Sheffield United: Prince Abdullah insists he has a 'good working relationship' with manager Chris Wilder, clarifies Jan Van Winckel's role at Bramall Lane
Prince Abdullah, Sheffield United’s owner, insists he has a 'good relationship' with manager Chris Wilder and has attempted to clarify the role of Jan Van Winckel's role at Bramall Lane going forward.
Van Winckel’s involvement at United was one bone of contention between Prince Abdullah and his former business partner Kevin McCabe, and contributed to the breakdown of their relationship.
That ended in a High Court battle for the Blades, which reached a conclusion earlier this week when Mr Justice Fancourt ordered McCabe to sell his 50 per cent share in United to the Prince for just £5m.
McCabe described the decision as heartbreaking, while the Prince looked forward to a new chapter at Bramall Lane under his sole ownership.
But many Blades fans have reacted nervously to the news, and more specifically their fears over the future of manager Wilder – who has led the Blades from League One to the Premier League in just three years.
And the Prince, speaking on Sky Sports News this afternoon, said: “I have a good relationship with Chris. I know a good coach when I see one, and Chris is a great one. He will get better and better; he is getting better and better.
“When I analyse what makes a club successful, no-one is bigger than the club. The owner, coach and players all work for the club.
“We’re blessed to have Chris and will support him. Hopefully he will lead us to bigger and better things.”
Van Winckel was appointed to the United board, but a move to have him appointed to the club’s technical committee was blocked by McCabe. The Belgian has previously worked with Marcelo Bielsa at Marseille and is currently involved with Beerschot, the Belgian club Prince Abdullah co-owns.
“He’s one of the best people I know and has a good eye for talent,” the Prince added, on Van Winckel.
“He told me to buy Yaya Toure for Al-Hilal for $800,000 when he was in Belgium, before he went to Barcelona and Manchester City. We will use him in the club, but Chris is the face of the club and his decisions on the first team are the decisions we’ll go with.“He’s busy with Beerschot and I can’t think he can spend a lot of time in Sheffield, but he’ll be involved.”