The following email update was completed and sent to members on 15 April 2021.
If you’re not yet a member of OxVox, we’d encourage you to join today (just visit our signup page on this site) and you’ll receive these emails direct to your inbox on the day they’re released, as well as enjoying the other benefits of being part of the supporters’ trust.
Work on this update started some time ago and this paragraph originally lamented our slide from play-off contention but after a couple of fantastic results we have hope again. It will take a monumental effort to get there but we know this team can put a run together and there is all to play for.
While we wish we could have put it out sooner we will never apologise for taking the time and energy required to check back over the information we receive and to get the right answers from the right people. All that takes time and patience and while we understand people wanting answers immediately we would always rather deal with facts than hearsay.
The club have said nothing more with regards to the potential takeover. We have spoken to everyone we have access to, including Tiger. Despite our frequent requests we have yet to have any access to the other members of the board, however, following a meeting on Wednesday (see below) we have been assured that the matter will be addressed. As they are board members it is a little disappointing not to hear more from them, but as bidders and potential owners we feel it is imperative supporters have the access to put our questions to them. We fully respect the confidentiality of the details of any negotiations, but an appropriate degree of communication and transparency is important in offering supporters confidence and an appreciation of the vision for our football club and stadium. As things stand it remains clear that conversations are ongoing and the little we do know on them will remain confidential, but all parties are working together to progress the club and it seems likely that all will still be around to continue that next season. As soon as we have any more information we will report back to members.
We had a meeting with the club on Wednesday to address some of the issues we face regarding the stadium. We had been left in a difficult position in trying to balance what we have been told in confidence, what we are aware of from our own work on the subject, and trying to help progress various options with the club. It is worth pointing out again that we do not oppose the idea of a new stadium or those who support it. The committee and I have put a lot of hours into helping those within the club who were researching this option. This is not about taking sides. There are huge potential gains to be had here but also some very serious risks.
We absolutely still believe in pursuing all of the options available and that supporting the club in their efforts is vital but we are an independent trust and will not allow ourselves to be dragged into internal wrangles or external rumours. At the request of people within the club we have kept some information confidential which is always a horrible decision to have to make but one we decided was in the best interest of the club. We were also asked to hold off on our efforts to advance the possibility of a community led option that we have put time and energy into. Again this was an incredibly difficult decision to make but as always, it was weighed up against what would work in the best interests of the supporters and club we all love.
We discussed these points at the meeting on Wednesday with Niall and another representative of the club. The meeting was frank and open and we were able to get some definitive answers to some of the questions we have been putting to them over the last year.
Firstly, despite the level of expectation now being placed on an imminent announcement, we have been told categorically that no site has yet been chosen. As we reported in our last update the club continues the long and difficult process of identifying possibilities across Oxfordshire.
Secondly the club remain open to all options. Including ones connected to the Kassam. They, like us, believe all avenues need to be pursued to find a solution to the stadium problem.
Finally the club have agreed to discuss a proposal at the next board meeting that would help progress an OxVox initiative that we hope could be a viable alternative to the difficult situation we are in.
We realise this may not be what some supporters expected or have been led to believe but we have always believed that it was better to work hard and take the time to find out the answers from those dealing with it first hand, rather than getting involved in speculation.
The OxVox (Andy James) Supporter of the Year
It is our pleasure to announce that at the end of the season we will be introducing the ‘OxVox Supporter of the Year’ award. While the plan had been in discussion for some time, we were delighted when approached by some of Andy (Womble) James’ family. They were keen to be involved and having already discussed it, we were delighted when they agreed that the trophy would affectionately be known as ‘The Womble’.
As a supporters award we were keen to make it about the fans and so we were excited when we found one of our own to make the trophy itself. It is just being finished as I type and looks fantastic. Paul Smith has been incredibly generous with his time and effort and refused to take a penny for his work. Some of you may already be familiar with his work based around the crest and we can’t thank him enough. We have also been in touch with the club who are keen to help and it has been agreed that the trophy will be awarded at the training ground, where it will sit with a photo and brief description of the winner’s contribution to both the club and the fanbase. A reminder every day to the players of what this club means to the fans.
We have agreed some fabulous surprises to thank both the winner and the shortlisted finalists on the day and we will update you closer to the time. For now, what we would like from you are your recommendations for supporter of the year. People who have gone above and beyond to support our club, help our fanbase, and contribute to our community. Please nominate someone other than yourself, who you feel is deserving of this recognition. Include their full name, a short paragraph on their ‘achievements’ for the season and where possible links to any stories or social media connected to anything they have done.
