Sheffield United take significant step over Bramall Lane hotel as chief executive issues financial update

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Sheffield United take significant step with Bramall Lane hotel after financial commitment made

Sheffield United hope to have the hotel bolted onto their Bramall Lane stadium back open again in time for next season after preliminary works began on its renovation. The hotel, previously operated by Copthorne as a four-star establishment, has been closed since 2020 following the High Court battle between United's former co-owners Prince Abdullah and Kevin McCabe.

After the Prince's victory in the wrestle for full control of the Blades, he was ordered to buy United's property assets from McCabe - including Bramall Lane, the Shirecliffe training ground and the hotel. The deal for the latter was vacant possession, meaning all the hotel's fixtures and fittings were removed and the contract with Copthorne was cancelled, leaving the venue in a state of disrepair.

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Works on the Bramall Lane hotel next to Sheffield United's home stadiumWorks on the Bramall Lane hotel next to Sheffield United's home stadium
Works on the Bramall Lane hotel next to Sheffield United's home stadium

Barriers erected to protect the site from vandalism were removed ahead of the women's European Championship games at the Lane last summer, and the hotel is once again fenced off after preliminary work on the site began and scaffolding was put up. United are making a significant multi-million-pound investment to ensure the hotel is brought up to standards, with an upgrade on the building's cladding the major expense following changes to legislation following the Grenfell Tower fire back in 2017.

The Covid-19 pandemic initially delayed the hotel's reopening before financial restrictions meant United could not justify the significant cost to replace the cladding at a time when they were still in the Championship. Promotion to the Premier League has put the club back on an even keel from a financial standpoint, with the club still committed to sourcing a new training ground with the view to upgrading Shirecliffe to a category one academy.

United confirmed they had signed a deal with the Hilton group to become the new operators of the hotel back in 2021, with the initial hope to welcome fans back through its doors by the end of that year. Two years on the site remains vacant but Hilton are understood to still be on board, with the hotel expected to rebrand under its Doubletree brand once work is completed.

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Under the terms of the agreement United are liable for the costs of kitting out the hotel, with Hilton effectively paying them a percentage of the profits to run it. The hotel was previously a popular destination for supporters on matchday, while supporters and players alike often stayed there when travelling from further away. Speaking recently about United's financial position and whether Premier League football had helped the club "reset" financially, chief executive Stephen Bettis admitted: "Yes, I believe so. One hundred per cent.

"The riches of the Premier League makes it fairly easy to reset because the numbers are so, so big, compared to being in the Championship. So yes, it has enabled us to reset and it’s enabled us to invest in some of the infrastructure. We’re actually starting the works on the hotel soon as well, so we’ll have a hotel back open for next season. Which will be great for everyone.

"There's also been some work and some investment around the stadium, into the corporate areas and the suite areas etc. And we’re continuing to try to move forward with the funds that we have available, and I think that that won’t change."

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