‘Proposed Sheffield United takeover deal hinges on High Court case’

An investment deal to takeover Sheffield United hinges on the outcome of the High Court battle to decide on who owns the club, the ongoing case has heard.
Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah disagree over several issues Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah disagree over several issues
Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah disagree over several issues

The claim was made by Andreas Gledhill QC – Price Abdullah's barrister – during cross examination of Blades' director Jeremy Tutton on day six of the High Court hearing.

Mr Gledhill QC said that Sheffield United Limited – a company controlled by Mr McCabe and his family – signed a deal with a group called ALK on April 1, 2019.

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He told Judge Mr Justice Fancourt the deal was dependent on SUL getting 100 per cent ownership of the club – which the court case will decide.

The barrister also said two deals were struck – one if United were in the Championship, another if they were promoted to the Premier League, which they were last month.

SUL 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.

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Cross-examining director Jeremy Tutton, Mr Gledhill QC said: “It’s now in evidence that on April 1, 2019, Scarborough [McCabe’s company] concluded a deal with ALK didn’t it?”

Mr Tutton replied: “Yes, subject to getting a 100 per cent holding of the club.”

The case heard Mr McCabe and SUL borrowed £10 million to serve a 'call notice' to repurchase UTB’s shares.

They served the notice in December 2017 but at £5 million, Mr Gledhill said.

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Earlier in the day six proceedings, Mr Gledhill claimed Mr McCabe was a ‘domineering and aggressive ‘bully’ and made allegations about the way Mr McCabe ‘treats people’ but Mr Tutton said: “If I thought he was a bully I wouldn't have worked for him."

The hearing also heard about a board meeting in October 2017, which first team manager Chris Wilder attended to discuss funds for the January transfer window.

Mr Tutton said Mr Wilder’s body language suggested he was 'totally underwhelmed' by the funds which would be made available to him.

Mr Gledhill said Mr McCabe had instructed Mr Tutton, on behalf of SUL, not to make any funds available at all.

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Mr Tutton said: "Prince Abdullah is royalty and Chris Wilder would probably expect more from him than Scarborough - Kevin.

“The club was near the top [of the league] at that point and there was great momentum. If ever there was a time to spend a lot of money on the club that would have been it."

The case continues.