Sheffield United: Prince Abdullah still a big influence at the Lane, says Jim Phipps

Prince Abdullah
Prince Abdullah

Prince Abdullah, Sheffield United’s co-owner, played a key role in the appointment of Nigel Adkins at Bramall Lane - and will demand a return on the club’s investment when the new season kicks off in August.

That is the message from Jim Phipps, co-chairman of United, the Prince’s chief advisor and close confidant.

Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud acquired a 50 per cent stake in United in 2013, but was forced to relinquish his role as co-chairman after taking up the role of general president of youth welfare in his native Saudi Arabia.

Phipps, previously on United’s board of directors, stepped up to co-chairman alongside Kevin McCabe and played a key role in Tuesday’s appointment of Adkins.

“The Prince was involved in every step of the process,” Phipps revealed.

“He spoke with Nigel before he was unveiled to the Press, was aware of every person we’ve spoken to and interviewed and was kept up to date with the entire process of the managerial change.

“His role, which is effectively his country’s Minister for Sport, is a very full-time job and, as a result, he doesn’t have a great deal of time to devote to United.

“But he remains a very avid follower of the club and at times, he thinkgs very much like a supporter - especially after a defeat!

“He truly is a real football guy but he can’t devote enough time to the project, which is why I - alongside his son and Selahattin Baki - do it for him.

“Sela, too, was a big part of the managerial process; he and I travelled around a lot to meet and talk to people, and I am very happy that all that hard work has paid off and we have appointed the man we wanted, Nigel Adkins.

“Now it’s about looking forward and we all can’t wait for the season to get going.”

Phipps has previously shed light on Prince Abdullah’s support, in a 2014 interview with fan website SI Sports Centre.

“With management and the board, the Prince will be vocal in support of winning tactics and strategies,” Phipps said.

“I have described him before as strategically patient, but tactically impatient. He hates to lose. He expects performance from management teams.

“Wins are the measure in this business. He is very direct about things he does not like or wants changed.

“That said, he is a steady hand, very cool under pressure and he is a good listener. The Prince has acknowledged that the work before us is not the kind of thing that can be easily achieved in a couple of years.

“He knows how competitive English football is and how hard it can be to get where you want to go.

“He is committed and determined to go where he said this club needs to go.”