NIALL McWilliams believes a career spent in education makes him well-suited to becoming Oxford United’s managing director.

It was announced on Friday the Scot would be taking up the role, while continuing to work as executive headteacher at both the Oxford Academy and John Henry Newman Academy.

McWilliams, who turned 55 yesterday, has spent almost a quarter of a century in leadership roles in education and expects the new arrangement will be positive for all parties.

He said: “My three passions in life are education, football and family, so in many ways it’s an ideal job.

“It also benefits the school and will hopefully benefit the football club over a period of time.

“Although not all the skills cross over, a significant amount do.

“I’m used to dealing with large profile organisations and complex management systems.

“All I can say to everybody, whether it’s Oxford Academy, John Henry Newman or Oxford United, is I will just work unbelievably hard for those organisations.”

He added: “I’m passionate about football, but I’m also passionate about the impact clubs can have on communities – they are so important.

“The links between football and education are enormous. They really complement each other.

“Education can change lives, football can as well.”

McWilliams has been watching United since moving south to Witney in 1989.

He has also spent three years as a scout for Aston Villa, but the role at United will be on everything but the playing side.

“It’s not my area of expertise,” he said.

“On the football side you’ve got lots of brilliant, knowledgeable people and it’s not my place to be involved in that.

“The club has come an enormously long way in every aspect and I’ll be trying to build on those successes to take it to the next level.

“I just want to use the power of the club to have a real benefit, not only for the club but on our community.”

But while he is a United supporter, it does not mean McWilliams is worried about being able to make objective decisions.

He said: “You’ve got to be dispassionate about certain things.

“Sometimes as a fan – and I know because I’ve been there – you think ‘why are we doing this?’ – but you don’t necessarily have the full picture.

“So sometimes you’ve got to make decisions that are in the best interests of the club that people might not agree with.

“You’re never going to please everybody anyway.

“It’s not something that daunts me at all, because I’ve been doing it since 1993.”