As Barnsley FC welcome new owners, here’s a few things you need to know about the new people at Oakwell.
1. Chien Lee
After failed attempts to buy both Brentford and Hull, Chien Lee is finally able to take charge of an English team.
The Chinese billionaire earned his money as a co-founder of the Plateno Group, one of the largest providers of budget hotels in the Far East, and then later the New City Capital, an investment group that focuses on “opportunities across the hospitality and sports industries.”
READ MORE - Richard Sutcliffe on the takeover at Barnsley
2. Billy Beane trades Oakland for Oakwell
Also part of the new consortium is Billy Beane, who became famous following the release of Moneyball, where he was played by Brad Pitt in the film adaptation.
While Beane started out as a first round MLB draft pick, he became much more famous for his work off the field. As General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, he pioneered the use of statistics to find undervalued players and turned the side into one of the most competitive and cost-effective in the league. He has always had a long standing interest in getting involved with football though.
He’s already held meetings with Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, and has worked as an advisor for the Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
3. Barnsley becomes Chien Lee and Paul Conway’s second club
This won’t be Chien Lee and Paul Conway’s first time working together. Lee is currently chairman of OGC Nice in Ligue 1, with Conway working as a Director for the French side.
Barnsley fans will be hoping that the owners can bring success as quickly as they managed in France, where the team qualified for the Champions League for the first time within their first year of ownership.
Conway has already promised investment for Paul Heckingbottom’s side, saying “we expect to further enhance the academy, playing squad, commercial operations and fan experience.”
4. Who is Neerav Parekh?
Like Beane, Neerav’s Parekh also has a history of studying data and analytics. The Mumbai-based businessman founded vPhrase, an “AI platform that helps companies communicate insights in their data.”
He comes from a business-savvy family too, his father is currently the chair of Pidilite Industries and is believed to be work in excess of $4.8 billion.
5. What’s the Pacific Media Group?
Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Beane isn’t the only Hollywood link to Barnsley’s new owners. Grace Hung and Paul Conway have made their money through the Pacific Media Group.
The Hong-Kong based company distributes Western sport, film and TV shows across Asia, while also working with partners to acquire media companies across the continent, with deals often surpassing nine-digit figures.