Sheffield United: Blades explain key changes at the Lane

Nigel Adkins (centre) is flanked by Kevin McCabe and Jim Phipps
Nigel Adkins (centre) is flanked by Kevin McCabe and Jim Phipps
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Co-chairman Jim Phipps last night insisted Sheffield United can become a “stronger” club following their boardroom reshuffle.

Phipps, speaking after local businessmen David and Martin Green were handed key positions at Bramall Lane, believes the changes will improve performance both on and off the pitch after a difficult start to the new season.

Former Sheffield United managing director Mal Brannigan  � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Former Sheffield United managing director Mal Brannigan � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

United, who parted company with managing director Mal Brannigan yesterday, are 12th in the League One table.

“We suggested the move and put forward these candidates out of a desire to effect a step-change in the performance of the club both on the pitch and off,” Phipps said. “Our partners agreed. We believe adding local football and business nous to the board will strengthen operations in both places and provide a stronger presence in all that is done.”

David Green becomes vice-chairman with responsibility for football operations. His namesake Martin takes charge of United’s non-football affairs.

Phipps, principal advisor to United’s co-owner Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Abdulaziz Al Saud, added: “Obviously, the football results have not been to our liking. Less obviously, we need to improve what we do behind the scenes and how we make Bramall Lane and our other outstanding assets work for the club and community.

Nigel Adkins (left) is responsible for identifying transfer targets �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

Nigel Adkins (left) is responsible for identifying transfer targets �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

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“We look to David to improve the performance of the football technical board and to ensure it functions effectively for the benefit of the club. We look to Martin to add business acumen to our commercial and non-football operations and to help us put Bramall Lane on the map for purposes of things like concerts and other events.”

David Green, previously chairman of United’s football board, will also chair the technical board which directs player recruitment. Manager Nigel Adkins and senior members of his coaching staff are represented on the panel, alongside new player contract negotiation specialist Carl Shieber. A Loughborough University Business School scholar with an MBA in football industries, Shieber acted as United’s head of football administration between 2010 and 2012 before spending 11 months as their head of group co-ordination. Adkins, together with chief scout Lee Turnbull, maintain full authority for identifying transfer targets.

Martin Green, owner of Barlborough-based entertainments firm Redtooth, is promoted from club vice-president to vice-chairman for commercial and administration. Simon Westbury, of Sheffield United Limited, becomes acting administration manager until the end of the financial year.

“Both David and Martin are lifelong, local Blades,” Phipps told The Star last night. “Both know the club inside and out. Through the years, both have put their money where their mouths are, sponsoring the club and helping it with key initiatives. David has chaired the club before and knows his football, not just from a fan perspective but from a football operations perspective. Martin totally gets the club’s identity and has been helping us pull off first rate events.”

“Martin has great ideas about where we need to take the club on the non-football side,” Phipps added. “Both men are very well known to club staff, which should make the transition easier.”

Brannigan worked for both Hull City and Derby County before joining United nearly 24 months ago. An official statement confirming his exit said: “Managing Director Malachy Brannigan, who has served the club faithfully and with distinction for nearly two years, leaves the club with immediate effect.”

“The board places on record it thanks to Mr Brannigan for his enthusiasm, positivity, energy and for his devotion to and sacrifice for the club throughout his service,” it continued. “The board wishes Mr Brannigan well in his new endeavours.”