we transition back

to supporters at the ground, the

progress made with the stadium,

and the financial implications of

the pandemic and how it affects

the club going forward.

We will of course feed all this

information back to members as

we get it.

We have also been working

hard on options for holding the

OxVox AGM. While we have

been able to hold our first inperson

committee meeting since

lockdown, all socially distanced

and held outdoors, (meeting

notes to follow soon) we doubt

the same could be replicated for

the larger number at an AGM.

At present we are looking into

the feasibility of holding it over

a Zoom meeting. We will keep

you updated on that. As part of

the AGM we also tend to give a

brief account of the projects we

have undertaken during the year.

This of course has been a very

different year with some new

challenges, but the following is a

summary of what, with your help,

we have been up to.

The East Stand Mural

It seems a lifetime away but back

when we could visit the stadium

OxVox set about organising a

mural to cover the back of the

East stand. We were aware that

the Ultras had decided that this

would be their last season and

we wanted something to both fill

the void and to celebrate some

of the amazing history of the

club. It started a long process of

consultation and meetings with

the stadium owners and then a

vote for supporters to choose

their favourite pictures.

Continued on p2

OX VOX

THE OXFORD UNITED

SUPPORTERS’ TRUST

Issue 1 Oct 2020


Continued

We also appealed to supporters

to donate both financially and

with physical help and you

responded magnificently on both

fronts. The Mural went up in time

to get one of its first outings

against Manchester City and

hopefully the extra colour has

brightened the stadium up for

everyone.

Thanks to Polythene UK and

Acute for their help with this

project.

Fans’ Flags for the play offs

Having finally reached the

play offs via PPG, we at OxVox

were keen to make sure that

fans were represented at the

games and through constructive

dialogue with the club we were

able to secure permission to

take flags from supporters and

place them at the stadium for

our semi-final home leg. Again,

the response was fabulous and

armed with over 50 flags and

the Jim Smith and other surfers

we decorated the North and

parts of the East stand. The

response from Karl, the players

and supporters was great and

we hope it lifted spirits a little

when, really, we all desperately

wanted to be there to create the

atmosphere ourselves. Having

worked with the club to obtain

permission we were happy to

be able to replicate the flag

display at Wembley for the final.

While the result was a massive

disappointment for all of us,

the work put in by the fantastic

volunteers and fans who donated

their flags made us incredibly

proud of this fabulous fanbase.

Please note that flags not yet

collected are now stored securely

in the ground and will be able

to be collected at our first game

back.

Signed shirts auction for Fenton

Tutty fundraiser

At times when things are

toughest the Oxford supporters

come together and help each

other in ways that always make

me feel proud to be a Yellow.

When the terrible news of

Fenton’s illness came out we

wanted to do our bit to help

the campaign. We managed to

secure home and away shirts and

the club had them signed by all

the players. We then auctioned

them off and ridiculously

generous donations from Connor

Gerkin and Stewart Rigby meant

we were able to add £509 to the

cause. Apologies to both for my

ham-fisted packaging to send

them to you but hopefully they

are proudly displayed on your

walls now.

Training ground tour

Having watched the training

ground take shape and knowing

its importance as a hub for the

club moving forward we were

keen to let some of our members

take a look. We put the offer

out and the places were very

quickly snapped up. The club

did an excellent job of looking

after us on the day. We were

treated to a tour of the facility.

We heard from the impressive

Dan Harris about our academy,

and the highly entertaining Dan

Bond gave us an insight into

video analysis that really showed

the depth of preparation that

goes into every game. Karl then

showed us around the pitches

and gave a fabulous talk before

Mous, Fosu and Cadden spoke

incredibly well about the club

and answered questions. All in

all, an amazing day and we were

organising another when the

pandemic put that plan on hold.

We fully intend to get as many

members as we can to see this

great facility when the situation

allows.

