West Bromwich Albion: Chris Farnell linked with taking up minority stake in Championship club

The Hawthorns
West Brom are fifth in the Championship

Cheshire-based lawyer Chris Farnell is making a renewed attempt to buy a minority stake in West Bromwich Albion.

Farnell has reportedly been in talks about buying into the Baggies for a number of months in partnership with local businessman Alex Hearn.

It had previously seemed that Farnell had been usurped in his efforts to get involved at The Hawthorns by Florida-based entrepreneur Shilen Patel.

Patel is thought to have the backing of MSD Holdings, who are a major creditor.

Chinese owner Guochuan Lai is yet to make a decision about the future of the Baggies, who are no longer in receipt of parachute payments following their relegation from the Premier League in 2021.

But BBC Sport has seen a letter to Lai, signed by Farnell, which says proof of funds totalling £110m can be provided.

This, it is said, will cover £28m plus associated costs owed to MSD, provide £15m to cover immediate running costs, plus £5m to purchase a 9.5% stake in the club as well as provide proof of future funding to the Football League.

It is anticipated that, if the offer was accepted, Farnell and Hearn would carry out due diligence before making a formal bid for the club.

It is understood that the funds are being accessed partly through equity and partly through investment funds.

Farnell attempted to buy Burnley with Egyptian businessman Mohamed El Kashashy in 2020 but pulled out, allowing Alan Pace's ALK Capital to purchase the Clarets instead.

He had been part of an attempt to buy Charlton earlier in 2020, but that was turned down by the English Football League because three people involved in the proposed purchase were subject to a disqualifying condition.

Albion are fifth in the Championship, 14 points off an automatic promotion place but two ahead of seventh-placed Sunderland.

The Baggies now face potential punishment from the Football Association over the disgraceful scenes that caused Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie with local rivals Wolves to be stopped for 38 minutes.

Albion face another home West Midlands derby this Saturday, against former Baggies boss Tony Mowbray's Birmingham City.