Law Society probes Oxford United chief

The managing director of struggling football club Oxford United is being investigated by the Law Society.

The investigation is believed to centre on the disastrous land deal which has left the football club with a half-built stadium on the edge of the city and debts of £13m.

Managing director Keith Cox came in for criticism after it emerged London law firm Cox Clitheroe, of which he is a partner, was paid more than £235,000 in fees in one year for the unfinished stadium.

Oxford United still plays at its decrepit Manor Ground after running out of cash and into debt in building a new one at Minchery Farm. Developers Taylor Woodrow walked out in December 1996 owed £6m for construction work.

Cox and Cox Clitheroe were reported to the Law Society by Les Wells, who runs a haulage firm on land adjacent to the new stadium. Wells' claims he is owed the balance of a £375,000 offer made by a company set up by the club to buy his land. Wells, who refuses to vacate his land, says: “I am very unhappy with the whole situation.”

Jacki Anderson, spokeswoman of the Solicitors Practice Unit at the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors, confirms the claims against Cox are being investigated. It is understood Cox Clitheroe has made its reply to the allegations, though Anderson refuses to confirm this.

Cox at the time of going to press was unavailable for comment. The club said he was busy in meetings.