Sheffield United: Board vows not to interfere

Sheffield United co-chairman Jim Phipps � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
Sheffield United co-chairman Jim Phipps � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
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Jim Phipps, Sheffield United director and principal advisor to co-owner Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has insisted the club’s board will not interfere in transfer policy at Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.

Phipps, who shares the chairmanship with co-owner Kevin McCabe, issued the pledge in response to claims that United have failed to recruit any marquee names since finishing seventh in League One and reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup last season.

Nigel Clough recently warned that breaking United’s wage structure could lead to disharmony behind the scenes unless the players signed are of exceptional calibre.

Phipps, citing the manager’s refusal to pursue his interest in former Barnsley centre-forward Chris O’Grady earlier this year, said: “Deals we work on are multi-party deals and we’re unwilling to do things which don’t make sense.

“Take Chris O’Grady for example. It was a shame we didn’t get him but we didn’t reach personal terms.

“Whatever management says is the right price is the right price and that’s fine by me. We won’t compel out manager to take decisions he doesn’t think are sensible.

“If you are the manager, you have to live with the decision of having one player much better paid that the rest. I don’t.”

As The Star revealed at the time, United reached agreement with their South Yorkshire rivals over a fee for O’Grady’s services before withdrawing from negotiations when the player, who later joined Brighton and Hove Albion, refused to lower his wage demands.

Phipps, who confirmed the proceeds of Harry Maguire’s recent sale to Hull City will be reinvested in the first team squad, said: “That money is in the club. I don’t make a decision how to spend it.

“How should it be spent? That’s not our business because the decision with the football experts will be much more safe.”

Phipps paid tribute to Clough’s talents before Saturday’s victory over Gillingham which lifted United to seventh place ahead of this weekend’s meeting with Chesterfield.

Clough, previously of Burton Albion and Derby County, joined United 12 months ago and Phipps said: “It got to the point (under David Weir) where made a change. Since then the record has been very, very respectable

“We’ve transformed the culture of how we make decisions. There’s a lot more power to the manager and front office management and a hands off approach from the board.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1