Barnsley FC chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad discusses the season ticket price freeze, his letter to the EFL about Reading's finances, the increase in injuries this season, queues for food and drink at Oakwell and various issues relating to the owners.
SEASON TICKETS PRICE FREEZE
We are already one of the cheapest in the Championship. If you look at a club like Luton, their season ticket is a little bit more expensive than ours which means they will generate a bit more money.
We tried to be fair to our fans. We discussed lowering the prices, but we collectively decided on this launch.
Historically there is always a drop-off in season ticket sales when you go from the Championship to League One. People call me naive but I want a sold-out Oakwell regardless of league level.
Games should be an amazing event that everyone comes to because they want to support the club. If people leave and don’t renew their season tickets, that is something I cannot affect. It is a personal decision. But it is sad. I have got hundreds and hundreds of letters – and I answer almost every one – from fans who have been going for 30 or 40 years and feel the club is going very wrong. But I feel the club is moving forward, disregarding the results.
HIS LETTER TO THE EFL ABOUT READING’S LOSSES, SUGGESTING THEY ARE BREAKING SPENDING RULES
I am just curious of how the mechanism works and how certain teams can lose millions and millions and millions and how the regulations work? It is up to the legal entities and the league to decide who is right and wrong.
I don’t think Reading will get any points taken off this season. That wasn’t necessarily the intention, it was to ask questions. We want to make sure we don’t get in the situation Wycombe is in.
(Wycombe are in a legal battle after they were relegated at the expense of Derby County who were later deducted points.)
INCREASE IN INJURIES THIS SEASON
We have looked into it. Outside of two players who we pushed a bit too hard after Covid, every injury has been a contact injury.
It might be a player who has slipped on the training pitch or someone stepped on him in the set pieces.
It’s very unfortunate and it adds to a bad season. You could speak to Vikki (Stevens, physio) or Matt (Cook, sports scientist), and in all our years we have never seen a season like this. It shows our resilience that we are still in the fight.
PROTESTS AGAINST OWNERS
I have seen the ‘Conway out’ graffiti in the bathroom, I attended an event at the Garrison.
I think it is important everyone knows we are not afraid of the protests and I will answer as many questions as I can about the period I have been here.
When I asked the owners if they would sell, they said ‘yes’. But someone has to come with the right valuation. What that valuation is, you will have to ask them.
THE OWNERS’ PURCHASE OF KAISERSLAUTERN
As far as I know, it won’t have any impact. The discussions I have with the owners are about Barnsley Football Club. I don’t know what they do outside the club, I don’t know how much money they spend. I don’t get involved and don’t spend much time thinking about it.
LEGAL BATTLE BETWEEN MAJORITY OWNERS AND CRYNE FAMILY
I know as little as you. I hope it gets resolved for the best of the club but I stay out of it to make sure I represent Barnsley, its fans, the players and my employees.
I want to be neutral.
(El-Ahmad also said he had no more information to provide on the £750,000 paid by the club rather than owners towards the sale of the club, or when a full explanation would be provided.)
QUEUES FOR FOOD AND DRINK AT OAKWELL
The matchday experience is not great and there were very long queues at the Reading game. That is unacceptable if we are going to ask people to support us. All the staff know what I think about that. We are working hard to improve it. We are talking to Barnsley College about taking over one of the concourses. We are trying to bring new food trucks in.
HERBIE KANE’S FUTURE AFTER HIS OXFORD LOAN
He will be reporting to pre-season along with Jack Aitchison, Luke Thomas and Joe Ackroyd (who are also out on loan and still in contract for next season). But then you don’t know what will happen during the summer.