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Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:55 pm
by Kernow Yellow
So did anyone go to the fans forum? Sounded pretty bizarre. Robinson using the stadium as an excuse for why we're so crap. Open hostility towards our landlord from all levels of the club hierarchy. The MD saying we are looking at five different options of places to play, none of which are the Kassam! Plus someone from Inter Milan potentially joining the board as well as the Vietnam-based German and the Jordanian 'financier and investor'.

Just another chapter in the strange world of Oxford United. My initial thoughts:

Why did Tiger not know about the stadium situation when he took the club on?

How have relations broken down so badly with FK?

Why can't Robinson keep his mouth shut? Talking about putting a grass pitch and temporary stand in at Oxford City, when the MD has said he 'can't say any more at the moment'? And that story about Joey Barton having a bottle of beer taken off him sounds like a lot of complete bollocks to me.

And why do some of our fans seem to have such a great appetite for moving out of Oxford to Bicester/Didcot (among other suggestions over in the Other Place)?

Our last ground move was farcical enough. Why should we support the new owner's plans to move us again when he can't even say where, how or why?

I know that the era of successful clubs being owned by people with local connections is (mostly) long gone, but I can't help remembering that Tiger was kissing the badge of one of our biggest rivals a few short years ago. I'm not blindly following his club away from our home ground unless I can see a new one being built, and fully financed, in Oxford. Maybe it's the distance I live from Oxford these days, but I've never felt so detached from the club before. Journeyman crocks and loanees on the pitch, an unlikeable manager in the dugout and newcomers with no discernible plan in the boardroom.

A win on Tuesday would make me feel better though!

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:46 am
by Dr Bob
Having listened to RadOx reporting on Saturday about the Fans Forum and then this morning reading this:
https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/16898 ... -time-low/
I just want to know, as a simple and sometimes naive fan, how on earth those two utterly contradictory positions can be reconciled. If the terms of the licence agreement are as clear as I would have expected a legal document to be (see, naive...) what on earth can they have been in arbitration about for so long? How on earth can the two sides state such massively different figures for the annual rent? If what Kassam says about relationships with previous owners is to be believed, does that mean he is now claiming charges from the current owners that he previously waived or reduced for Merry and Lenagan?

The basic problem here is that none of us are on the inside with sight of all the legal details. Instead, all we have to go on are two sides coming out with mutually exclusive statements. I do not think for a second that Kassam is at all a very nice person. But that does not automatically mean that he is incorrect legally in this situation...as much as I would like that to be the case. And to keep repeating the point, whatever the legal niceties, what are they talking about in arbitration?

Oh and the OM article is incorrect (...) On Saturday the stadium facilities were not opened until 1pm. Fortunately, the stadium staff did let me in to use the loo before then.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:34 am
by ty cobb
The position seems to be that the rent we're being charged (£300,000?) seems reasonable, but the service charge has increased significantly over the years (to be fair so has the bills for my house) and the club are very limited in the money they can make from income from things like selling drinks.

Kassam will say that this was all agreed originally - the rent was set at a lower lever as he took the sales from drinks. OUFC will say, this arrangement won't ever work as we can't make enough money from ticket sales. Kassam has always said - if we want to take more of the drinks money we need to pay more rent.

My view is that Kassam has made a fortune out of OUFC. He got a load of land cheaply and is sitting pretty earning from the various developments which he claimed would benefit OUFC but in reality only benefit him. He could create a amazing legacy for himself by selling at a good price/giving away the stadium to the club - he would still be up on his dealings with OUFC and it would go someway to making up for the "journey" he took us on.

In reality that won't happen. Fair play to the club for standing up to him - I would be interested in OxVoxs view on all this. Last year they pi$$ed Eales off by drawing out a conversation about buying the stadium from Kassam. What happened with this - was Kassam stringing them along all the time just to play them off against Eales? If he is proving to prevent us from progressing why aren't they calling for a boycott of all the businesses owned by Kassam - if he only understands money, hit him in the pocket where it hurts. If he won't see to a community trust at a decent price, he won't sell to a Thai businessman and I wonder if Sat was just a classic use of distraction from the main issue at the moment which is we are not good enough on the pitch and didn't stump up the cash for a decent striker over the summer.

