Thursday 17 January 2019

'Mr Moneyball' attracted to Barnsley

Billy Beane
Billy Beane

Baseball pioneer Billy Beane was drawn to invest in Barnsley because they share his sporting philosophy, new co-chairman Paul Conway has said.

Beane has invested in a consortium led by Chinese businessman Chien Lee and American Conway, whose takeover of the South Yorkshire club was completed on Tuesday.

The consortium now owns 80 per cent of the club with Patrick Cryne, who revealed he is suffering from terminal cancer, and his family retaining the other 20 per cent.

Beane became famous after he used statistical analysis to identify undervalued talent during his time as Oakland Athletics' general manager and turned their fortunes around, which became the inspiration for 2011 film 'Moneyball' starring Brad Pitt in the lead role.

"Billy is an ambassador in his field," Conway said at the new owners' unveiling at Oakwell. "Part of the attraction of Barnsley is that they embraced some of his sports philosophy and analytics and they have seen some of the results of that.

"With his philosophies, having him in this is important because he brings a unique knowledge-base to the club. He is an executive of the A's and he will continue to be, he is involved here because he saw a matching of philosophies. He is very passionate about European football and he sees the same opportunity here, he is a fan and we will see him here."

The consortium also own Nice and have turned their fortunes around, with the Ligue 1 club qualifying for the Champions League in their first year in control.

Conway added: "We looked at different opportunities in England and nothing got to the finish line.

"When we heard the Barnsley story we thought it was too good to believe.

"When we heard what was going on and when we saw the results both financially and in the player investment side it almost looked too good to be true."

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