Barnsley FC's search for successor to Michael Duff 'well under way' as head coach explains reasons for joining Swansea City
Duff has signed a three-year deal with the Swans, who have confirmed that an update on his coaching staff is likely in ‘due course’, raising the prospect of some of his backroom members at Oakwell potentially heading to Wales.
In a club statement, Reds’ CEO Khaled El-Ahmad expressed disappointment at the departure of the 45-year-old, just 12 months into a three-year deal.
The Oakwell outfit are now searching for their eighth permanent head coach in five years.
The club stated Duff was offered an improved deal and contract extension prior to interest from Swansea – something that the outgoing head coach also confirmed.
But the challenge of moving to a second-tier club in Swansea, at a location which is also closer to his family home in Cheltenham, was something he could not resist.
Swansea activated a £500,000 release clause in Duff’s contract after firming up a move for him late last week ahead of Russell Martin’s official departure to Southampton, which was confirmed in midweek.
El-Ahmad said: “We are naturally disappointed to lose Michael after a promising first season in charge, but we wish him all the best for the future.
“As a club, we are prepared for eventualities like these and are constantly reviewing the available opportunities when looking to make an appointment in this position. The recruitment process for our new head coach is well under way.
"The framework and the support structure that the board and backroom staff have already implemented provides us with a strong platform to build on as we begin preparations for the 23/24 season.”
In a further attempt to pacify fans, chairman Neerav Parekh continued: “We want to reassure fans that the search for a new head coach is well underway and should be confirmed soon in order to make the most of pre-season.
"The foundations laid down at the start of last summer ensure that we're able to compete, and regardless of departures, the club is bigger than any one individual.”
Duff’s departure has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many supporters after he announced his intentions to be at Barnsley for the long haul when he arrived last June – only to move a year on.
But Duff insists his move was not ‘money-orientated’ and more to do with the challenge offered at Swansea.
He commented: “I loved every minute of my time at Oakwell and I take immense pride in the journey we all went on, starting with the loss at Plymouth and all the way to Wembley – the proudest moment of my managerial career so far.
“During the latter points of the season I learned of interest from other clubs, but my focus did not waver from Barnsley.
“This decision was not money-orientated. The board at Barnsley did everything in their power to make me commit to the club on an extended contract, but I am an ambitious character and after taking stock in the summer felt that this opportunity was the next natural step in my career."