Oxford United, Fusion Lifestyle and Oxford City Council have reached an agreement for Oxford Sports Park to become the new home of Oxford United’s training facility.
The new £4.9m sports park, in Horspath Road, will be home for all Oxford United’s outdoor training, including for the first team, under 18s and academy.
The sports park, which is across 39 acres of land, will feature new football, cricket and softball pitches, practice areas, a pavilion and changing rooms for the public.
The number of pitches at the site has been increased – by making more efficient use of the space – to accommodate Oxford United, which will have exclusive use of four full-sized pitches and two goalkeeper training areas, as well as space to build a new pavilion.
Oxford Sports Park will provide the following facilities for the wider community:
- Three full-size grass football pitches
- Two nine-a-side grass football pitches
- Three mini football pitches
- Six floodlit 3G pitches (five-a-side and seven-a-side)
- Two 7v7 flood-lit 3G football pitches
- Two grass cricket pitches
- Four softball diamonds (summer only)
- Public pavilion including six changing rooms, officials changing rooms, kitchen, social space and storage
- A 150-space car park featuring 12 electric vehicle charging points
- A habitat area with pond
Oxford United FC, which has a 25-year lease to operate the facility, will host club pitch hire, competitions, leagues, children’s sports parties and events at Oxford Sports Park.
Any teams or groups interested in using the facilities can register their interest by emailing Andrew Harvey firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new facility, which is on Oxford City Council-owned land, is funded by the City Council using £4.9m of payments from BMW (UK) Manufacturing.
Oxford Sports Park will replace the current football pitches in Horspath Road, which are owned by BMW’s MINI Plant Oxford and were previously run by the Rover Sports and Social Club.
The new facilities will significantly improve sports provision in the area. The old Rover Sports and Social Club facilities, on 25 acres, has four full-sized grass football pitches, two grass 9v9 football pitches and two small sided grass football pitches.
Oxford City Council’s objective is to increase participation in sport to help tackle health inequalities across Oxford. Men in the least deprived area of Oxford outlive those in the most deprived area by an average of 9.3 years.
Richard Blackmore, Oxford United’s Head of Club Operations, said: “It is an exciting move for the club. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage; not just over the last few years but also historically because the club never really had a permanent base until they got back into the Football League in 2010. This will give us fantastic new facilities on the edge of the city and allow all areas of the club to work side by side, from the young players in the Academy right through to the first team.
“We’d like to thank BMW for being such great landlords but it is time to move on and we now look forward to working with the City Council and with Fusion because the facilities here will be shared with the whole city and hopefully become a major boost for football in general in Oxford, as well as for United.
“In particular we would like to thank Darryl Eales who has believed in this project throughout his time as Chairman and I think leaves this as a fantastic parting gift for the club, and our new Chairman Tiger who understands the importance of top class training facilities to help move the whole club forward.”
Mark Munday, Divisional Business Manager for Fusion Lifestyle, said: “We are thrilled to have made this agreement with Oxford United. We have a long association with Oxford United and look forward to an even closure relationship in the future.”
Councillor Linda Smith, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Oxford United for the new Oxford Sports Park to become the home of the club’s training facility.
“Oxford Sports Park will provide fantastic new facilities for people of all ages to get into sport in Oxford, but I think this new partnership, with community teams training right next to Oxford United’s stars, will be particularly impactful and inspiring for the city’s children.
“One of the principle aims of the City Council is to tackle inequality across Oxford, particularly in health. Building on the recent investment in sport at the Leys Pools and Leisure Centre and Rose Hill Community Centre, Oxford Sports Park will create a vast new sports facility on the edge of our city that will help people of all ages to keep fit, make social connections and have fun.”