Yes the stadium issues need to be resolved and soon, but it is not the reason we are losing matches. The pitch is excellent (paid for by us) and the ground is much better than many others we play in - as Kaasam said when we have something to cheer about the atmosphere is very good, if you keep going 2 goals down at home it will sound soulless, as per any modern stadium.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:47 am
by Kernow Yellow
ty cobb wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:34 am
The position seems to be that the rent we're being charged (£300,000?) seems reasonable, but the service charge has increased significantly over the years (to be fair so has the bills for my house) and the club are very limited in the money they can make from income from things like selling drinks.

Kassam will say that this was all agreed originally - the rent was set at a lower lever as he took the sales from drinks. OUFC will say, this arrangement won't ever work as we can't make enough money from ticket sales. Kassam has always said - if we want to take more of the drinks money we need to pay more rent.
And there's another thing - Didn't Niall McWilliams say at the forum that the club would be taking over the catering concessions from December? How does that work with all the arbitration going on? I really hope the club know what they're taking on with all this bluster.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:18 am
by slappy
It's a shame our old friend Snake isn't here to comment. I remember he or Myles had pointed out that somewhere in the licence (not rent) agreement is I think a minimum 5% increase each year. Back in 2006 when UK base rates were 4.5%, that probably didn't seem too bad, but in a low inflation and low interest rate environment, it is a much bigger hit, and it's been difficult to justify raising ticket prices each year when we've had four years in the Conference and several more in L2.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:33 am
by Kairdiff Exile
My two penn'orth is that, if you take a step back away from the personalities, arbitration and ill-feeling, it's pretty clear that no-one wants Oxford United to continue to play at Grenoble Road. The landlord would rather develop the land for housing, the club would rather own our own ground to secure our long-term future, and the fans don't want to be in a soulless plastic identikit stadium with three sides next to a sewage works.

Logically, it's in everyone's interests to cut our losses and find a new place to go. Two questions therefore arise:
1) Is it possible to do this without incurring financial penalties for breaking our licence?
2) Where do we go?

I'd hope that the answer to (1) is "no" given that the landlord would prefer to be shot of us - even if it takes some negotiating. Quite obviously (2) is the bigger conundrum. It sounds as though at least two local authorities are prepared to discuss helping us in at least some small way, which is a pleasant change from years gone by. I think there has also been a much-needed dose of reality, where we as fans accept that we might need to play in a smaller(?) or poorly-equipped(?) ground for at least a while - but that this would be worth it if it were OUR ground. That could be something at Oxford City or another non-league club who are prepared to work with us on upgrades, or it could be something new at AN Other site.

However, the sceptic in me thinks that fans need to demand the following before blithely supporting any move:
- Firoz Kassam MUST play ball and waive any charges for us breaking the agreement if we move; if not, we'll take direct action against his assets;
- Any new ground MUST be wholly owned by Oxford United Football Club, and not by any chairman or third party;
- Likewise, any parcels of land around it that are ripe for development, or any ancillary facilities (conferencing, hotels) on the site MUST be owned by the club;
- Any new ground MUST be within the county of Oxfordshire.

I may well add to that list! But the point is, we've been ripped off once before by a chairman who used the football club as a means to build his business empire and leave us with no tangible assets. We'd be mad to let that happen again.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:18 am
by slappy
I'd add that Tiger's past at Reading included taking ownership of the land / facilities around the club into separate companies, and that business model is one that various club owners seek to repeat. How can you stop an owner doing what he likes with the assets of the club, even if it builds a stadium with all the facilities in one ownership? I also see that the Sunderland takeover didn't include the Stadium of Light Hilton hotel next door.

