Blades partnership had soured within three years

A once promising partnership between the two owners of Sheffield United had soured within three years, with Prince Abdullah claiming the millions of pounds he invested could have been spent ‘more wisely’.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 2:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 10:32 pm
Sheffield Utd co-owners Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad bin Abdullah Al Said and Kevin McCabe: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield Utd co-owners Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad bin Abdullah Al Said and Kevin McCabe: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The heated High Court battle for ownership of the club continued yesterday, when Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saudbegan his evidence. Prince Abdullah told the court that when he entered into a joint partnership with Sheffield-born Kevin McCabe, it was ‘important’ to himto have a ‘strong, local partner’ who could veto things when necessary and tell him when something was ‘massively wrong’.The prince described the first year of their partnership as being ‘very good’. He said that with hindsight he believes the £10million he invested in the club in 2013 could have been spent ‘more wisely’.

“We ended up with a huge roster, of 35 players, I think,” said Prince Abdullah.

Representing Mr McCabe, Paul Downes QC, told the prince he had ‘turned against’ Mr McCabe by the third year of their partnership, and wanted to ‘fundamentally change things’.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Prince Abdullah replied: “His style of management, after three years, the facts speak for themelves.”

“He was trying to interfere with technical decisions, and not allowing managers to do their work. It’s not good for the club,” he added.

When asked for an example, Prince Abdullah cited what he described as Mr McCabe’s ‘emotional decision’ to re-sign Ched Evans for £1million in 2017, after his rape conviction was quashed at the conclusion of his re-trial.

The court was told that when the Saudi prince invested in United he had a personal net worth of £200million, but by the 2015/16 he had to ‘cut into flesh’ to raise the funds to make up a £4million shortfall.

The following season, Prince Abdullah had promised to raise £1million by August 2017, but struggled to locate the funds.

The prince said he had hoped to sell shares or borrow from a bank.

He told the court that it was ‘one of the worst times for me, financially’.

SUL, a company controlled by Mr McCabe and his family, has alleged ‘conspiracy’ and ‘unfairly prejudicial conduct’ and wants damages.

UTB LLC, a company controlled by Prince Abdullah, wants declarations in respect of its rights under an investment and shareholders' agreement.

The case continues.