THERE has been an air of mystery around Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth ever since he was first spotted at an Oxford United game earlier this season.

Following his formal unveiling at the Kassam Stadium yesterday, plenty remains unclear.

After being held up by the rail network on his way to Oxford, solid details on his vision for the club were thin on the ground.

Whether it was lost in translation or not, those hoping for some meat to put on the bones when it comes to what happens next will have to wait.

The three years spent as part of a consortium which ran Reading were mentioned regularly and the 55-year-old believes the time spent in the hotseat at the Madejski Stadium can only benefit his new role.

He said: “I think that will be an advantage for Oxford because I have experience already and it was a good experience.

“I’m going to bring all the connections I have and all the knowledge, all the good things from Reading so it can happen at Oxford.”

His time with the Sky Bet Championship club came to an end last May.

At the time one of his fellow consortium members, Lady Sasima Srivikorn, was quoted as saying the decision to sell was down to the costs involved at competing in the second tier.

But Thanakarnjanasuth, whose nickname comes from being born in 1962, the Year of the Tiger, had a different view.

“I didn’t say this,” he said.

“It was one of my partners. She wanted to get out from the club so then one of our Chinese friends wanted to get involved and wanted to be the majority (stakeholder) and be in charge.

“Then we just left, that’s it.”

Unlike Reading, where the Thai consortium are building a £500m housing development next to the stadium, United do not own land which can be built upon.

It remains to be seen whether other investors will come aboard, but from Thanakarnjanasuth’s perspective reaching the Championship is not seen as an issue financially.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “That’s the first target. There’s no guarantee, but I just want it to happen.

“If it happens next season I would be so happy.”

Darryl Eales has long talked about the need for a partner to share the burden required to survive in the second tier.

And the outgoing chairman believes this deal will improve United’s chances.

Eales said: “One of the disappointing features of football now is it’s such a financially painful game.

“The sadness in general is that a local businessman needs to be a multi-multi millionaire to own a club – you can see by the ownership pattern across the country how infrequent that is.

“Our ambition is to try to achieve Championship status. Bringing in Tiger can help achieve that.

“There is no point getting promoted into the Championship if you are going to struggle at the bottom end and get relegated.

“The general consensus in football is that the Championship is now the most challenging division.”

Tiger watched United as early as September, just a few months after leaving Reading.

It has taken well over half a season to reach a deal, but it has not been down to other options on the table.

Thanakarnjanasuth made it clear the U’s were the only club he had considered – and did not feel negotiations had been complicated.

He said: “It was just Oxford.

“When I started to come I just wanted to look around.

“We didn’t really talk seriously (at first).

“After I came and looked at the team two or three times, then I decided this is going to be my team.

“We just went through some legal documents that we needed to verify and see before we finalised things.

“It wasn’t a very long process.”

The details on the deal itself were provided by Eales.

He said: “My shareholding is just under ten per cent, but I have still got quite a lot of financial investment in the club because I wanted to help Tiger.

“There was a balance between what he gives me and what goes into the club and I said ‘look, we have to strike the right balance here’.

“That was one area that took not so much negotiation but more working out.

“This was about trying to do the right thing for Oxford United.

“There’s an element of me having to look after my own financials – and £9m (invested) is a big commitment.

“But I think we have got to a very good solution.

“Effectively, all I have said is that I will defer some payments to me to enable Tiger to put more money into the club.”

Time will tell how that is spent – actions speak louder than words.