In recent times it has become increasingly apparent that are some issues bubbling under the surface with the co-owners of Sheffield United, Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud not seeing eye-to-eye as certain targets have not been achieved.
Naturally problems at Board level can have a negative effect on a club’s performances on the field and Blades fans are becoming more and more worried such a distraction could hurt the team’s push for a Championship play-off place.
A recent dip in form has seen the Blades drop to 8th in the table sitting 3 points out of the play-off places.
The experienced Kevin McCabe you would hope is too street-wise to let the matters degenerate into a public airing of the problems played out in the press. However, his recent public statement suggests there really is a problem with the current ownership set-up when he said, “Perhaps, we need an ownership structure that works” at his Octagon Centre appearance last week.
It certainly is disappointing to hear that McCabe made such a public statement which can be viewed as being at best careless and at worst a genuinely provocative dig.
HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud was brought in to Sheffield United with the pretty much sole purpose of providing a serious boost to the club’s financial clout but with the conflict between the co-owners at the moment, the possibility of a Prince Abdullah led takeover of the club seems to be coming more and more of a genuine possibility.
While some might think this would be a good thing and that Prince Abdullah would immediately throw money at the club and then the Blades would surge forward on the field and reach the Premier League within a year or two while signing a plethora of top world-class players, it could turn out quite differently.
The reality is that very little is known about the Saudi Arabian Prince and who knows what kind of a club he would run? Looking back at some of the teams who suddenly had inexperienced owners and a somewhat misguided approach to running a football club like the Venkys at Blackburn Rovers or Tony Fernandes at QPR could not deliver on field success despite good intentions which Fernandes in particular had.
In an interview last year when talking about how tough it was at QPR Fernandes had this to say:
“I’m such an accessible person it was so easy to get hold of me. I was probably easy prey, new meat. I’m not going to pretend I didn’t I make mistakes.”
“What have I learned from six years as chairman? Well I’ve always thought if you take someone’s salary you’re going to work hard. I’ve discovered that isn’t always the case in football.”
Fernandes after being sweet-talked by various football agents ended up with a wage-bill which was double annual turnover resulting in a record financial fair play fine. QPR won 2 promotions but suffered two relegations from the Premier League amid a litany of mistakes.
Tony Fernandes and QPR are still trying to sort out their situation and are sitting in a modest 16th position in the Championship only 8 points above the relegation zone.
The West London club are rebuilding under Ian Holloway who is in his 2nd stint with them and seems to have the remit to build a lasting team at the club with no massive pressure for immediate results.
Prince Abdullah, if he is thinking of a takeover of the Blades, would do well to do a serious analysis of the way things went down at QPR and not make the same mistakes they and other teams like Blackburn and Cardiff have had to endure.
The current resurgence Sheffield United are enjoying should be consolidated and the team needs to have a plan not unlike Burnley.
Sean Dyche’s side although gaining promotion in 2013-14 actually planned to push for promotion to the Premier League a season later and when they suffered relegation in the 2014-15 season they stuck to their plan and got promotion at the first time of asking winning the Championship in the 2015-16 season. Under Dyche, Burnley have kept building and are now a top half Premier League side.
This plan would work for the Blades – just looking to finish as high as they can this season and assuming they are in the Championship for the 2018-19 season they then should be really aiming at a top 2 finish. This way they will have developed more as a team perhaps with a few astute transfer signings but showing Chris Wilder great patience and support.