Every obstacle can be overcome, didn't the Manor have a sporting covenant? I reckon if enough interested parties got together, that Charlie's old plan of a new stadium at Water Eaton could have been achieved no matter what councillors may say afterwards, particularly when meeting housing needs is part of the deal.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:28 am
by Kernow Yellow
- Firoz Kassam MUST play ball and waive any charges for us breaking the agreement if we move; if not, we'll take direct action against his assets;

As a matter of interest, why? If some mega-rich new board members/owners are silly/visionary enough to pay Kassam off, then who cares? I can't say I feel much more affinity to Horst Geicke or even Reading-loving Tiger than I do to Firoz Kassam. They're all rich men playing rich men's games. With my football club.

- Any new ground MUST be wholly owned by Oxford United Football Club, and not by any chairman or third party;
- Likewise, any parcels of land around it that are ripe for development, or any ancillary facilities (conferencing, hotels) on the site MUST be owned by the club;

Of course that would be ideal, but I simply do not see that happening. Even if the ground were owned by the football club, the football club would be owned by someone else, with charges over it to cover the investment, so it's kind of irrelevant. The 'Community Partnership' or whatever it was that OxVox were supposed to be talking to Kassam about is the only way of stopping overall control being with a third party, but where's the money going to come from for that? Sadly, I just don't see it. The club says that councils are being helpful, but I'd be surprised if they're doing more than paying lip service to the issue in reality. The council were supposed to be helping out before, but both Eales and Stewart Donald got fed up of waiting for anything to happen and went and bought other football clubs.

- Any new ground MUST be within the county of Oxfordshire.

So you'd be happy with us playing in Banbury? Witney? Abingdon? Bicester? I wouldn't. At all. Any new ground must be in Oxford as far as I'm concerned.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:29 am
by Kairdiff Exile
slappy wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:18 am
How can you stop an owner doing what he likes with the assets of the club, even if it builds a stadium with all the facilities in one ownership?
Oh, legally you can't. But we don't have to take it lying down like we did before. Protests, boycotts, direct action, media campaigns - there's plenty we could do to oppose it and to make any owner think twice. The key thing is that even if you have a seemingly benign owner, you cannot allow them to separate the football club from its assets. We've seen it happen once, we absolutely mustn't allow it to happen again.

This is exactly where we need OxVox to be engaging in a dialogue with fans to create a set of conditions like those I've suggested, and to also draw up a menu of options for how the fans might withdraw / withhold their support if an owner were to try to take us for a ride again in the future.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:34 am
by Kairdiff Exile
KY, a quick response:

1) If FK wants to make a mint from redeveloping the land into housing, it's a reasonable expectation that he allows us to leave pain-free in order to expedite the opportunity to do so.

2) See my post above - you may be right that any owner building a new ground would want to exploit the commercial opportunities it offers, but my argument is that we should learn from our mistakes and use what power we have as fans to make sure that the club benefits in the first instance. After all, if it does then the long-term value of the club increases too.

3) Trust me, when you're driving two hours to a home game, an extra half an hour to Banbury doesn't feel like a big deal - and a move to the south would reduce my commute! :lol: My point is that if we aspire to be a club for the whole county, we shouldn't limit ourselves by saying we have to be within X miles of the city centre, especially if we were considering a temporary home or ground-share whilst we developed plans for a new permanent home. Ideally though, I agree that it'd be good to stay within (or close to) the city boundary.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:20 pm
by Old Abingdonian
Two simple questions from a non-business person like myself.

It is quite clear that several of the floodlights on the top of the north stand have not been working. Is this the sort of reason that the club and FK are in dispute? And how can arbitration take so long?

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:11 pm
by YF Dan
Am I being really stupid here?

Surely it's cheaper for us to buy our current stadium and finish it, than pay ourselves out of what ever contract we're in, borrow someone else's ground and pay rent on that, whilst also buying land and build a new stadium elsewhere?

It seems, with talk of a new train station being built nearby, that to move to ANOTHER out of town stadium elsewhere, with even fewer facilities is insane.

