Barnsley signs new 30-year deal to remain at Oakwell

Featured image credit: Bradley Rial

League One football club Barnsley has secured a new 30-year lease deal with Barnsley Council to continue playing at Oakwell.

The deal has been signed after the council last year became the sole owner of Oakwell Community Assets Limited (OCAL), which owns the stadium and land around it. The Cryne family had previously been joint owners of OCAL with the council since 2003.

The council’s new agreement with the football club is designed to provide long-term security and stability for both organisations. Oakwell will receive “long-awaited” investment as part of the deal.

Barnsley will be able to host unique fan experiences and events, music concerts, corporate conferences and community activities at Oakwell. The club’s newly-formed women’s team will also continue to play games at Oakwell throughout the regular season.

OCAL will invest in Oakwell using the income generated by the new agreement, which means the investment will be cost-neutral to the council. A variety of works to prolong the life of the stadium and improve the fan experience are planned, with further details to be shared by the club and be developed with the soon-to-be-established Fan Advisory Group.

Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “The council became a 50% owner of Oakwell Community Assets Limited, which owns the stadium and land around it, in 2003. This was part of a deal that saved Barnsley Football Club from going out of business at the time. That deal proved hugely successful and secured the existence of a professional football club in Barnsley.

“We’re proud to have played a key role in securing the future of professional football in the borough and we’re now proud to be taking the next step in securing that future for many years to come. This agreement helps unlock much-needed investment at Oakwell, to improve community provision and improve the experience for visitors to the club.

“Both the council and Barnsley FC acknowledge the huge contribution the late Patrick Cryne made to securing the survival of Barnsley FC, and building the successful and resilient club it is today. We’re grateful to the Cryne family for their cooperation in securing this future for Oakwell.”

Neerav Parekh, chairman of Barnsley FC’s board, said: “This is another step forward for the club, with the future of Oakwell now resolved. This was a key task after the reconstitution of the board just over 18 months ago – to agree a new long-term lease. We want Barnsley Football Club to remain in Barnsley, and this agreement now guarantees that.

“We also promised to repair our relationship with the town and the community of Barnsley. As directors of the club, we’re delighted to be working hand-in-hand with the council, and would like to thank them for their support throughout this process. I would also like to thank Jean Cryne in particular, for putting the interests of the club and town at the heart of everything she does at Barnsley.”