EFL, the club, and missed payments

8th Jul 2024

The following update was emailed to OxVox members on 2 July. To receive these updates immediately they are released, join OxVox today.

People have understandably been worried by the news that the EFL took action against the club over missed payments to another club regarding a loan. As with all these issues, speculation overtook the story and rather than comment on rumour we have spent the last weeks and days in discussions with people inside and outside of the club before commenting fully. Those meetings concluded with a long Teams call to Grant Ferguson on Monday afternoon where we discussed a number of issues surrounding that incident and others concerning the club.

Any missed payment is a worry to a football supporter and it is something here we try to keep a close eye on. This being said it is worth laying out the facts of this one to reassure our supporters.

The club are dealing with anything from 9 to 12 of these payments a month to various clubs and there has never been an issue with any payment. The payment requests on the loan in question appear to be the only ones not sent directly to the young member of staff in charge of those payments but were delivered to him indirectly. Sadly it appears he missed these requests and while all others were paid promptly, these were not.

It is our understanding that no other communications channels were used to query the missed payments so nothing was known of the oversight until the EFL was contacted and informed the club. At this point Tim Williams our CEO took charge and had the payments made in full within the hour. It is also our understanding that this prompt action and the work done afterwards in documenting where the problem occurred helped to convince the EFL to quickly suspend potential punishments and to apply the lowest possible sanction in such a case. This will now allow Oxford United to continue building for the upcoming season.

We also understand that the EFL ‘guard-rails’ which help prevent mishaps like this from occurring did not work in this case and those are also being looked at.

While none of these facts completely mitigates this happening in the first place, we feel confident that this was a one off error. Our CEO stepped in and dealt with it quickly and avoided any further repercussions. We also discussed the new safeguards being put in place to avoid this being allowed to happen again including a digital payment tracker.

We believe that the club have taken some important steps with their processes to try to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

So while Grant rightly used some colourful Scottish phrases to express his and the club’s annoyance at this situation arising, they fully respect our concerns and we are confident they have done everything possible to make sure this situation remains little more than a blip before what should be a very exciting season. We do not take any breaches of payment arrangements lightly and remain vigilant over our finances but feel confident this matter has been dealt with as we all would have hoped.

We will be chatting with Tim Williams on his return from flying out to meet our owners and taking a well earned holiday and he will I’m sure have more details then about the club moving forward.

We had intended to report back on the stadium meeting we are attending on Tuesday afternoon but felt that supporters may want to read this one as soon as possible so that, and updates on the AGM, should follow later this week.

Thanks as always for your patience in allowing us to speak to the relevant parties and hopefully bring a balanced view on what we feel are the facts. Your support is hugely appreciated.

Time to start scanning the internet for more transfer gossip and waiting for the next klaxon to sound but I’ll end as always…..COYY!