Cut outs

Having been in consultation

with the club regarding cut outs

we wanted to get involved and

make sure some very worthy

people were represented. OxVox

ensured that Womble was

the first cut out to be ordered

and we also paid to have Alan

Wolstencroft (who does amazing

charity work in an Oxford United

mad area of Sierra Leone) and

Momoh to take their rightful

places at the games.

2


Play off video for players

As with so much of what we do

it is the members and supporters

that really make the difference.

When we put out the call out

for you to video your messages

of support and cheers for the

players we were overwhelmed by

the response. We left the artistic

work in the very capable hands

of Connor Casey who has made

numerous, fantastic videos of the

club and who offered his help

for free. We were really pleased

with the results and delighted to

hear back personally from Karl

that the video, the flags and all

the messages from supporters

had really made a difference with

him and the players, so thank you

from them and thank you again

from us!

Jim Smith surfer

Legend is a word that gets

bandied about a little too freely

in the football word but when

describing Jim Smith it sits

very comfortably indeed. Jim’s

passing was felt throughout

the club and those of us lucky

enough to watch his teams

play and reach the very highest

levels felt his passing, and that

of Womble, marked the end

of that glorious era. It was

incredibly heartening to see the

response from fans young and

old to this sad news. While Jim’s

achievements are celebrated

in the mural above the East

Stand, we wanted to produce

something immediate to show

our appreciation for the great

man. Having spoken to

Oggie we were able

to cover the price of

a surfer dedicated

to Jim and he set

about designing

and producing the

tribute surfer that

was unveiled at the

Man City game. A

huge thank you to

Oggie for the hard

work and everyone

who donated. We

are currently in

discussions about

a more permanent

tribute to Jim and we will

keep you updated with

that.

Nico Jones sponsorship

Once again OxVox took on

sponsorship of a player’s

shirt this season. We wanted

to choose an up and coming

player who represented our

academy and who we hoped

had a real chance of making

a mark in the first team. It was

with great pride that we watched

our sponsored player Nico Jones

become the youngest captain

of Oxford United and fingers

crossed he continues to progress

and add to his appearances next

season.

Hopefully we will get to talk to

members about these projects

via an online AGM soon, but I

hope this gives a little look at

some of the projects we have

been involved in this season. Of

course our main and continuing

work is to keep an open and

honest dialogue with the club

and to ensure we forward the

concerns of our members,

and to keep an eye on the

running of the club and its

continued safety and success.

As mentioned earlier we have

meetings in place to address

many of the current issues but

again your feedback is vital. If

you have areas of concern or

ideas you want us to put to the

club then please contact us at

enquiries@oxvox.org.uk and we

will try to address them.

Our strength as a trust is

our members and the more

members we have the bigger

voice we have within the club.

With renewals coming up we

ask that you encourage your

friends and family to join us and

add to that voice and help push

us and our club forward. Rather

obviously, if every one of you

reading this encouraged just

one new member to sign up, we

would double our membership!

Thank you and as ever COYY!

Paul ”

3


OxVox members update from

12 September 2020

4

Hi everyone

With the season

now upon us we

have been holding

meetings with both

Tiger and Zaki via

Zoom, and in person

(socially distanced

of course) with

Niall McWilliams

and David Garth.

We went through

a number of issues

and spoke at length

regarding plans for

the coming season.

The conversation

moved back and

forth on a number

of subjects but we

will try to separate

the issues here and

allow members to

get a feel for the

main points we got

from the meetings.

The Stadium

During both meetings we

brought up the subject of the

stadium. Despite the fabulous

work done to take us to the play

off final last season and the work

behind the scenes to provide us

some stability, both physically

at our training ground and

financially with the continued

success of our recruitment model

and external support, we feel the

question of our stadium remains

one of the key factors in our long

term success moving forward.

The clock has been ticking for

some time now and we stressed

at both meetings that if we

reached the point where our only

option was to re-sign the deal

we have now, a huge opportunity

would have been missed and

our future would continue to be

controlled by this one issue.