FWIW, I think we're fucked really until we come up with some kind of clever deal that basically involves either council and/or University buying the stadium and turning it into some kind of Community or University sporting hub in which we live in as a sitting-tennant on a pittance of a rent.

Who else could, or would, cough up £13m as a present to the club? Only dodgy investors who'll seek to make money from it, such as the one whom it's named after.

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:03 pm
by ty cobb
Is the price being asked for still £13m? If you ask me thats a bit of a bargain if true. This site estimates that a 25,000 seater stadium in the south east costs just over £30m. Not even sure this includes the land which in Oxford is one of the most expensive bits.

https://www.building.co.uk/data/cost-mo ... 31.article

Was also from 2004 and prices will have gone up a lot since then.

http://stadiumdb.com/news/2017/01/great ... ear_future sets out that Scunthorpes new ground (12,000 seats) will cost £25m in a much cheaper part of the UK. I am with Dan - with a train station nearby and lots of houses to be built around the ground there is nowt wrong with the ground which a new stand and filling in the corners won't fix. It took us decades to move and to be fair to Kassam without his ruthlessness probably wouldn't have happened. Would be interested in the view from OxVox whether the price is £13m and their view as to whether this is fair value given all the work they did on this in the past.

REGIONAL STADIUM COST MODEL
element cost cost/m2 gfa £ % of total cost
Substructure 1,592,200 44.47 5.10%
Excavate and fill site generally to an average depth of 500 mm; disposal; allowance for breaking out 20,000 m2 @ 7.00
Ground bearing slabs; excavate to reduced levels; blinding; polythene DPM; hardcore; variable thickness concrete slab with mesh reinforcement; ground beams and lift pits 10,600 m2 @ 50.00
Piling and pile caps: 600 mm diameter piles; 15 m deep; complete 10,600 m2 @ 57.00
Excavation for column bases / pile caps; 1.5 m deep including reinforced concrete; blinding; reinforcement; formwork; etc. 10,600 m2 @ 30.00
Frame 3,798,000 106.09 12.17%
Main fram, structural steel columns, beams, rakers and bracing; tonnage based on allowance of 50 kg/m2 1,800t @ 2,000
Intumescent paint / fireboard and architectural finishes, 18,000 m2 @ 11.00
Upper Floors 2,073,000 57.91 6.64%
In situ upper floor slabs to concourse areas; waffle construction with perimeter beam strips 14,000 m2 @ 45.00

