Copthorne Hotel at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane set to close
The Copthorne Hotel at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane is set to close at the loss of 62 jobs as the long-standing feud between Prince Abdullah and former owner Kevin McCabe continues.
Hotel staff were told about the proposed closure during a meeting with Millennium Hotels and Resorts, who manage the property, on Monday, 15 June. The hotel is currently owned by McCabe’s Scarborough Group, with staff informed he has been directed to transfer ownership “with vacant possession” to Prince Abdullah by 1 July.
It follows a September 2019 High Court ruling, which ordered McCabe to sell his 50 per cent stake in Sheffield United to the Prince as well as other club assets, including the Copthorne Hotel.
A deal on the sale of the assets, which also includes Bramall Lane stadium and the training centre at Shirecliffe, was principally agreed in January but talks subsequently broke down, with each side publicly blaming the other. In a statement released on 25 March, Sheffield United confirmed negotiations will go to arbitration, but no date was provided. The statement said one consequence of the impasse was the club "only has the right to purchase the hotel leasehold, not the hotel business and hence, we may be compelled to close the hotel until we find an operator".
Despite staff being told a consultation over the proposed closure will take place over the next fortnight, the removal of hotel furniture has already begun according to one staff member.
A presentation on the proposed closure seen by The Star said: “We are advised that Sheffield United Football Club do not have definite plans for the hotel building and are considering their options.
“In light of these changes, it appears that the hotel will cease operating on 30 June and, as a consequence, this has an immediate impact upon your employment at the hotel.”
One man whose wife has worked at the hotel on a zero-hour contract for two years said: "The staff were disappointed and angry. The angry part was that they were told two weeks earlier that they were getting furlough until the scheme finished.
"It's just disappointing that two people have fallen out who are very rich and it's the staff who are getting penalised for it.”
Options on the table as part of the consultation include proceeding with the closure, proceeding with some amendments or not proceeding at all.
The man, who did not want to be named, described it as a “farce”.
He said: “The hotel is obviously shutting and no matter of consultation will stop that.”
A Millennium spokesperson said: “On June 10th 2020, we were informed by the owner of Copthorne Hotel Sheffield – a Millennium Hotels and Resorts managed property, that ownership in the hotel would be transferred to Sheffield United Football Club on 1st July 2020 with vacant possession.
“This follows on from the recent court decision in relation to ownership of the football club. We were saddened to learn at short notice that the hotel would cease operating on 30th June 2020 and considering this short notice, our focus is on the welfare of hotel staff.”
Sheffield United declined to comment.