Zaki was open about the issues

faced and assured us that

while meetings had become

difficult with the restrictions

and distances involved, they

continued to push forward on

all fronts. Both Zaki and Tiger

discussed various options

available and Niall McWilliams

was able to give a little more

detail as to the avenues being

investigated. At this stage it is

difficult to pass on too much

detail as each potential solution

requires a level of confidentiality

but we were assured that we

would be kept fully up to date, as

we have been, and that as soon

as was possible, details would

be released to supporters. Even

as I type this I am acutely aware

of how frustrating this must be

to most fans but I can assure

you that OxVox will continue to

work with the club, and where

necessary push them until we are

able to release a plan to move

forward that fans can get behind.

This is too important an issue for

us to be polite and stand back

and watch it drag on without

every effort being made to help

move the club forward.

Season Tickets/Marketing

We have enjoyed a very good

dialogue with David and Niall and

we have continually fed back the

views of supporters on a range of

issues including pricing, marketing

and a return to watching games.

We felt the decision by the club

to freeze the prices for the vast

majority of season tickets was the

right one. We understand the very

difficult position the last year has

put on the club, and their need

to generate additional revenue,

but they in turn understand the

pressures on supporters. We feel

they acted with understanding

and foresight as they have done

throughout the pandemic. It is

heartening to see that season

ticket sales, even in the face of so

much uncertainty, show that the

fans support and have responded

to this in the best possible way.

We really do have amazing

supporters.

We also fed back what we’d

picked up regarding marketing

and press releases. These things

are very subjective but from our

point of view, we applauded the

sock release, like the home shirt

but felt the release was a little

flat but loved the away shirt

release. David Garth has some

amazing experience (having

joined us from Inter Milan) and

he and his team’s hard work is

beginning to show.

Transfers and Recruitment

We tend not to get too involved

with commenting on recruitment

decisions, beyond promoting

the continued use of the model

that has moved us forward in

recent years and supporting

a competitive but sustainable

budget for Karl. We understand

the frustration when good

players are sold, but the club

continue to reinvest in exciting

young talent and moved quickly


in this transfer window to secure

two of our most important

players. Moving early to secure

players and bring in new signings

has definitely led to a more

measured and encouraging start

to pre-season.

We discussed the salary cap with

Tiger and Zaki. Although Oxford

were against it in principle, they

understand the argument and

felt that we are equipped to cope

with it as well, if not better, than

most. Our emphasis on young

talent and success in recruitment

will hopefully continue to pay

dividends in that respect.

Fans’ Return, and the Future

We spoke at length during

both meetings about getting

fans back into the stadium.

All parties shared the fans’

frustrations at the lack of clear

national directives on this. We

had pushed the club to clarify

who would be allowed back first,

in the likely event of reduced

numbers, and to confirm that

season ticket holders would be

able to watch the games online

as part of their package if they

were not allowed to attend in

person. The club have responded

on both issues and we now look

forward to a potential and partial

return at some point in the

coming weeks.

During both meetings we spent

time discussing how to move

the club forward. The aim of

course this season is promotion.

The intent is clear and beyond

that the club are very keen to

resolve the stadium issue. To

us this is a key component in

our continued progression and

something we make no apologies

for keeping at the forefront of

our discussions with the club. I’m

desperate to see us challenging

in the Championship again but

given the choice I would take us

owning our own stadium over

that this season. Both would be

even better though!

Thank you again for your support

of OxVox. Now especially your

views and feedback are vital so

please get in touch if you have

any input. By renewing your

membership and encouraging

more to join us you are giving

us all a greater voice within the

club, and I can assure you they

hear us. Our thanks to the large

number of members who have

renewed in recent weeks: if you

haven’t done so yet, but have

received our renewal emails,

please renew as soon as possible

to help our admin.