Precast concrete seating units: supply and erection of precast concrete L units; 15 m long with 875 mm x 475 mm section; stainless steel locating pins; waterproofing 11,100 m2 @ 130.00
Roof 4,136,000 115.53 13.26%
Steel frame; grade 50 structual steel main roof structure; high performance paint system; tonnage based on allowance of 68 kg/m2, 1,080t @ 2,500
Roof access cat ladders 2 nr @ 1,500
Roof access stairs 2nr @ 3,000
Latchway systems and walkways 680 m @ 115.00
Camera gantries Item @ 12,000
Safety balustrades / handrails 560 m @ 170.00
Roof coverings; roof cladding system to main bowl comprising aluminium standing seam roofing; clear sections and overhangs; complete 15,800 m2 @ 70.00
Allowance for canopies Item @ 25,000
Roof drainage: rainwater installations generally 15,800m2 @ 7.00
Stairs 680,000 18.9 92.18%
Allowance for reinforced insitu concrete stairs and landings with power float finish and non-slip inserts to nosings; rates exclude finishes, balustrades and handrails 1,000 m2 @ 250.00
Allowance for precast concrete step units; bolted to precast concrete seating units; forming gangway steps Item @ 30,000
Stair balustrades and handrails 2,000 m @ 200.00
External walls, windows and doors 1,352,000 37.77 4.33%
Facing quality blockwork cavity wall to external elevations and bowl elevations to box areas 3,100 m2 @ 100.00.
Aluminium profiled sheet cladding including secondary steelwork & insulation 3,300 m @ 170.00
Extra over sheet claddding for double glazed aluminium framed, facetted cladding sysem to walls; structural mullions 250 m2 @ 230.00
Extra over sheet cladding for openable single glazed units in metal frames 250 m2 @ 300.00
Glazing and glazed doors to executive boxes; aluminium framed double glazed units 450 m2 @ 340.00
Galvanised steel weld mesh; 8m x 4m panels, including support steel 1,700 m2 @ 115.00
Windows and external doors 200,000 5.59 0.64%
Main entrances: single pane laminated glazed screens; doors and ironmongery 30 nr @ 3,500
Escape doors; double escape doors and frames; ironmongery 20 nr @ 3,500
Shutters; allowance for: power operated security shutters Item @ 25,000
Internal walls and partitions 1,427,000 39.86 4.57%
Insitu concrete walls; 200 mm thick to lift and stair core walls 1,500 m2 @ 115.00
Insitu concrete parapets to seating area 700 m2 115.00
Insitu concrete walls; 200 mm thick to vomitories 40 nr @ 3,500.00
Blockwork division walls; average 190mm; including reinforcement and head restraint 15,000 m2 @ 50.00
Proprietary vandal resistant metal faced toilet cubicles 300 nr @ 450.00
Allowance for full height glazed screens generally, including screens to hospitality areas and media boxes 150 m2 @ 300.00
Front screens and privacy side panels to executive suites/boxes 26 nr @ 4,000
Internal doors 470,000 13.13 1.51%
Single doors and framesets; fire resisting; ironmongery 200 nr @ 900.00
Double doors and framesets; fire resisting; ironmongery 100 nr @ 1,400
Fire shutters to concession/bar fronts 20 nr @ 6,000
Rolling shutters generally 10 nr @ 3,000
Wall Finishes 536,500 14.99 1.72%
Render and tiling 4,000 m2 @ 60.00
Plaster and paint 14,400 m2 @ 10.00
Plaster and decorative coverings 100 m2 @ 85.00
Paint finish on concrete or block walls 36,000 m2 @ 4.00
Floor Finishes 439,000 12.26 1.41%
Vinyl sheeting/tiling; levelling screed; skirtings 3,500 m2 @ 30.00
Contract grade carpet, levelling screed; skirtings 4,500 m2 @ 30.00
Stone/ high quality ceramic tile; levelling screed; skirtings 500 m2 @ 110.00
Paint and epoxy finish to concrete slabs; skirtings 16,000 m2 @ 6.00
Tiled ceramic flooring, levelling screed; skirtings 800 m2 @ 60.00
Ceiling finishes 465,500 13.00 1.49%
Suspended ceilings; mineral fibre 5,100 m2 @ 40.00
Plasterboard ceilings; skim cost and decorations; edge trims 3,300 m2 @ 30.00
Spray insulation 16,250 m2 @ 10.00
Furniture and fittings 1,115,000 31.15 3.58%
Padded upholstered seats; fixed units 21,000 nr @ 20.00
Padded upholstered seats; club seats 4,000 nr @ 25.00
Safety rails and barriers; to fixed seating bowl 1,750 m @ 150.00
Allowance for signs; generally 1 Item @ 100,000
Security and crowd control gates; generally 150 m2 @ 750.00
Turnstiles 40 nr @ 3,000
Sanitary appliances 340,000 9.50 1.09%
Sanitary fittings; generally 850 nr @ 400.00
Disposal installations 413,200 11.54 1.32%
