Gauthier Ganaye: Former Barnsley CEO cools Charlton speculation
Frenchman was once the youngest chief executive in the EFL; Ganaye says he has been following Charlton saga: "I'm hoping the situation will finally settle down there"
By Jeremy Langdon, Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 01/04/20 8:07pm
Barnsley's former CEO Gauthier Ganaye has distanced himself from speculation he may be returning to England to take up the same role at fellow Championship strugglers Charlton, reports Sky Sports News' Jeremy Langdon.
The Frenchman, 31, left Oakwell last year to become president at OGC Nice, only to then leave Les Aiglons following the Ineos takeover in August.
But Ganaye says the suggestion he is now in negotiations with Charlton majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer to succeed Matt Southall is premature.
"I wouldn't say I was talking to the club but look, if anybody wants to talk to me they have my details," he told Sky Sports from the French Riviera.
Charlton are not the only club who could provide a new opening for Ganaye. He is also being linked with a possible takeover of Ligue 1 side Toulouse, headed by former Nice and current Barnsley owner Chien Lee.
"I still have a very good relationship with Chien Lee and Paul Conway, the majority shareholders at Barnsley. And I'm still in touch with them," added Ganaye.
"I know they have other projects in football and maybe I will also have the opportunity to work with them again. That would be a pleasure."
What cannot be denied is that Ganaye would embrace a return to England after 20 months at Barnsley where he arrived at 29 as the youngest chief executive in the EFL.
"Everybody knows I really enjoyed my time at Barnsley. Any executive working in football should experience working in England because it's all different - it's the home of football.
"You need to experience that. And if one day I have the opportunity to go back to the UK, that would be a pleasure for me to look at and consider. I loved my time there."
Whether it is with Charlton, given the latest round of infighting at the Valley, never mind the Addicks' position third from bottom in the Championship, remains to be seen.
"The situation at Charlton? Like any other football fan, I'm looking at the news and hoping that the situation will finally settle down there," he said.
"When you see the work of Lee Bowyer last season, getting this team promoted surprisingly, it would be a shame to see the club going down again so I can only hope for the fans this situation gets better."
Wherever Ganaye does go, he takes with him an impressive CV for someone still so young.
"Yes I'm 31, but I'm very experienced for my age I would say. I've always worked in football. And with my experience at Lens, Barnsley and Nice, I know how to run a club sustainably," he added.
"I think this is the most important thing for fans because you can have owners coming and making promises and then disappearing. This is the worst thing that could happen to a football club. You need to run a club in a sustainable manner."
And for Charlton fans who may hesitate at the suggestion of Ganaye running their club, following the best efforts of Belgians Roland Duchatelet and Katrien Meire, he has this message: "Look, I think I bring something a bit more French, a bit more different. I was the only French guy to run a club in the UK, so I am a bit different.
"We managed to create something at Barnsley a bit special. The dynamic was incredible the season we were in League One. The fans were feeling very close to the football club. I'm happy about that. We built a very strong team and we went on to a record season."
In fact, Barnsley's automatic promotion to the Championship last May came with no defeats at home. Club records for clean sheets and points tally were smashed too.
Charlton followed them via the League One Play-off final win over Sunderland. But now relegation looms for both teams as Ganaye ponders his next move.
"My ambition? I don't know if it's to become an owner but definitely continuing running a football club, the way I've been doing it," he said.
"And if that means at some point going up the hierarchy a little bit, then why not? But I'm not obsessed by that. I really enjoyed my work at Barnsley and Nice and I hope I find a new exciting challenge to continue on that journey."