Fan View: Gloomy outlook for New York and big question marks about the prince

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So our Saudi prince is worth £198 million or £80 billion, depending on who you believe, says Matthew Bell.

Still, if it’s ‘only’ £198m it is far more than all of us reading this column combined will earn in a lifetime and more than any League One club will ever be able to spend.

There are a few obvious and immediate unanswered questions.

The first is what exactly has he bought 50 per cent of for his one pound? Of the club, obviously, but does that include half of Kevin McCabe’s assets (the ground, the hotel, the academy) or just half of ‘the football club’, whatever that means?

The second is that League One clubs can spend only 60 per cent of their turnover (down from 65 per cent last season) on players’ salaries.

Presumably he has bought half of McCabe’s shareholding for a mere pound, but exactly how he will decanter his fortune into the club’s coffers has not yet been explained.

A benefactor is no longer allowed to donate to the club £10m or £100m or whatever in cash.

He has to give that money to the club either in terms of sponsorship (the Prince Abdullah Bramall Lane Stadium anyone?) or by buying equity (shares).

He can only do the latter by the issue of new shares (as far as this financially-challenged correspondent can understand).

And then, of course, there’s the problem that the deal was announced just as the transfer window closed, so United can’t spend any more money (except on loan fees and portions of loan players’ salaries) until January.

And even then they have to remain within the permitted percentage of turnover, which is now lower than it was last season as the matchday attendances are going down.

And what does McCabe get out of it? The keyboard warriors and know-it-alls pronounce that it’s some sort of conspiracy, whereby McCabe is lining his pockets at the expense of the club.

This is clearly nonsense.

As far as I can see all McCabe gets out of it is that he will no longer have to prop the club up with his own money, as he has been doing for a few years.

It therefore saves him a few million quid a year, and Prince Abdullah is now the prop.

If the prince is really in it for the long term and really has a feel for the history and tradition of the club, fair enough and it may pan out well in the long term.

Equally, if his intentions are not so good, there might be apartments on Bramall Lane in ten years.

We have to wait and see, but what is certain is that there is absolutely nothing he can do to help a one-paced, predictable football team win at Rotherham United tomorrow.