Oxford: Eastleigh owner Stewart Donald purchases 10% stake

Stewart Donald
Donald has been chairman of National League Eastleigh since November 2011

Businessman Stewart Donald has taken a 10% stake in League Two Oxford United.

Donald will remain owner of National League club Eastleigh and cannot take a seat on the Oxford board.

However, he will sponsor the women's academy teams, having previously been an informal investor.

"The simplest way to look at it is like having two children. You try not to love one more than the other and try to do your best for both of them." he told BBC Radio Oxford.

Donald is believed to have a strong relationship with chairman Darryl Eales despite publicly backing a rival bid to buy the club last year.

Football League regulations cap interests in more than one club at 10%.

And despite being a lifelong Oxford supporter, Donald stressed he will continue to fulfil his obligations at Eastleigh.

"Everybody at Eastleigh knows I'm an Oxford fan and the fact I'm taking 10% and not any more shows I'm retaining my interest there.

"Eastleigh is my prime club financially and I'm just as committed as ever to make sure they have a successful season."

Who is Stewart Donald?
Witney-based businessman and lifelong Oxford United fan
Became chairman and majority shareholder of Eastleigh in February 2012
Runs club's main sponsor Bridle Insurance, which also sponsors sections of Oxford United
Oversaw Eastleigh's promotion from Conference South in 2013/14
Helped fund signings of former Football League players including Jack Midson, Paul Reid and James Constable

The Spitfires just missed out on promotion to the Football League last season, losing in the play-off semi-finals against Grimsby.

Donald cited one of the priorities for Oxford United is securing their own ground in the long-term.

The U's currently rent the Kassam Stadium, their home since 2001, from former chairman Firoz Kassam.

"The club needs to be in control of the revenue streams," he added.

"When you hear 2,000 season tickets go towards paying the rent, it's obviously a leveller in League Two and we wouldn't have that handicap to getting out of the league.

"I would certainly be encouraging Darryl to pursue a ground acquisition."