Alan Biggs: Rising Sheffield United will get the cash they need

Football clubs are never static behind the scenes. Particularly ones moving forward as fast as Sheffield United are right now.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 10:48 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:52 am
Kevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Kevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

It’s just that the focus is all on the field - and Hallelujah for that.

But there’s more to it than some might realise. Chris Wilder’s backroom staff are scouting ahead and have been for some time.

For Championship players. Counting chickens? No way.

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Should the worst happen, the squad is largely in place for another strong run at promotion.

It’s too early and the wrong time to discuss United’s needs if, or more likely when, they do manage to break free of League One.

If I know Wilder, every player who does the business for him this season will have a squad opportunity to prove their worth to the side a division higher.

But it IS timely to consider (as the hierarchy itself will be doing) the funding for the potentially costly additions necessary to gear up for a significant jump in competition.

And my guess – it can only be that – is that the necessary finance will be in place.

It’s fundamental to the future and why this column had “behind the scenes” in the opening sentence.

From where?

Well, it’s strongly suggested by back-stage sources that joint team franchise owner Prince Abdullah will again flex some financial muscle, having drawn breath while club chief Kevin McCabe re-assumed the lead role on the football side after much of the earlier investment went to waste on transfers and salaries on players that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

This alone, along with McCabe’s ongoing commitment, may well be enough. But you can never rule out extra backing when a club with United’s potential locks into forward momentum.

Phenomenal third tier crowds of 27,980 and 27,165 in the last two home games cannot have gone unnoticed by those prospective foreign football club owners who scan the English game for ripe pickings.

And we’ve all heard those Chinese whispers around the city.

Whether or not they are purely a product of McCabe’s property dealings with China, there can be no doubting which nation of the world has the money to change the face of football and is threatening to do so globally.

Then again, takeover is certainly not a word I’d wish on United at this time. No matter how big the pot of money.

For me, you can’t put a price on having the right people at the top of a club.

Better the devil you know than the one you don’t and, besides, I think all but the severest critic would accept that McCabe and company have the Blades’ best interests at heart.

Fortunately, I can’t see a wholesale change in the status quo because of the hands-on emotional investment of those in charge and the likely desire for an investment deal over a buy-out.

But Bramall Lane is an attractive place from both the inside and the outside right now.

And let’s not forget the homespun philosophies that have made it so.