Patrick Cryne: Barnsley's former owner dies aged 66 after battle with cancer

Barnsley owner Patrick Cryne
Patrick Cryne saw Barnsley win promotion back to the Championship in the 2016 League One play-off final

Former Barnsley owner Patrick Cryne has died from cancer at the age of 66.

His death came just a month after the sale of the club to a consortium involving Chinese billionaire Chien Lee and Moneyball pioneer Billy Beane.

Born in the town, and a lifelong supporter, former software company chief executive Cryne first joined the board in 2003.

A statement on the Barnsley website said everyone connected with the club was "devastated" by the news.

"Club custodian for 14 years and widely regarded amongst the loyal fan base as the 'saviour' of the club since taking control in 2003, Mr Cryne has been held in the highest of regards both at Barnsley Football Club and across the footballing world," the statement continued.

Lee Johnson
Former Barnsley head coach Lee Johnson, now in charge at Bristol City, was among those to pay tribute

'Buyer of last resort'

During his time at the club, Barnsley twice won promotion from League One, reached an FA Cup semi-final in 2008 and lifted the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in 2016.

But he announced in November 2016 that he was stepping away "for the foreseeable future" after cancer was diagnosed.

In September 2017 he wrote a poignant letter to supporters, published in the match programme for an EFL Cup tie against Derby County, in which he acknowledged he was "living on borrowed time".

He said: "For much of the time since I became the club's buyer of last resort, I allowed others to run the club, fearing that I did not know enough to win the respect and supporter of the 'football people'.

"It is ironic therefore that we enjoyed one of our most successful periods when I did take up the mantle ending in two successful visits to Wembley.

"Most people realise I was a reluctant custodian but what has made it bearable against the occasional cruelty of the internet world is the kindness shown to me by so many fans on a personal basis.

"People are not shy in coming forward and telling me they appreciate my efforts, even if I have fallen short of their aspirations."

The Cryne family retains a 20% stake in Barnsley, with his son James a director of the new board.

Barnsley celebrate Adam Hammill's goal against Millwall at Wembley
Barnsley achieved a Wembley double two years ago, winning the League One play-off final and EFL Trophy

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