Take care and see you all at a

game in the very near future and

as always

COYY

Paul

About OxVox

We’re a non profit

making Supporters Trust,

run by fans, for fans,

with membership open

to all Oxford United

supporters everywhere!

We are wholly independent

of Oxford United Football

Club, but always seek positive

dialogue with the Club’s

owners, executive officers and

staff.

We operate on a democratic,

one member, one vote

principle with annual elections

and regular Committee

meetings.

We are committed to the

success of our Football

Club and having proactive

and mutually beneficial

communication with all

stakeholders, including

the local community, local

councils, relevant media, the

Club and other supporters

groups.

To find out more, or join us,

visit www.oxvox.org.uk

5


EFL, DCMS and the football

cash crisis. OxVox writes to

Anneliese Dodds.

41 Henley Road, Oxford. OX4 4YW

OxVox -The Independent Oxford United Supporters Trust

Anneliese Dodds MP

Shadow Chancellor

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

25 September 2020

Dear Anneliese

Email: enquiries@oxvox.org.uk. Website: www.oxvox.org.uk

EFL, DCMS and the football cash crisis

I’m writing as the Secretary of OxVox, the Oxford United Supporters’ Trust, on

behalf of our management committee.

We ask for your support in lobbying government to take immediate measures to

support English Football League (EFL) clubs through the coronavirus pandemic.

Support is in our view needed in two areas:

1. Finance

2. Planning for the return of supporters

I expand on our thoughts in these two areas below.

As a constituent of yours in East Oxford, and having previously had your support

on the subject of safe standing, I’m sure you are aware of the vital role Oxford

United and other lower league and non-league professional clubs play in the life of

their communities. Football is much more than a game. For many in our

community it is the hub of social life, whether through match day itself or ancillary

activities such as those undertaken by our club’s Community Trust across the

county. The risk of clubs disappearing during this period is grave and the economic

and social effects of the loss of a club can be catastrophic. The social cost of the

loss of a football club to its community is inestimable. Clubs now stand at risk of

demise not through any fault of their own. Government has it in its power to

ameliorate these risks.

What needs to be done financially?

While owners and directors do of course lend their financial support, clubs like ours

depend fundamentally on match day income through the turnstiles in order to

remain sustainable. In the short term that income is severely curtailed and

bridging finance is needed.

Registered address: 41 Henley Road, Sandford-on Thames, Oxfordshire OX4 4YW reg. no.: 29368R

Patron: Rt Hon Andrew Smith

25 September 2020/continued

OxVox -The Independent Oxford United Supporters Trust

Now there are many demands on the public purse at present, and we appreciate

that not every request can be met. We would argue that football as the national

game is a special case. The billionaire funded Premier League benefits from

worldwide TV revenue and may be able to countenance a period without ticket

income, but lower league clubs cannot, because ticket income represents a much

higher proportion of their turnover.

We want to see the government plot a financial path through the pandemic for EFL

clubs, offering short term financial support for the 2020-21 season. The aim has to

be to get to the end of this EFL season with the present 72 clubs intact and

financially stable. It may require some sophistication in assessing needs given the

differing situations at clubs, but whatever is offered, speed is of the essence.

We ask you to call on government to establish and implement a financial support

plan quickly.

What needs to be done to enable fans to return?

A credible plan is needed to bring fans back in carefully managed stages, having

full regard to public safety.

This week’s news that the planned pilot programme for fans to return, initially in

small numbers, has been suspended, apparently indefinitely, is a hammer blow to

the sport, and has thrown all the careful planning into disarray.

We regard the pilots as an essential first step in returning fans to stadia, and we

ask that you call on the DCMS to set out a new timetable to reinstate this

programme with immediate effect. It is not enough simply to suspend the

programme indefinitely.

