Barnsley: Reds ‘set for Moneyball takeover by baseball pioneer Billy Beane’

Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom
Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom
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Baseball pioneer Billy Beane is part of the consortium which is closing in on buying Barnsley.

The consortium, led by Chinese billionaire Chien Lee, also includes American businessman Paul Conway.

Former professional baseball player Beane was the man who came up with the ‘Moneyball’ format, which uses statistics to identify hidden talent.

The buyers will pay £20m for Patrick Cryne’s 98.5 per cent stake at the club.

Terminally ill owner Cryne penned an emotional letter to the club’s fans in Tuesday night’s programme for their game against Derby, admitting he is “living on borrowed time” and that he does not expect to live to see the rest of the season.

And the sale of the club could be finalised before the end of this month with talks advancing.

Beane shot to fame when he made US baseball team Oakland Athletics a competitive force - with a 20-game winning streak - despite their low budget, using his ‘Moneyball’ system. Brad Pitt later portrayed him in the 2011 film.

The trio of investors all have experience in the football industry.

Chinaman Lee is already the majority shareholder at French club Nice and has tried to buy an English club for the past year.

He previously had failed talks with Hull City and Middlesbrough in his attempt to break into the English football market.

Conway is also a director at Nice, whilst Beane was previously an adviser at AZ Alkmaar.

Meanwhile, the news of the takeover is set to grab the headlines and overshadow the Reds’ game against Aston Villa tonight.

Andy Yiadom, whose deals to join Huddersfield Town and Swansea City both fell through, will undergo a scan on Monday to ascertain how bad his back injury is.

Lloyd Isgrove has been back in training this week, but is still a couple weeks shy of match fitness.

Adam Hammill and Harvey Barnes both missed training on Thursday after knocks in mid-week, but are fit for selection.

Cameron McGeehan is back in the fold after his nine-month layoff with a broken leg and played a couple of minutes against Derby and he could be set to get more minutes under his belt at Oakwell.

The Northern Irishman said: “It’s just all about being patient.

“It was great to get on and share that big moment with everyone on Tuesday.

“I just want to get more minutes under my belt now and build from there.”