Sheffield United: Why did Prince Abdullah and Kevin McCabe agree to meet after learning of High Court verdict?

Kevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (left) © BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHYKevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (left) © BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Kevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (left) © BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Earlier this month, two men arrived in the restaurant of a Paris hotel and sat down for dinner.

Facing each other across the table, after exchanging pleasantries and eating their food, HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe set about trying to thrash out a compromise before a high Court judge publicly revealed which one of them would become Sheffield United's new owner.

Both were already aware of the ruling, which would later see Prince Abdullah seize power at Bramall Lane. But speaking yesterday, the Saudi Arabian revealed why the co-owners decided to hold last ditch talks before Mr Justice Fancourt's report, which contains a number of critical remarks about some of the evidence he considered, was officially published.

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"I read all of the pages, I don't know how many there are but it is a lot," Prince Abdullah said. "I am not a vindictive man, I don't hold grudges. Every relationship has good and bad but, when things go wrong, you only remember the bad. Because I knew I had won, because I knew there was harsh language in there, I offered to go to his (McCabe's) office but I was sensitive about how he would feel. He told me he was in Spain so I said 'Next week I am in Paris, how about we meet there and I will take you for dinner.' That's why it happened."

Prince Abdullah and McCabe entered into partnership in 2013, when the latter handed over half of his stake in United's parent company for certain financial guarantees. But as time wore on, and following a number of disagreements behind the scenes, McCabe made a £5m offer to buy back the shares. Prince Abdullah responded in kind, as permitted by the terms of their original investment contract, but angered the Scarborough based businessman by performing a performing a corporate manoeuvre McCabe's lawyers argued was designed to ensure he did not have to immediately purchase United's property assets, which include the training complex and Bramall Lane itself. Although Mr Justice fancourt found in Prince Abdullah's favour, he stipulated those must be purchased from McCabe by next summer.

"I told him (McCabe), 'we have been through court, I eish you'd have listened to me because we would have saved a lot of lawyers money," Prince Abdullah continued. "If you think players are expensive, you should see lawyers.

"I told him 'we could have saved all this. I could have got more, you could have got more. Let's agree a price and issue a joint-statement.' I wanted to treat him with respect."

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"he gave me an offer I could never accept because it went against everything in the judgement," Prince Abdullah continued. "I thought my lawyers had not told me the truth, because they told me I had won. But I knew I had won. I don't know why he offered what he did but he is a smart man."

McCabe, who has been a major figure at United for over two decades, is considering an appeal against the verdict, which came following a near month long hearing in May.

"I like many things about Kevin," Prince Abdullah said. "I like his family, I like (his sons) Scott and Simon. I just wanted to try and find a better way for the club."