‘It felt like a strange place for the future of a club proudly forged in steel to be decided’

It was a long way from greasy chip buttys.

By Dan Hayes
Monday, 13 May, 2019, 14:20
Chris Wilder and Kevin McCabe

The Rolls Building of London’s High Court felt a strange place for the future of Sheffield United – a club proudly forged in steel – to be decided.

As a group of lawyers big enough to bankrupt mid-sized countries assembled on Monday morning, a tanned and relaxed Kevin McCabe arrived before his lead barrister Paul Downes QC calmly set out his client’s case.

His opponent HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was nowhere to be seen. For now.

The long-awaited trial comes against the backdrop of the club being promoted to the Premier League for the first time in 12 years, an outcome that was the stated aim of the agreement the pair first signed in 2013.

Presiding, Mr Justice Fancourt inquired whether the happy news had not led to outbreak of peace between the warring parties.

It had not, lamented Mr Downes.

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If anything, the positions seemed to have hardened.

The court heard of heightened tensions and ‘disgraceful’ emails as the two men’s relationship broke down throughout 2016 and 2017.

But it also heard of passion for football and Sheffield United’s reputation as a family club, a welcome reminder that it wasn’t just a business they were arguing about but a football club with real fans and a proud history.

The case is due to take five weeks, with both sides calling witnesses and cross-examining each other’s.

What the result will be at the end of it all is anyone’s guess, but most fans will just be hoping it’s all over with in time for next season.