OXFORD United’s chairman says he and the rest of the board can be held accountable if the club fails to compete at the top end of Sky Bet League One next season.

The U’s finished the 2022/23 campaign 19th in the third tier and just two points above the relegation zone.

Wins against Cheltenham Town and Forest Green Rovers ensured United entered the final day of the season safe, with only a miraculous goal swing able to send them down.

READ ALSO: Liam Manning says he will learn from Oxford United and MK Dons relegation fights

The poor showing on the pitch was made more frustrating as it followed two play-off campaigns and an eighth-placed finish in the 2021/22 campaign.

U’s chairman Grant Ferguson says that he and other board members must burden the blame if there is no improvement from the U’s in the forthcoming season.

He said: “I’m not not taking responsibility for last season but there was a transition and there was a reason for wanting that transition to take place.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got the outcome that we needed, to stay in the league.

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“Now we start building a club for the future, and the new board and new controlling shareholders will drive the business that we want to drive.

“My big thing is accountability. If we don’t deliver now, then we can be held accountable.”

Asked what went wrong for the club this year, aside from recruitment, Ferguson pointed to a ‘lack of ambition and focus’.

He said: “It’s difficult to get away from recruitment, it is the single most important business process that we have and we’ve got to get that right.

“But there was at times I think a lack of ambition, a lack of focus, and an inability to maintain consistency.

“Personally that’s the thing that I found most frustrating.

“I saw it in every game bar two, flashes of what we were capable of – sometimes it was for a whole half, sometimes it was for 30 minutes.

“Whatever we produced, it was never following into the next game and without that type of consistency, you’re always going to be on the back foot.”

Discussing how essential keeping the team in League One is for the club on and off the pitch, in addition to the stadium project, Ferguson said: “It’s massively important, but life would have gone on.

“This was never going to be a one-year project, it’s another three or four years until we’re in the stadium, and dovetailing that with the ambitions on the field has always been important.

“If we had gone down to League Two, it would certainly have been a step back but not a fatal step.”

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.