Paul Heckingbottom has expressed his shock and sadness that Barnsley FC owner Patrick Cryne has cancer, but insists the Reds will continue their progress despite his absence.
A club statement revealed that the owner, who rescued the club from administration before spending more than a decade in charge, 'will withdraw from any involvement with the football club for the foreseeable future while he receives treatment.' Chief executive Linton Brown is now in charge of the board which also includes chairman Maurice Watkins, director Barry Taylor and new member Robert Zuk who is the finance director.
Heckingbottom told the Chronicle: "It puts everything in perspective. "It has been a big shock for everyone at the club, even the staff who don't know Patrick, and it has hit us all very hard. He is the figurehead of the club and the driving force behind everything we do. Stepping away is the right decision for him and his family and the thoughts of everyone at the club are with him."
While it is unclear how much of a role Cryne will now play at Oakwell he will no longer be as involved as he has been in recent years. Cryne had taken a more active role in the running of the club since a high-profile court case and other health issues.
He has had the final say on the firing and hiring of staff while also signing off every player transfer. He also implemented a policy of almost exclusively signing players under 25 and developing them.
Heckingbottom said: "Patrick has changed the way the club is run in recent years and come up with a plan that has been working. We will continue that plan in his absence and make sure the club keeps going in the direction he wanted it to go."
In an interview with the Chronicle earlier this year, 65-year-old Cryne said that he would only stay on as owner for another two years at the most and that he would like to make the club self-sustainable before handing it over to the fans.
Heckingbottom said: "Nothing will change in the short-term. "Whether it changes in the long-term is up to Patrick and what he wants to do."
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Reds shocked by Cryne illness but vow to continue his plans
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