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Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Stadium Blow and Player Contract

Oxford United

It’s been a mixed bag for Oxford United over the last seven days with the club announcing a stadium setback before a player penned a new deal.

Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Stadium Update and Contract Extension

Stadium Setback

On Thursday, Oxford were dealt a slight setback with regards to a move to a site for their proposed new stadium.

With the lease at their current ground on Grenoble Road due to expire in 2026, the club have confirmed they will need to explore “short-term provisions” between said expiry and the completion of their new ground.

A statement read: “Following requests from Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council for additional information and studies, Oxford United can confirm it now expects the planning application for its new stadium proposal to be considered in early 2025.

“The plans to build a 16,000-capacity stadium on land known as the Triangle, near Kidlington, include a 180-bed hotel, restaurant, conference centre, health & wellbeing space, gym and a community plaza.

“The stadium project management team have been meeting regularly with the planning department and key stakeholders, with discussions progressing well over the past few months. The additional work and modelling being undertaken, which is ongoing, will provide further clarity for the planning committee to support their decision.

“With the planning submission likely to be considered in early 2025, the club are actively exploring alternative short-term provisions for the period between the lease at the Kassam Stadium expiring in 2026 and the new stadium being ready.

“The club recently announced it had secured the legally binding land lease option agreement and a community collaboration agreement. The completion of the contracts represented a significant milestone in securing Oxford United a long-term home in the county and protecting the future of the 131-year-old football club.

“The club’s aspirations are to build a new, modern, eco-friendly stadium which is a significant community landmark that contributes meaningfully to the economy and society of Oxfordshire. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide a new home for sport, entertainment, business, community, education and tourism which the whole county can be proud of.

Jonathan Clarke, Oxford United Development Director, said: “We’re fully committed to following the planning process, supporting the planning department in their review and delivering on our vision.

“We have made excellent progress recently with the signing of the lease option. Although this process took longer than originally envisaged, it has provided a platform for the club to move forward with confidence. We are now focused on obtaining the necessary planning permissions and preparing for the build.

“It is common that large-scale developments, especially ones within a Green Belt area, require additional modelling and careful examination.

“We look forward to fulfilling all the requests for additional information and submitting further details in due course.”

Bennett Extends Stay

Oxford United defender Joe Bennett has penned a new one-year deal with the club.

The 34-year-old was out of contract when he joined the U’s in November as cover for the injured Greg Leigh.

The left-back then extended his short-term deal until the end of the season and helped the club gain promotion back into the second tier for the first time in 25 years.

Bennett started 16 of his 22 games and even dislodged Leigh from the starting role, playing a key part in all three playoff fixtures.

Speaking to the club after re-signing, Joe Bennett said: “I am absolutely delighted to remain at Oxford United for this Championship season.

“I have loved every minute of being at the club since arriving in November and I can’t wait to experience this level of football once again, doing so in this exciting period for the club.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity Oxford United gave me back in November and I want to continue to give my maximum to ensure more success in this new campaign.”

Des Buckingham, Head Coach, said: “Joe has been a real influential figure in the team since arriving at the club in November.

“His experience and quality were vital to our push for promotion, and we are all thrilled to have Joe remain at the club for the next season.

“Joe offers this team so much on and off the park, and we look forward to working with him again in what is going to be a really exciting campaign for all at Oxford United.”


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