Barnsley’s Paul Conway accepts ‘blame’ for costly mistake of signing Obbi Oulare says Khaled El-Ahmad

BARNSLEY chief executive officer Khaled El-Ahmad has revealed that co-chairman Paul Conway has accepted responsibility for the calamitous and costly summer signing of Obbi Oulare which set the tone for a fraught campaign at Oakwell.

The striker – brought in for an expensive outlay from Standard Liege on a three-year deal and one of the club’s top wage earners – has made just two brief substitute appearances for the Reds, lasting a combined total of around half an hour.

The 26-year-old returned to his homeland to join Belgian second-tier outfit Molenbeek on loan at the end of January.

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Following Dane Murphy’s departure from Oakwell at the end of June, Conway served as acting CEO for a spell and helped co-ordinate the club’s transfer business, which saw Aaron Leya Iseka and Josh Benson also join the club along with Oulare.

Expensive mistake: Barnsley's signing of Obbi Oulare hasn't worked out for either party. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

On whether Conway had taken repsonsibility for his part in last summer’s recruitment, El-Ahmad, who started in his role in early September, said: “Yes, he has – in terms of maybe not following with the process and why we signed that type of player.

“But he was also active in this (January) window to try and amend and make some of the changes of players who are not longer here.”

While the future of a number of players will come under the microscope if Barnsley – as seems increasingly likely – are relegated to League One next month, the club will also have a decision to make regarding the future of Poya Asbaghi.

No decisions will be made until the Reds fate is confirmed, with his position, as it stands, being ‘under review’ according to El-Ahmad.

Making amends: Barnsley's co-chairman Paul Conway. Picture: Scott Merrylees

The Reds CEO has also revealed that there is a “mutual clause” inserted into the former Sweden under-21s head coach’s deal which could be invoked if relegation is confirmed.

While there are no ‘relegation clauses’ in any player deals regarding sales, it’s very likely that there will be key departures if the Reds go down.

With falling into League One from the second tier set to cost Barnsley between £6m-7m in revenue, getting players out before bringing new signings in would be the first close-season priority in the wake of relegation, El-Ahmad has acknowledged.

El-Ahmad commented: “That is probably the more realistic way to look at it.

“We first have to do the necessary adjustments. But it goes hand in hand.”