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BOARD SPEAK TO PRESS FOLLOWING RESTRUCTURE

1 June 2022

Barnsley board members Neerav Parekh, Jean Cryne and Khaled El-Ahmad spoke to the press on Tuesday following the recent restructure, and answered questions on a number of topics surrounding the club.

On what brought about the restructure at board level:

NP: "The majority of Pacific Media Group's shares were actually owned by investors below them. There was a nominee agreement in place for four years. That agreement expired, and the shareholders voted to affect the current changes that you see with the board today."

 

On what changes the board would like to make:

NP: "Fan experience, we are looking at that front and centre. We are also looking at things on the players' side, in terms of the footballing side. We want to make sure football is a priority at this football club, nothing else, and we want the fan experience to be extremely good.

"We want tonnes of things. We want Fanzone, catering, experience on matchdays, there's a lot of things we can improve on. In terms of a larger picture, the focus will be on football.

"It's not that much of a change from what Barnsley Football Club is used to. Take it back to the community, take it back to the local club and focus on the football. It's not really that hard."

 

On the search for a new Head Coach:

KEA: "We're down to a final five candidates. The process has been going on for some time because we wanted to make sure we do our due diligence. We want the person to be in place no later than June 13 for when the pre-season starts. 

"In my opinion, there is no real delay because there's due diligence, there are contractual situations."

 

On players departing:

KEA: "We have received some official bids, but none that we have accepted. The market usually speaks for itself. Players do well, they usually get an opportunity. Players don't do well, they usually don't get an opportunity. 

"The very positive injection of capital from the owners, which is well appreciated, gives us a bit of time, but it's a balance. We want the manager and the players in by pre-season, but there is always going to be room for players coming in on the last day of the transfer window, somebody leaving on the last day of the transfer window. The window is open for that set of time for a reason."

 

Jean Cryne on her new role as a director:

JC: "I'm just happy to help really. I never disappeared, even after Patrick's death. Historically all the time I spent at the club with him, plus without him, and I'm still here. 

"I just want to get back to the club we were. It's as simple as that for me. I've got people around me now that I feel that we can do it. 

"I just really hope they'll [the fans] trust in what we're trying to do. We can't promise that automatically everything will be put right, but as I said earlier, we've got a lot of good people at this club who've stayed with the club, and I've got Neerav here and he's desperate to see things right. You can only hope with all that in the mix that we will try, we will try and get there."

On off-the-field developments:

NP: "We've been talking to the council, even before the board change happened. We want to have a good relationship with the council, talk to them both about the stadium but also the town centre, making Oakwell a venue for more than just matchdays, and we're also talking to them about extending the lease.

"We don't want to leave the stadium, I can put that out there. The intention is to stay on at Oakwell, moving away would not be part of the plan." 

 

On the financial future of the club:

NP: "There's no secret of it, we've taken a huge hit in revenue. Wages obviously don't come down proportionally, but to reassure fans what I can say is, we've made a capital call for one million pounds, and if money's needed further down the summer, we will make another capital call and shareholders will be asked to contribute again."

 

On relationship with Barnsley Council: 

KEA: "One of the first meetings I had, when I came to the club eight months ago, was to sit down with members of the council. I already talked about at that point that my intention was not to leave, we've since hired an independent consultant to support us. We've had workshops with the council, we've talked to Dan Jarvis, and it's all going in a positive direction.

"Last week we had another meeting to talk about the future and co-operation between the council and the club. This is not just about the lease, it's about the co-operation with the police, it's about the event. It's about not just what we are going to do next season, but hopefully 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now. So far, everything has been positive." 

 

On recruitment:

KEA: "I have mentioned before in interviews and fans forums saying we were only going to sign players 23 and younger. The vision is that way because they are usually less injury-prone, they are cheaper, there is a re-sell value, but they can also adapt to play the press and counter-press much more efficiently.

"We as a board are discussing, we want to be one of the youngest teams in England and Europe in terms of average age. Instead of talking about specific signings that are 23 and younger, we're going to look at the squad balance itself. There is room for a 30-year-old, there is room for an 18-year-old. The actual squad balance has to be right to be the most competitive on the pitch we can be to win games. 

"It's easy to just say experience, if you don't find the right character in experience, it can be more negative than positive. We are speaking to players who are 27, 29, as much as we are speaking to players that are 20, 22, 24." 

NP: "There's grace in the budget to bring a few in first, but obviously it's not going to be multi-million pound purchases, it might be a few free transfers, a few people who come in for lower fees, and then we'll have a sense of what our financial budget is closer to the window.

"There is a transfer budget, but it depends on outgoings as well, it's fluid, but we are going to look at bringing players in. We need to strengthen the squad, the idea is to get out of League One at the first opportunity."

 

Coaching structure at the club:

KEA: "We're reviewing the entire structure at the club. In January we made a bit of a change where we tried to bridge the gap between the academy and the first team, we brought Martin Devaney into the first team squad, we then brought Tom Harban in. Along with Bobby, the board and myself, we are looking at how to create the best possible working environment."

 

On the West Stand:

KEA: "We're going to do the right reviews that we need to do. Keep a good dialogue with the council, which we did at that point as well. At this point, there is no thought of closing it, and anything we want to do in and around Oakwell is hopefully looking at that from a broader perspective."


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