Barnsley confirm completion of takeover

Barnsley have announced the long-awaited completion of the club's takeover.

Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 1:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 1:25 pm
Out-going Barnsley owner Patrick Cryne

Barnsley have announced the long-awaited completion of the club’s takeover.

The Cryne family have agreed a deal with Chinese businessman Chien Lee’s consortium, which includes American investors Paul Conway and Grace Hung - with the club announcing the news in an official statement yesterday.

Discussions have been long and drawn out over several months, with local businessman Patrick Cryne desperate to protect the values of the football club.

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Cryne took the reigns back in 2004 and helped keep the Reds financially stable during some tough times at Oakwell.

Billy Beane, the pioneer of Moneyball – a data system which Barnsley already implement in trying to find players – will also be on the Reds’ board, alongside Neerav Parekh.

A club statement read: “The best interests of Barnsley Football Club and its fans have always been at the forefront of everybody’s minds and the Cryne family is now happy to officially announce that a deal has been agreed between all of the parties.

“The club have gained English Football League approval for the change in majority shareholder and our new shareholders have now taken up their positions on the board of Barnsley Football Club.

“Patrick Cryne believes that the new ownership has all the synergies, skills and resources needed to make a success of the future of Barnsley Football Club.

“The purchase of a football club at any level is a long and complicated process which requires a high level of confidentiality, therefore we appreciate all the patience and cooperation from our fan base.

“We would like to thank the English Football League for their cooperation and help during the completion of this process.”

Cryne’s decision to sell the club came after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Lee and Conway have watched the Reds on many occasions throughout the season and they were joined by Hung in the directors’ box during Saturday’s goalless draw at Brentford.

CAO Gauthier Ganaye said: “We would like to thank every member of our loyal fan base for their patience and continued support over recent months.

“An exciting chapter is opening for Barnsley Football Club and we are looking forward to the future together.”

A consortium consisting of Lee, Conway and Hung last year purchased 80 per cent of French club Nice, who finished third in Ligue 1 and qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history during the first season under new ownership.

The consortium have been trying to break into the English football market for some time, with a failed bid for Middlesbrough following talks with other Championship clubs including Brentford.

But they found a willing partner in Barnsley and want to build on the fantastic work done by Cryne over the years in developing the club and further enhancing it on and off the pitch.

Co-chairman Lee said: “We are very excited to partner with the Cryne family and invest in Barnsley Football Club.

“The Cryne family have exhibited spectacular leadership building Barnsley Football Club over the last 14 years and we are excited to join them to further the growth of the club.”

Whilst fellow chairman Conway added: “Similar to our investment in OGC Nice, we expect to further enhance the academy, playing squad, commercial operations and fan experience of Barnsley Football Club.

“Barnsley has some of the most passionate fans in England and we look forward to meeting many of its supporters in the upcoming weeks.”

Meanwhile, Barnsley have reportedly agreed a £2m fee to offload wantaway defender Andy Yiadom to Swansea City when the transfer window opens in January.