Sheffield United: Blades’ staff face jobs cuts

Jobs at risk: Sheffield United FC, Bramall Lane.  PICTURE: STUART HASTINGS
Jobs at risk: Sheffield United FC, Bramall Lane. PICTURE: STUART HASTINGS
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Sheffield United is to lay off more than a third of its staff following failure to gain promotion from League One.

The Blades are already having to cut the budget for players, as new ‘financial fair play’ rules mean clubs must ensure their wage bill can be covered by income from ticket sales and advertising.

Television revenue is minimal in League One, accounting for just a few hundred thousand pounds.

The Star understands non-playing staff are now also at risk at Bramall Lane, with workers in management roles, administration, ground-keeping and maintenance all under threat.

One Sheffield United worker said: “We have been told the number of redundancies could be more than 20 of around 50 non-playing staff at Bramall Lane.

“The mood is awful and people are understandably very worried.

“It will not be easy to get another job at present.

“Staff in all departments - administration, ticket sales, management, ground and maintenance workers - are all at risk.”

The Star understands the precise number of redundancies has not been decided, and the club is looking to achieve savings rather than laying off a set number of workers.

Another member of staff at Bramall Lane said: “As far as I understand it, it is not so much a number of jobs the club is looking to lose as much as a specific amount of money. It is unfortunately an inevitable consequence of a prolonged stay in League One.”

Sheffield United had been hoping to return to the Championship at the first time of asking following relegation in 2011, and had kept sufficient staff in place, with chairman Kevin McCabe picking up the bill.

But the heartbreaking 8-7 penalty shoot-out defeat by Huddersfield in May’s play-off final at Wembley has meant the club must now ‘live within its means’ with reduced income.

A lengthy stay in English football’s third tier means smaller gates and lower commercial income from advertising and sponsorship.

A Sheffield United spokesman said the club was unable to comment.

The club’s Football in the Community work, providing coaching sessions for youngsters, will not be affected by the job losses because it is funded by grants and its staff are safe.

The Blades have already started taking steps to reduce their wage bill by off-loading some high-profile players from last season’s squad.

Defender Matt Lowton has left for Aston Villa for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.