This will not be easy and we do not underestimate the task. However, clubs have

gone to extraordinary lengths to introduce measures to maintain social distancing

and safety on match days. For example Oxford United, like many clubs, has

undertaken a social bubble survey of its season ticket holders to establish social

group attenders so that seating plans permitting optimal use of space while

maintaining social distancing can be achieved. Measures have been taken to ‘plot’

the movement of fans through the stadium, to manage toilet facilities, to suspend

food services, and so on, to avoid unnecessary pinch points. As an out of doors

activity, watching a match is according to scientists considerably less likely to

spread infection than going to a pub or restaurant.

Finally, although this letter focuses on the professional men’s game, women’s

football at semi-professional level is thriving. Oxford United Women is a vibrant

and growing aspect of our club, and would also be at risk should the club

encounter unsustainable financial challenges. The club also supports youth teams

through the age ranges, reaching many hundreds of young people and bringing

Registered address: 41 Henley Road, Sandford-on Thames, Oxfordshire OX4 4YW reg. no.: 29368R

Patron: Rt Hon Andrew Smith

25 September 2020/continued

OxVox -The Independent Oxford United Supporters Trust

them all the mental and physical advantages of participating in organised sport.

It’s not just about 11 men on a Saturday afternoon!

Thanks for reading this and we look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards

Trevor Lambert, OxVox Secretary (39 Wharton Rd, Oxford OX3 8AL)

Email: trev.lambert@gmail.com

Paul Peros, OxVox Chair (Church Street, Beckley, Oxford OX3 9UT)

Jemma Hayward, Committee member (109 Merewood Avenue, Oxford OX4 4PQ)

Robert Weavers, Committee member (12 Swinburne Road, Oxford OX4 3LF)

(Oxford East constituents)

and fellow members of OxVox committee

Registered address: 41 Henley Road, Sandford-on Thames, Oxfordshire OX4 4YW reg. no.: 29368R

Patron: Rt Hon Andrew Smith

Dear Anneliese

EFL, DCMS and the football cash crisis

I’m writing as the Secretary

of OxVox, the Oxford United

Supporters’ Trust, on behalf of

our management committee.

We ask for your support in

lobbying government to take

immediate measures to support

English Football League (EFL)

clubs through the coronavirus

pandemic.

Support is in our view needed in

two areas:

1. Finance

2. Planning for the return of

supporters

I expand on our thoughts in

these two areas below.

As a constituent of yours in East

Oxford, and having previously

had your support on the subject

of safe standing, I’m sure you are

aware of the vital role Oxford

United and other lower league

and non-league professional

clubs play in the life of their

communities. Football is much

more than a game. For many in

our community it is the hub of

social life, whether through match

day itself or ancillary activities

such as those undertaken by our

club’s Community Trust across

the county. The risk of clubs

disappearing during this period

is grave and the economic and

social effects of the loss of a club

can be catastrophic. The social

cost of the loss of a football club

to its community is inestimable.

Clubs now stand at risk of demise

not through any fault of their

own. Government has it in its

power to ameliorate these risks.

What needs to be done

financially?

While owners and directors do

of course lend their financial

support, clubs like ours depend

fundamentally on match day

income through the turnstiles

in order to remain sustainable.

In the short term that income is

severely curtailed and bridging

finance is needed.

Now there are many demands

on the public purse at present,

and we appreciate that not

every request can be met. We

would argue that football as the

national game is a special case.

The billionaire funded Premier

League benefits from worldwide

TV revenue and may be able to

countenance a period without

ticket income, but lower league

clubs cannot, because ticket

income represents a much higher

proportion of their turnover.

We want to see the government

plot a financial path through the

pandemic for EFL clubs, offering

short term financial support for

the 2020-21 season. The aim has

to be to get to the end of this

EFL season with the present

72 clubs intact and financially

stable. It may require some

sophistication in assessing needs

given the differing situations at

clubs, but whatever is offered,

speed is of the essence.

We ask you to call on

government to establish and

implement a financial support

plan quickly.

6


What needs to be done to

enable fans to return?

A credible plan is needed to

bring fans back in carefully

managed stages, having full

regard to public safety.

