Sheffield United: Key man set to take the stand in London as High Court battle for control of Blades continues

The High Court battle for control of Sheffield United will continue this morning, with Blades chief executive Stephen Bettis scheduled to appear as a witness in London.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 4:00 am
Updated Monday, 10th June 2019, 6:00 am
Chris Wilder and Stephen Bettis: Robin Parker/Sportimage

Bettis is the latest to give evidence in the High Court trial before Mr Justice Fancourt, who will deliver his verdict on who will gain ultimate control of the Premier League new boys later this year.

Both United’s co-owners, Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Abdulaziz Al Saud, have been questioned by lawyers during the trial, as have their associates. The pair have spent nearly two years locked in a power struggle after launching rival takeover bids in 2017.Earlier in the legal proceedings it emerged that McCabe has held talks with Americans Dave Checketts and Alan Pace about taking over United if the judge rules in his favour, while Prince Abdullah is also thought to have been approached about investment in United, although the identity of those would-be investors is unknown.

Bettis was United’s chief executive when they won League One in 2016/17, before leaving his post to pursue other business interests in America. But he returned, at the behest of Chris Wilder, at the beginning of last season when United secured automatic promotion to the Premier League.

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Amidst the court case, meanwhile, planning for the Premier League continues at Bramall Lane. Boss Wilder has drawn up a shortlist of targets he feels can improve his squad ahead of August 10’s season opener, with Oli McBurnie and Neal Maupay amongst them.

Jay Rodriguez, of West Brom, may yet emerge as a target if speculation about a £5m release clause in his contract is accurate, while Wilder has opened talks with Manchester United about a loan return for their young goalkeeper, Dean Henderson, who impressed at Bramall Lane last season.