A deal for the sale of Barnsley FC is close to being struck but it will not mean the removal of Keith Hill as manager, says the football agent who Reds’ owner Patrick Cryne tasked with finding a buyer.
Former Liverpool and Middlesbrough striker Dave Hodgson – the agent used by Simon Davey to bring the likes of Heinz Muller, Dominik Werling and Marciano van Homoet to Oakwell – was asked by Cryne to search for investment.
Hodgson introduced Cryne to a consortium that is interested in buying the club.The group includes several Italian and British businessmen and talks with Cryne are ongoing.
The Chronicle understands the consortium will keep Keith Hill as manager and make funds available to strengthen the squad in January.
Hodgson, who was in the home directors’ box for the game against Peterborough on Tuesday night, told the Chronicle: “The consortium that I have introduced to Barnsley Football Club includes some Italians but is more than just one individual. The group includes several people with different skill sets that would be beneficial for the running of the football club.
“Talks are ongoing and I believe a deal could happen shortly. It was our aim to do this without it getting into the public domain but now that it’s out there it makes sense for me to speak about it as I understand there are several concerns.
“Discussions are still going on and there’s still quite a bit of work needed to do be done to bring this to a conclusion. If you asked any average family in Barnsley that was looking for a new car, they wouldn’t rush into a decision and they’d look for the best deal – it’s the same when you’re buying a football club.
“At the same time Patrick Cryne will only sell to the right person so we’ve got to be patient and see how everything unfolds.”
Hodgson insists that the consortium has the club’s best interests at heart and that there was no truth in suggestions that manager Keith Hill would be sacked. He said: “Replacing the management team isn’t on the agenda. Keith Hill is doing a good job on a small budget and there’s no talk of him being replaced. Patrick Cryne made it clear to me that he wanted Barnsley Football Club to go to the next level and he wants any new people coming in to keep the format as it is. He doesn’t want to fix what isn’t broken. Patrick and Don Rowing respect me enough to ask for my help. I’m the middle man trying to find the club a suitable owner.
“Patrick wants the new owners to take the club to being a top Championship side that can perhaps have a go at getting to the Premier League.”
Hodgson, who managed Darlington on three occasions, praised the way Barnsley Football Club was run and said it was attractive to potential buyers.
“In Barnsley Football Club you have a club that is run incredibly, incredibly well,” he said.
“The club has no debt and is competing at a good standard in the Championship. I know the club from my time working with Simon Davey when I was asked to bring several players in from abroad with a low budget.”
Meanwhile, the Chronicle understands there have been three other enquiries to buy the club but that no official bids have been made. The club refused to comment.