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Oxford might have only been playing their home games at the Kassam Stadium since 2001, but they’re now likely to be on the move with a new Oxford United stadium in the works. Here we take a look at what the plans are for the ground and the timelines involved.
Why are Oxford leaving the Kassam Stadium?
Many football fans have asked this question with the Kassam Stadium relatively new as far as football stadia go. There are a couple of reasons behind the move. The main issue being that Oxford don’t own the Kassam Stadium and the lease expires in 2026. Further to that lease agreement, essentially, it doesn’t give the club the flexibility they want to grow at a club or to support the local community. There are also the issue of transport links being somewhat poor.
When will Oxford United Stadium open?
The development of Oxford’s desired new stadium is still largely in its infancy at the moment with planning applications still needed to fully rubberstamp what the club want to do. That being said the club are “confident” of things progressing as they intend with a council decision due on September 19th.
Should the plans play out as intended, we will see Oxford leave the Kassam Stadium and head to Stratfield Brake, which is located 10 miles to the north. As part of this development, the club will reportedly shell out £100m with the stadium just part of the plan. Alongside the new Oxford United ground the land at Stratfield Brake, which is known as ‘The Triangle’, will also be used to aid the local community through sport and as a commercial hub.
All of this work is expected to take around 18 to 24 months, which likely means that Oxford won’t be playing their home games at the new location until the 2025/26 campaign. That’s just as well given what we’ve already touched on re the existing lease at the Kassam.
What will the Oxford United Stadium be like?
🏟️ Work continues to find a new home for the club and there is a substantial update to our ‘Vision' page regarding the new stadium.
Read the full version 👇
— Oxford United FC (@OUFCOfficial) May 5, 2023
The club have been reasonably tight lipped where stadium design is concerned but we do know they intend to deliver a ground that is a “new, modern, eco performing stadium” whilst the messaging that this stadium is for more than just a professional football team has been consistent. That means you can expect “improved infrastructure” and “green and open” spaces around the stadium alongside more standard inclusions of hotels, office space and a club shop, which will all feed into the Oxford coffers to support their ability to invest in the team on the pitch.
In regards to what we do know about the actual construction of the new Oxford United stadium the capacity is perhaps the most noteworthy element. The Kassam Stadium has a capacity of 12,500. This new stadium will uplift that by around 30% with the desired capacity on opening currently at 16,000. Included in that 16,000 capacity will be safe standing zones whilst the plan is to allow for east future expansion to add a further 2,000 seats.
Watch this space for more updates.