Paul Conway, Barnsley's co-chairman, gave a rare interview with local press. Here is what he said on:
IMPACT OF COVID-19
Pre-pandemic we were one of two clubs in the Championship who balanced their budgets.
So, in a pandemic, it hurts us and we have losses like any other club, but the losses are much smaller than the average Championship club that is losing £10million per year pre-pandemic.
We’re managing it quite well and we’re better off than most EFL clubs.
There is no change. We work to a balanced budget, we have the youngest team in the first four divisions in England. You are starting to see some of these players really shining with a year or two in the Championship.
With our success last season, we are getting players in that we probably wouldn’t have been able to in the past.
The average wage in the Championship is £15,000 per week which is crazy. We’re not going to do stupid things like 85 per cent of clubs do in this division. We’re working our way up the right way.
COST OF THE PLAY-OFFS
We actually lost £500,000 for getting in the play-offs as a result of not having many fans at the games, plus costs and bonuses.
We have said to the EFL that, in almost every other league around Europe, you get an additional solidarity payment for success.
SIGNING PLAYERS THIS SUMMER
We had three transfer agreements signed with three Premier League clubs this summer.
One fell apart because the player wanted a 40 per cent raise to come to Barnsley, another one because the player disagreed with the style of play, but the third one is the craziest.
The player reached personal terms, passed a medical, did his media and, when he was asked to sign a contract, he went outside with his agent and drove away.
We’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s probably good that that happened because we don’t want players who don’t have that courage.
FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY
We have clubs in four countries, and England is in the worst place to operate. Teams cheat left and right, especially in this division.
The league is getting a little bit better at stopping that but there is a way to go. All the clubs say we need better rules and fair play but then, in a vote, there are usually only two who vote for it.
La Liga have a team of accountants who know the clubs’ finances better than the clubs. It’s all about the enforcement when rules are broken.
DANE MURPHY’S EXIT AND THE LACK OF A CLUB STATEMENT ABOUT IT
As a football club, not every person who joins or leaves has press about that. Sometimes there are mitigating circumstances.
His contact expired and he’s gone.
We have a new executive (Khaled El-Ahmad) who definitely helps us in areas we need to improve in – academy, commercial and getting stronger in recruiting in North America, Scandinavia and other places.
He has been balancing this role and his old role but he starts full-time at Barnsley on Monday.
HEAD COACH RELEASE CLAUSES
Our ability to attract foreign managers is based on our pitch of the opportunity, and that usually requires a release clause.
Valerien did an incredible job here and he wanted to leave.
We would rather have a release clause than the manager say ‘I want to leave’ and have no process.
I think it’s good for a club like Barnsley. It enables us to better recruit foreign managers.
(Conway confirmed that Markus Schopp has a release clause.)
ON HOW OWNING FOUR OTHER CLUBS HELPS BARNSLEY
Brexit makes it difficult for us to sign EU players for Barnsley but, if they really believe in the project, they can sign for one of our others clubs in the EU and get points, then join Barnsley. We can also loan players to our other clubs where we know they will develop in the style of play we want instead of other English clubs who might play different ways.