OxVox in talks over Oxford United stadium sale
Supporters of Oxford United are in talks with the club's former owner over buying the League One side's stadium.
OxVox, The U's supporter group, confirmed it had begun "constructive and positive discussions" with Firoz Kassam about buying the 12,500-seater stadium.
Mr Kassam bought the club in 1999 for £1 and sold it in 2006 for £2m, but retained ownership of the stadium.
He said he is open to the "principle" of community ownership.
Oxford United chairman Darryl Eales said he had made three bids to buy the stadium, two of which were rejected while another was "still on the table".
He said: "My plea is now to make swift progress. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the by the end of the season, sooner if possible, that the stadium ownership is resolved for the long term."
'Cause for optimism'
Mr Kassam said: "I am happy to confirm the principle, after discussions with OxVox, that the target for the stadium is that it should pass into community ownership for the future security of the football club and the benefit of the local community."
Chairman of the supporter's group Jem Faulkner welcomed the news.
He said: "Everything is all still at a very early stage and there is much detail to work through, but the willingness of all parties to talk openly and discuss the possibilities gives us great cause for optimism."
The Yellows enjoyed one of their most successful seasons last year after reaching the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, beating Premier League side Swansea in the FA Cup third round by 3-2, and gaining promotion to League One.
Repeated sell-out crowds led the club to put in planning permission to erect a fourth stand at the ground.
Oxford City Council approved plans last month for 735 new seats, bringing the ground's overall capacity to 13,235.