East Stand temporary closure highlights need to resolve Oakwell lease issue, stress Barnsley FC Supporters Trust

BARNSLEY SUPPORTERS Trust has backed the decision to close the East Stand for Tuesday night's League One home game with Portsmouth at Oakwell on safety grounds - but have stressed that move highlights the need for the club and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to reach an agreement over the long-time lease at the’ Reds home.

On Monday evening, the Reds announced the temporary move to close the East Stand after a pre-match inspection deemed sections of loose cladding in the stand to be unsafe.

Both the stand and the East Stand car park will be closed, including the hospitality sections, with the club hopeful that the necessary work required will be completed ahead of the home game with Plymouth Argyle at Oakwell on Saturday.

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Supporters with season-tickets in the East Stand or match tickets will be allowed to watch the game in the North Stand, West Stand or South Stand, while refunds are also available.


A trust statement on Monday night read: "We support the club’s decision to prioritise supporter safety ahead of tomorrow night’s fixture at Oakwell.

"As deeply frustrating as this is, through our conversations with the club earlier today, we know every possible solution was explored before a full closure was announced.

"Unfortunately, the safety of every supporter in the East Stand couldn’t be guaranteed and therefore the club were left with no other option.

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"Whilst we’re supportive of this decision, it does highlight the need for the football club and council to come to an agreement on the lease at Oakwell, to ensure ongoing repairs and care of the stadium is an ongoing priority for years to come.

"We encourage those supporters sadly affected to arrange their ticket swap or refund as early as possible tomorrow (Tuesday) to help with what will likely be a challenging process for those working in the Oakwell offices.

"From kick off, let’s get behind Michael Duff and the players, and keep the momentum building from the last two months."

Speaking last month, Reds CEO Khaled El-Ahmad said that the club and Barnsley Council remained in positive discussions regarding a new long-term lease for Oakwell.

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The current arrangement is due to finish in 2027. Oakwell is jointly owned by Barnsley MBC and the Cryne family.

El-Ahmad said: "We have five years left on the lease. The council attended the (recent) fans' forum and I speak to them regularly, and as far as I know, it's been the best (relationship) it's been for a long time.

"They have been supportive and positive and everything is heading in the right direction. One hundred per cent what we want is to stay here because Oakwell and Barnsley is the home. It is proactive and positive and we are in a good place and together we will get to even better places."

Last season, the club took the decision to close the West Stand for a spell in late autumn and winter due to safety concerns and crowd management issues.

The move affected 1,000 season-ticket holders. A number relocated to other parts of Oakwell, but some asked for refunds.