OXFORD United’s new supporter liaison officer (SLO) is relishing the day he can welcome fans back to the Kassam Stadium.

Andy Taylor has stepped into the role formally, having previously combined it with his existing position as head of matchday operations.

It is a unique time to be an SLO, with all-but three games at Grenoble Road this season taking place behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But with a limited number of fans set to be allowed back in grounds from May 17, the U’s can start planning for the return of crowds when the new season begins in August.

Taylor said: “There’s been several informal conversations regarding what it looks like with fans.

“I think the consensus is yes, there will be fans back.

Banbury Cake: Andy Taylor Picture: OUFC

Andy Taylor Picture: OUFC

“How that takes form we don’t know, and we’re still waiting to hear back how that pans out.

“We cannot wait for the fans to come back.”

He added: “We’ve had a couple of occasions to get fans in the ground, so we’ve seen what we need to do to make things better and easier.

“We know we can do it and we’ve had a leap on a lot of clubs that haven’t had that opportunity.

“There’s quite a lot of work still to be done.

“There’s a bridge to maintain and I’ll do my best to make sure the relationship stays strong.”

The SLO role is not limited to matchdays, with Taylor on hand to answer concerns throughout the week.

Meanwhile, United are close to setting up a fan council comprising of supporters from a range of backgrounds, such as the new Armed Forces Supporters Club.

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That group was set up by U’s follower Andy Wilmer and Taylor encouraged similar initiatives.

He said: “We actively encourage any projects where fans want to engage with the club.

“We’re here to support and we’ll help when we can.”

It is exciting for Taylor, a U’s fan since the early 1980s who played for the academy as a youngster and has seen everything from a Milk Cup triumph to relegation to the Conference.

He said: “I’ve been around the club since I was five or six years of age.

“I grew up in the first couple of seasons we were promoted, which culminated in winning a cup, and you’re thinking ‘this keeps getting better’.

“I was there when it went the other way as well, so I’ve seen it through thick and thin.”