Below slab foul drainage; complete system, including allowance for suspension of services below ground slab (area based on Building Footprint) 10,600 m2 @ 25.00
Sanitary fittings; IPS; above ground soil and waste installation to toilets, concession areas, locker rooms etc. (area based on gross internal floor area excluding area of seating tiers) 24,700 m2 @ 6.00
Water Installations 332,000 9.27 1.06%
Water supply; mains connection; booster set; storage tanks Item @ 85,000
Cold water service; distribution to toilets, concessions, etc. 24,700 m2 @ 6.00
Hot water services; local electric heating; service to toilets, concessions, boxes, etc 24,700 m2 @ 4.00
Heating with air treatment 1,733,600 48.42 5.56%
Space heating; boilers, flues, pumps; plant room and riser distribution 24,700 m2 @ 12.00
Space heating; LTHW heating to public areas generally 10,600 m2 @ 20.00
Localised cooling to hospitality areas; DX units Item @ 160,000
Air treatment and ventilation installations; tempered air distribution only; air handling; supply and extract installations 10,600 m2 @ 70.00
Extract installations; extract fans and ductwork to kitchens, toilets etc 2,500 m2 @ 70.00
Smoke extract Installations: 24,700 m2 @ 6.00
Electrical installations 2,586,500 72.25 8.29%
HV/LV; mains connection; high voltage switchgear; mains switchboard & busbars 24,700m2@9.00
Sub mains distribution; switchboards/distribution boards; mains cabling 24,700 m2 @ 5.00
Small power installation 24,700 m2 @ 15.00
Power supply to mechanical plant Item @ 50,000
Lighting and luminaires 24,700 m2 @ 40.00
Emergency lighting 24,700 m2 @ 6.00
Under Roof Lighting 15,800 m2 @ 6.00
Seating Bowl Lighting 11,100 m2 @ 10.00
Illuminated signs Item @ 50,000
Allowance for external %22feature%22 lighting Item @ 170,000
Containment installations 24,700 m2 @ 6.00
Diesel standby generator Item @ 110,000
Gas Installations 30,000 0.84 0.10%
Gas installation to boilers and kitchen Item @ 30,000
Lift installations 240,000 6.70 0.77%
13 Person Lifts 2 nr @ 85,000
Goods Lifts 1 nr @ 70,000
Protective installations 125,000 3.49 0.40%
Hose Reel Installations Item @ 20,000
Dry Riser Installations Item @ 20,000
Lightning protection; earthing installations: Item @ 85,000
Communications installations 1,013,300 28.30 3.25%
Public address and voice alarm system; complete; main bowl PA 24,700 m2 @ 15.00
Fire alarm system 24,700 m2 @ 12.00
CCTV / security installations 24,700 m2 @ 12.00
Allowance for card access and intruder alarm installations Item @ 50,000
Special installations 1,397,000 39.02 4.48%
Floodlighting installaton Item @ 300,000
Playing surface; Fully heated pitch with drainage, irrigation, service ducts etc Item @ 850,000
BMS installation complete 24,700 m2 @ 10.00
Builder's work in connection 170,000 4.75 0.55%
Pads, bases, holes, chases, motices, cat ladders, supports, walkways and painting to pipework Item @ 170,000
Preliminaries and contingencies 4,534,000 126.65 14.53%
Contractor’s site establishment and site supervision
Allow 8% Item 2,133,000
Allowance for commissioning management Item 50,000
Contractor’s overheads and profit allow 3% Item @ 865,000
Contingency sum allow 5% Item 1,486,000
Total building costs 31,198,800 871.47 100%

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:24 pm
by Roo
TWO years ago Kassam made his opinions quite clear in an interview with The Oxford Mail:

"Whatever I do, I want to secure the ground to the football club and not any individuals – that has always been my priority."


I don't believe he will ever sell the club to an individual owner.

Now, I'm not suggesting that 'His Word Is His Bond' by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I'd take him at face value on this one.... (and that's not something I'd expect to say,) until he does something concrete, to demonstrate a very definite 'about-face!'

There is still far too much 'plunder' available from this project, he's never going to walk away from that.


Full article here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/14790 ... m-stadium/

Re: Stadium (again) - fans forum

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:45 pm
by Gastonray
Roo are Mr Merry in disguise and i claim my prize.


Personally i don't believe a word the man (kassam) says.