Sheffield United co-owner Kevin McCabe accused of ‘deviousness’ at High Court
Sheffield United co-owner Kevin McCabe has made a passionate defence of himself against accusations he treated the club like his own personal property.
At the third day of a trial which will rule on the longstanding ownership dispute between Mr McCabe and Prince Abdullah, Mr McCabe was put under intense cross-examination by lawyers acting for the Saudi Prince.
Andreas Gledhill QC for Prince Abdullah repeatedly asked Mr McCabe to justify and explain his actions during the time he and the Prince were co-owners.
Mr Gledhill said emails between Mr McCabe and former co-chairman Jim Phipps revealed him to be a man unused to having his authority questioned.
He said: “You have a tendency to react with disproportionate aggression when you are being challenged by someone who you don’t regard as an equal because they were not an owner of the football club.”
He accused Mr McCabe of ‘deviousness’ in his attempts to ‘bully and provoke’ Mr Phipps and undermine him in the eyes of Prince Abdullah.
And he said the evidence Mr McCabe had given regarding a £3m loan the club received from a Saudi Arabian company had not in fact been true.
Mr McCabe repeatedly disagreed with Mr Gledhill's accusations, arguing he was entitled as co-owner to be involved in a club he had been associated with for decades.
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“I accept that I can be straightforward but it is always for the betterment of the football club,” he said.
“I am enthusiastic about Sheffield United and I know it inside out but I don’t agree my whole sense of self revolves around it.”
Mr McCabe claimed that the relationship between himself and Prince Abdullah had begun well but became ‘far less cordial’ when the Prince brought in a new adviser – Yusuf Giansiracusa – in 2017.
The two sides quickly disagreed over the amount of rent the club should pay to Mr McCabe’s company, with McCabe accusing the Prince and Giansiracusa of taking them for granted.
Emails were read out in which Mr McCabe compared his business partners to legendary highwayman Dick Turpin and said they displayed no ‘give and take’.
Mr Gledhill, however, suggested the breakdown in their relationship was more to do with Mr McCabe's anger over the rent impasse and his realisation that the Saudi Arabian loan was due for repayment in 2018.
The case continues.