This week’s news that the

planned pilot programme for

fans to return, initially in small

numbers, has been suspended,

apparently indefinitely, is a

hammer blow to the sport,

and has thrown all the careful

planning into disarray.

We regard the pilots as an

essential first step in returning

fans to stadia, and we ask that

you call on the DCMS to set out

a new timetable to reinstate

this programme with immediate

effect. It is not enough simply

to suspend the programme

indefinitely.

This will not be easy and we

do not underestimate the task.

However, clubs have gone

to extraordinary lengths to

introduce measures to maintain

social distancing and safety

on match days. For example

Oxford United, like many clubs,

has undertaken a social bubble

survey of its season ticket

holders to establish social

group attenders so that seating

plans permitting optimal use of

space while maintaining social

distancing can be achieved.

Measures have been taken to

‘plot’ the movement of fans

through the stadium, to manage

toilet facilities, to suspend food

services, and so on, to avoid

unnecessary pinch points. As an

out of doors activity, watching a

match is according to scientists

considerably less likely to spread

infection than going to a pub or

restaurant.

Finally, although this letter

focuses on the professional

men’s game, women’s football

at semi-professional level is

thriving. Oxford United Women

is a vibrant and growing aspect

of our club, and would also

be at risk should the club

encounter unsustainable financial

challenges. The club also

supports youth teams through

the age ranges, reaching many

hundreds of young people and

bringing them all the mental

and physical advantages of

participating in organised sport.

It’s not just about 11 men on a

Saturday afternoon!

Thanks for reading this and we

look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards

Trevor Lambert,

OxVox Secretary

Similar letters were also

sent to:

John Howell, MP for Henley.

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford

West and Abingdon.

7


Life Members’

Reward Scheme

OxVox are delighted to welcome all life members

of the Trust to the OxVox reward scheme.

We have teamed up with some

local businesses who have links

with OUFC to offer you some

exciting discounts. We hope that

you can take advantage of some

great offers and at the same time

support some great local firms.

New partners will be added over

the coming weeks and months.

Please present your reward card

when taking up the offers.

If you are a life

member and have

not yet received your

reward card please email

rewards@oxvox.org.uk and we

will post it to you.

If you wish to upgrade to life

membership please do so via the

‘RENEW’ page on this website.

As the scheme takes off we

would like to invite you, our

LIFE

MEMBERSHIP

REWARD

CARD

Here are the details of our current partners:

OX VOX

THE OXFORD UNITED

SUPPORTERS’ TRUST

members, to add your

businesses to the scheme,

to help provide a wide range

of offers. If this is something

you are interested in please

contact Maurice Earp via

rewards@oxvox.org.uk

CAIRA Properties and Facilities

Solutions (Abingdon)

cairaproperty.co.uk

Buildbase. Watlington Road,

Cowley

buildbase.co.uk

fit2run (Abingdon’s specialist

running store)

fit2rundirect.com

Manor Flooring (Wootton,

Abingdon)

manorflooring.co.uk

Topsport Independent Sports

Retailer (Abingdon)

topsportuk.com

Massage – Kendra Kirkham

wellbeingclinic.com

J. Priest & Son (Oxford)

oxfordsms.co.uk

Kay Gee’s Off Licence

kaygees.co.uk

For details of the benefits and discounts on off from our partners visit: www.oxvox.org.uk/reward-scheme/

As the scheme takes off we would like to invite you, our members, to add your businesses to the scheme,

to help provide a wide range of offers. If you are interested in please contact us via rewards@oxvox.org.uk

Join the trust

The Trust that makes a

difference and we’d love you be

part of it.

So don’t delay, join today!

Juniors

£5 for 3 years

Adults

£10 for 3 years

Senior £7.50 for 3 years

Life £50

Senior Life £25

Corporate options also available.

www.oxvox.org.uk

enquiries@oxvox.org.uk

VOX • Issue 1 • Oct 2020

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