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Barnsley FC’s Oakwell stadium set for development following deal with council

Oakwell Stadium dates back to 1888 and is in need of modernisation (Image: Barnsley FC)

Barnsley Football Club’s historic Oakwell Stadium is set for long-awaited investment and improvements after the club secured a 30-year lease for the venue and surrounding area.

Last year (2023), the council became the sole owner of Oakwell Community Assets Limited (OCAL), which owns the stadium and land around it. This followed negotiations with the Cryne family, who had been joint owners of OCAL with the council since 2003.

The new lease provides the club and the council with longer-term security and stability. Crucially, it paves way for Barnsley FC to invest in the stadium, developing Oakwell into a venue capable of hosting “unique fan experiences and events, music concerts, corporate conferences and community activities for generations to come”.

The move also secures the future for the newly formed Barnsley FC women’s team who will continue to play games at Oakwell.

In a statement, Barnsley Council said it will now work to further integrate the club into the existing town centre offer and explore ways in which the two can work closer together for the benefit of the whole borough.

According to Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, the club contributes more than £22m to the local economy. In addition, the social impact of the Barnsley FC Community Trust – which supports the health and wellbeing of local people through sports and cultural participation activities – is valued at an estimated £10m per year.

“Barnsley FC is part of our heritage, and one of our anchor institutions with significant economic, social and wellbeing value for the borough. It’s a badge of identity for our communities, contributing to pride of place and a sense of belonging for Barnsley people.

“The council became a 50 per cent owner of Oakwell Community Assets Limited (OCAL), which owns the stadium and land around it, in 2003. This was part of a deal that saved Barnsley Football Club from going out of business at the time. That deal proved hugely successful and secured the existence of a professional football club in Barnsley.

“We’re proud to have played a key role in securing the future of professional football in the borough and we’re now proud to be taking the next step in securing that future for many years to come. This agreement helps unlock much-needed investment at Oakwell, to improve community provision and improve the experience for visitors to the club.

“Both the council and Barnsley FC acknowledge the huge contribution the late Patrick Cryne made to securing the survival of Barnsley FC, and building the successful and resilient club it is today. We’re grateful to the Cryne family for their co-operation in securing this future for Oakwell.”

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