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A busy few weeks culminated in the Oxfordshire County Council cabinet meeting on March 15th. A lot of preparation had gone into this meeting and while being a long and exhausting day, it was also humbling and hugely gratifying to be able to represent our members and supporters at such an important time. Every club thinks its fanbase is special, but witnessing the way fans have taken to the task of backing the club’s bid to relocate to Stratfield Brake has been inspiring. Our warmest thanks go to every one of you who commented on the Council consultation or signed the petition and wrote to councillors. It really did make a huge difference.
The outcome of the meeting, to approve further discussions on the land lease and to move forward with the consultations, was immensely encouraging and hugely significant. Councillors commented on the great work done by our club and its fans. The excitement we felt on Tuesday and the sense of anticipation going forward is justified, but we must add a note of caution. We are at the beginning of a very long process and there will be delays and setbacks that will frustrate and disappoint us along that path. We must stay patient and calm.
There will be theories and claims of inside knowledge and calls to arms over comments on social media, but most of these things will detract from our real objectives. The club have done a huge amount of work highlighting the positives of this move and that, and the energy and passion of supporters, has made the difference. Some of those who oppose us would have people believe that being a football supporter somehow lessens your vote. They might also try to provoke reactions on social media to try and frame us all as mindless hooligans. Frankly we find both approaches insulting and short sighted but the only way to allow our argument to be heard is to remain calm and reasoned and accept that others have every right to oppose this plan. It is the silent majority that will decide if we succeed and we will be working incredibly hard to make sure they hear us. We will soon be asking for your help online, on the ground and at the ballot box where we can make a real difference as we engage positively with the local community but for now, it’s time to remain united.