We will create a shortlist and using the bios you created for them, will put it back to the fans to vote for the winner. More than winning, it’s about recognising all of the amazing supporters and their efforts throughout the season. You have until the end of the season to get your nominations in and the voting will take place over the summer. The award will take place early next season or as soon after that point as restrictions allow.
Mickey Lewis Banner
We wanted to show our respects for a club legend who was taken from us far too young. Mickey Lewis was a larger than life character and the outpouring of grief and affection speaks volumes of the man. As a small tribute to him, Simon from our committee helped us design and have made a banner which hopefully many will have seen in the stands on ifollow. RIP Mad Dog.
As with everything this year the logistics of sitting down with Tim Davies, the club’s FD, have been tricky. Meetings have been arranged and rearranged but Tim as always was as good as his word and we now have a Zoom meeting pencilled in for later this month. We try to produce a financial report around this time every year to coincide with the release of the previous year’s accounts as we feel it is a vital part of understanding how sustainable we are and highlighting any potential areas of concern.
We were pleased to see James at the Oxford Mail pursuing this too and we intend to write up a report as soon as we have gone through our notes after the meeting. We will of course discuss the ramifications of the pandemic this year and how it affects next season as well as several other important topics.
The subject of a fans’ council was raised with us almost a year ago. Although some people are understandably concerned about its potential impact on OxVox, we are confident that this will be a positive move. The council is being set up to deal directly with fans on more ‘personal’ issues. They are not bypassing OxVox and we are still here to pass on any concerns from fans on the more specific subjects that the council will deal with, but often we were just an intermediary in these instances. We have done, and will continue to press the club on their communication with the fans: we feel there has been a noticeable void in that area since Zaki formally left the club, and we hope this is a step in the right direction. OxVox places a great deal of importance on our independence and will continue to defend it jealously, but we also encourage the club to engage fans directly as they are doing here. Andy Taylor is an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the club and a fan as well. We will work with him on this project in the hope that the club are able to deliver on their good intentions. We will continue to press the club on the bigger issues that members and fans more commonly raise with us.
When we got involved in a project to help with the amazing work done by Cherwell Larder we hoped it would resonate with other supporters too. At this difficult time our amazing supporters once again showed their generosity by helping us raise £750. This money will be delivered to them on Friday and will help them in their work providing sustainable food solutions for families struggling during the pandemic. We will continue to work with them and will keep you posted on their progress. Once again, thank you.
Match Day Experience
As part of our efforts to improve the match day experience and bring some much needed colour to the Kassam, Ali, our vice chairman, has been working on ideas with Andy Taylor to liven up some areas and make it feel a little more like home. We will bring you more information and some visuals as the project progresses.
As we have done in previous years OxVox has been in consultation with the club regarding season tickets. Both the club and supporters have been through a very challenging year and it was reassuring to hear that the club were keen to show fans their appreciation for the fantastic loyalty they have shown in a year we all knew there would be a limited amount of live football available. We continue to talk to the club as they refine the details for next season which we all hope will have us all back in the stadium and appreciating what we have missed.
Sadly the timing and severity of the pandemic has meant we could not hold an AGM last year. Meeting members and supporters is a huge part of what we do and something we pressed forward with before the Covid outbreak. AGMs, fans forums and regular tables where we could meet fans at games are a vital part of what we do and this year has been an incredibly trying one on that front. Not being able to meet in person as a committee has definitely slowed down our own processes and offered plenty of challenges, as has meeting and communicating with the club. As the vaccines take effect and the country edges back toward normality we hope to re-engage with fans in person. Updates, emails and social media are great, but talking to fans in person allows an open dialogue that connects us so much better.
It is for this reason that we will do everything in our power to hold a live AGM as soon as possible. The easing and tightening of restrictions left us changing plans on a number of occasions. We are looking at the possibility of holding an AGM with reduced numbers and a live feed a little later in the year, but we also have the back up of a completely online option. We will also be due a committee election and we will soon be giving details of the arrangements for that, and how to stand as a candidate if you wish. As always we appreciate your patience and support with this.
Finally I’d like to take this chance to thank you again for your support of OxVox. It is massively important to myself and the committee that we sustain the trust in a strong position. Our strength comes from our members. Every decision we make is based on the views of our members and what we feel is in the long term interests of our club and its amazing supporters. We will undoubtedly make mistakes and OxVox should never be beyond criticism but as always I’d ask that whatever views you have you speak to us directly. We have been starved of meeting fellow fans in person and truly appreciate your emails during what had been a very trying year for all.
OxVox takes a large slice of our time and energy but speaking to fans and members will always be a priority and never a task.
Thanks again and as always…..COYY