Sheffield United: Strategy is set in stone

Kevin McCabe (right) and Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad  � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Kevin McCabe (right) and Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Sheffield United co-owner Kevin McCabe has vowed there will be no repeat of the haphazard spending which contributed to the club’s slide through the English football leagues, writes James Shield.

Instead McCabe, who last week unveiled Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad as his new business partner at Bramall Lane, pledged manager David Weir will continue to adopt a strategic approach to recruitment despite the Saudi Arabian’s wealth.

McCabe, reflecting upon United’s march into the top-flight seven years ago, said: “What I did in 2005-06 to buy our way out of the Championship but you can’t quite do it the same way now.

“Along the way we have changed and invested in the youth side of Sheffield United. I have allowed managers so much flexibility.

“The loan markets have worked against us and we have spent a fortune on failing. Spent a fortune on players who were bad choices.

“Even last season, with respect. That has changed now with how we recruit.

“We are much more intense in terms of our professional skills, technical expertise and tracing the players we want. Before, you suddenly ended up with players, players who did not work out.

“The players we have brought in now are different. Jose Baxter has great potential, is not at his peak and will get even better while Florent Cuvelier is the same.”

Among the mechanisms now in place to ensure greater success in the transfer market is a football department, headed by John Stephenson, which gathers information on hundreds of players at various stages of their development.

Weir, who retains the final say on new arrivals, can utilise the data to identify the suitability of would-be targets. The former Scotland international, whose team visit Carlisle this weekend, hopes to bolster his attacking options ahead of the League One fixture at Brunton Park.

McCabe said: “At the helm you take the blame for a strategy that worked or didn’t work. When I took control I thought what do I do with the club because I don’t like things to stand still.

“I said we had to get back to the Premiership. I actually said we would buy our way out of the Championship in 2005-06 which we did because that January we bought (Garry) Flitcroft, (Geoff) Horsfield, Bruce Dyer, Brian Deane, (Ade) Akinbiyi.

“Supporters forget. We hardly played any of them, but it was to guarantee promotion and we did it.

“Then we have had the most horrendous wretched luck. Anybody in the world has got to acknowledge that.

“Don’t ask me why it’s gone wrong but we have had wretched luck.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1