Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, admits he is unsure how recent developments at boardroom level will affect the future direction of the club.
HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud recently launched an attempt to acquire full control of United from fellow co-owner Kevin McCabe, after triggering a clause contained in the agreement which saw him gain a 50 per cent stake five years ago.
Despite dismissing suggestions the uncertainty contributed to last week’s defeat by Hull City, who are battling off-the-pitch issues of their own, Wilder did suggest greater clarity would prove beneficial as the Championship season enters a critical phase.
Speaking at United’s training complex this morning, Wilder said: “It wasn’t a distraction, no. The (transfer) budget was set in October, at a board meeting then. I’ve got no clue about it. I don’t know what direction it’s going in. It would be good to know, of course. But it doesn’t affect Friday’s performance and it doesn’t affect my attitude to the game.”
United released a statement earlier this year confirming UTB LLC, a company controlled by Prince Abdullah, had “served a notice exercising an option to purchase the remaining 50 per cent of Blades Leisure from Sheffield United Limited.” United’s parent company, Blades Leisure Limited, is a joint venture between SUL, which is effectively governed by the McCabe family, and other companies associated with Prince Abdullah.
However, the terms of the agreement both he and McCabe entered into suggest Prince Abdullah must purchase property including Bramall Lane, the Steelphalt Academy and the Crookes development centre to push through a deal. There has been no official update on either side’s position since the announcement was published on United’s website earlier this month.
Wilder, whose team travels to Reading later today ranked eighth in the Championship table, was questioned on the funds at his disposal during the recent transfer window during the pre-match media conference.
“That’s not a question for me,” he responded. “That’s a question for other people. With more, of course we’d have been in a healthier position. But I don’t write the cheques. No manager does.”