She insists “I don’t manage the band, I manage my husband” as fans raise voices against drummer Ward’s possible departure

Sharon Osbourne

Don't blame me: Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne insists she has nothing to do with the contract scuffles threatening to disrupt Black Sabbath’s reunion album.

Drummer Bill Ward this week announced he was ready to pull out of the project, because after a year of negotiation he still hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable”.

As rumours flew he’d be replaced with Ozzy Osbourne’s sticksman Tommy Clufetos, Ward criticised Sabbath’s management for failing to respect his contribution to the metal giants’ legacy.

That’s led many to the conclusion that Sharon Osbourne, daughter of infamous rock impresario Don Arden, is behind the disagreements.

But last night she stated via Facebook: “I am not in any position to hire or fire anyone in Black Sabbath. I don’t manage the band, I manage my husband.”

An online campaign to keep Ward in the band has gathered 25,000 followers in 24 hours. Organiser Tony Conley posted a picture of the original band and said: “This is the lineup that will make this page disappear like it never happened. Or, a reasonable explanation as to why Bill Ward is out, and feeling as if he’d been treated shabbily! I wish for nothing but a happy ending for all.”

Meanwhile, Ward’s son Aron has voiced his support for the campaign. He says: “The press is spinning this shit storm to read as if my dad has quit. This is not true. the guys know that. that’s why they said the door is always open. My dad hasn’t ‘declined’ playing with Black Sabbath or ‘threatened’ to pull out of this reunion. He definitely wants to play on the album and he definitely wants to tour. He’s been committed to this project from the beginning.”

Ward Jr says he’d normally stay out of his father’s business but he’s been angered by the number of people who have concluded the drummer is being greedy, shouldn’t have said anything in public or should just “get over it”. He supports Ward’s recent comments that he was living out of a suitcase until communication seemed to be cut off when the project moved to the UK in a bid to help guitarist Tony Iommi in his cancer battle.

He ends with a personal appeal to his dad’s bandmates: “To Terry, my godfather, Ozzy, my friend when i was little, and Tony, towering hero: I hope that you will listen to your fans. You are Black Sabbath so is my dad. I hope you guys can work it out.”

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