Oxford United’s clash against Arsenal chance to show why club needs new stadium

Oxford United face Arsenal at the Kassam Stadium tonight <i>(Image: David Fleming)</i>
Oxford United face Arsenal at the Kassam Stadium tonight (Image: David Fleming)

OXFORD United’s glamour tie against Arsenal in the Emirates FA Cup has the potential to highlight why the club needs a new stadium, says the chair of a supporter group.

The U’s welcome the Premier League leaders to the Kassam Stadium tonight, in front of what will be a sold-out crowd and the TV cameras.

Coverage of the third round clash begins on ITV1 at 7.30pm this evening, while the match will also be shown across the globe.

Tickets were initially available for season ticket holders and members, before going out to fans who attended either of the first or second round fixtures.

The final tickets were snapped up within an hour of going on general sale.

Paul Peros, chair of the independent supporter group OxVox, told the Oxford Mail: “It’s a big game and really exciting, and it’s a respite from the league.

“This game is about the fans and shows how special the FA Cup is.

“The Premier League leaders coming here is a really big occasion and follows some other really exciting games which have been played here in the past couple of years.”

United remain on the search to build a new stadium with The Triangle – south of Kidlington Roundabout – set to be discussed by Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet later this month.

A decision on whether to enter formal negotiations regarding leasing council-owned land at The Triangle for the development of a new stadium will be made on January 24.

Proposals would then be subject to the planning process, led by the local planning authority Cherwell District Council.

READ MORE: ‘Stadium proposals need to get to planning stage to show community benefits’

Peros said: “There’ll be great revenue for the club from the Arsenal game and it’s really helpful for people to see that we need a new stadium.

“Tickets weren’t on general sale for long and the fact they sold so quickly shows a lot of people care about this club.

“These are magical occasions for the supporters, we go through lots of ups and downs as supporters, and these games are a massive treat for us.

“If we can get a draw and then go to a replay at the Emirates, that would be amazing.

“I’m hoping for a really entertaining game, a score draw would be pretty special.”

Katy Whilton, deputy manager of the Corner House pub in Headington, said: “There’s a big footfall of people that come here that support Oxford United and you’d hope they could come for a pint and enjoy the game against Arsenal.

“I imagine the pubs in Blackbird Leys will be rammed and there’ll be a great atmosphere there for the game.”