Sheffield United: Co-owners take steps to help manager Chris Wilder focus on football, not politics

Sheffield United are understood to have identified the individual who will liaise between manager Chris Wilder and Bramall Lane's board of directors next season.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 6:00 am
Chris Wilder wants to focus on football

Co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud agreed to create the position before extending Wilder’s contract earlier this summer.

The move is designed to protect the dressing room from any issues caused by their respective bids for control of the Championship club and allow Wilder to focus on football rather than boardroom politics.

Although the person expected to perform the role has yet to be officially unveiled, they are not thought to someone presently employed in a day to day role at Bramall Lane.

Prince Abdullah, who five years ago acquired 50 per cent of United in return for various financial guarantees, launched his attempt for sole control in January. The move, according to a statement released at the time, came in response to be process triggered by one of McCabe’s companies. That is believed to have been an offer to buy back Prince Abdullah’s stake but, under the terms of the agreement which secured his investment, the Saudi Arabian royal was permitted to respond in kind. Having chosen to exercise that option, Prince Abdullah and McCabe have spent the past five months locked in negotiations; the majority of which have been overseen by some of their most trusted advisors.

Wilder, who led United to a 10th placed finish last term, welcomed the decision to appoint a conduit between himself and the board after announcing he planned to remain in South Yorkshire until at least 2021. The 50-year-old, whose assistant Alan Knill, head of recruitment Paul Mitchell and head of sports science Matt Prestridge also accepted similar terms, is known to have enjoyed an excellent relationship with former United chief executive Steve Bettis before he resigned to pursue business interests overseas.

Wilder made his first signing of the summer transfer window earlier this week when Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson arrived on a season long loan. United are also expected to bolster their attacking options by signing two new centre-forwards ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

Kevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud © BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Kevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud & Kevin McCabe © BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY