Blades: Lane chief ready to pump in extra cash

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SHEFFIELD United will take steps to ensure they are no longer reliant on loan players to strengthen their squad, plc chairman Kevin McCabe confirmed last night, after admitting that instability behind the scenes contributed to the club’s relegation from the Championship.

KEVIN McCabe, Sheffield United’s plc chairman, last night suggested he is ready to pump more of his personal fortune into Bramall Lane as the club continues to count the cost of being relegated from the Championship.

Despite previously indicating the Blades must become self-sufficient, McCabe told a media briefing yesterday that he is prepared to help soften the financial blow of League One football next season.

Nevertheless McCabe, who estimated he has already spent around £70 million of his own money on United, admitted substantial savings will have to be made both on and off the pitch.

“I don’t want to (put more money in) but I don’t have any alternative,” he said. “

“But if it needs doing then that’s what I’ll have to do.

“I wish the club didn’t have to rely on me for investment. But at the moment it does.

“That’s one of the things that we’ll be doing this week - we’ll be sitting down, seeing what everything might cost and what might need to be invested.”

United, by McCabe’s own estimation, are set to lose around £12m in revenues after sliding into the third tier of English football for the first time in over two decades.

As well as discussing the future of manager Micky Adams with the board of directors, the Brussels-based property developer will also use his week-long stay in the UK to identify those areas where genuine savings can be made and those where he will have to shoulder the burden.

“Relegation has probably cost us around £12m,” added McCabe. “That’s in terms of television income, sponsorship and such like.

“I’ll make sure we cope with it. We’re in a recession but whatever needs to be sensibly funded will be funded with less income coming in.”

United have made no secret of their desire to attract outside investors, with chief executive Trevor Birch, who brokered Roman Abramovich’s purchase of Chelsea in 2003, leading the search for potential partners.

Negotiations with entrepreneur Vinod Sekhar faltered last year and, although McCabe revealed some progress is being made, he acknowledged it has inevitably been slow given the state of the global economy.

Meanwhile, Derby County have agreed to sign Sheffield United striker Jamie Ward on a permanent basis.

Ward, who has made 13 appearances for the Rams since moving to Pride Park on loan in February, will leave for an undisclosed fee and United have included a 20 per cent sell-on clause in the deal.

SHEFFIELD United will take steps to ensure they are no longer reliant on loan players to strengthen their squad, plc chairman Kevin McCabe confirmed last night, after admitting that instability behind the scenes contributed to the club’s relegation from the Championship.

Coaching staff will be told to view the development or academy teams as their first port of call should injuries rob them of more experienced performers next term.

Describing himself as “gutted” by Bramall Lane’s predicament, McCabe said: “We won’t permit flexibility of the cheque book for loan players. Looking back, that’s been one of the major problems.

“We’ve made it an easy fix.”

Accepting his share of the blame for United’s plight, McCabe added: “I should have been more mindful of that on my part.

“I should have been more questioning of the managers.

“But I’m not blaming any one individual or any of the players who have come in on loan for what’s happened.

“That wouldn’t be fair or right.”

Micky Adams, whose own future is scheduled to be discussed this week, became United’s fourth manager of what McCabe described as a “wretched” season when he was appointed in December.

“My colleagues tell me we’ve used over 70 players in two years and that’s not healthy,” said McCabe.