Sheffield United are thought to be investigating ways of improving the lines of communication between manager Chris Wilder and Bramall Lane’s hierarchy to prevent uncertainty surrounding the club’s future ownership affecting his work.
As The Star revealed last month, one potential move could be the appointment of an ‘honest broker’ with few ties to either Kevin McCabe or HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is attempting to purchase his fellow co-owner’s stake in United’s parent company Blades Leisure Limited (BLL).
Despite complaining earlier this year that events behind the scenes could stall United’s progress, Wilder signed an extension to his contract last month after receiving assurances from both McCabe and Prince Abdullah about their intentions.
In a further show of good faith, they could sanction the presence of an individual capable of acting as a bridge between Bramall Lane’s bootroom and boardroom; sparing the 50-year-old from being forced to approach both sides of the ownership divide before receiving an answer to football-related questions.
At present, the directors of BLL can be placed into two distinct camps. Yusuf Giansiracusa, Jan Van Winckel and Tareq Hawasli are associates of Prince Abdullah, whose reappointment was confirmed by Companies House 10 months ago. The rest, including Stephen Bettis and Jeremy Tutton, represent the McCabe family’s interests.
Bettis, who previously served as United’s chief executive, is known to have built an excellent relationship with Wilder before resigning his position to focus on business interests overseas. Speaking before he led United back into the Championship, Wilder publicly thanked Bettis for providing “excellent support” alongside head of football administration Carl Shieber.
Together with his eldest son Scott, McCabe returned to BLL’s board in December. One month later, Prince Abdullah launched his takeover bid “in response to a process” instigated by one of the Scarborough based property magnate’s companies. That is believed to have been an offer to purchase the Saudi’s 50 per cent shareholding.
Under the terms of the agreement they signed in 2013, Prince Abdullah could respond with a counter offer of his own and, as United officially revealed in February, he chose to exercise that right.
Negotiations between the pair remain on-going, amid speculation Prince Abdullah’s drive could eventually become part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to become a key player in global football.