SHEFFIELD UNITED: Chairman Kevin McCabe tackles the big issues facing United

United chief: Kevin McCabe
United chief: Kevin McCabe
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KEVIN McCabe, Sheffield United’s owner, last night reaffirmed his commitment to Bramall Lane.

McCabe, who together with his family effectively bankrolls the South Yorkshire club, dismissed suggestions he wants to cut his ties with Danny Wilson’s side.

In an interview with The Star, McCabe also addressed a number of issues which have been the source of much speculation among supporters, including the decision to transfer ownership of United’s real estate to its plc and claims that Wilson has been instructed not to select high-earners such as Nick Montgomery and Richard Cresswell by the board.

McCabe said: “During the last few seasons - really since unjustly losing our Premiership status in 2007 - the family have made major funds available, particularly to the football division, in attempting to get back to the top echelons of English football.

“Anyone who traces players in, loan players, injuries to key players, losing Paddy Kenny for inappropriate reasons, the (Ched) Evans Affair and losing play-offs’ will accept we’ve not had the rub of the green in spite of the millions provided. Our published accounts highlight the losses funded by only one party - the McCabes.

“We all expected success last season in the effort to regain our Championship status but, yet again, the ‘kick in the face’ to the first team in losing (leading scorer) Ched Evans at the worst possible time then losing on penalties after a 49 game season.”

Defeat in last term’s play-off final has prompted a round of cost cutting at United as officials look to comply with new financial measures, including the Salary Cost Management Protocol, which limits spending on wages to a percentage of a total turnover.

McCabe added: “Whilst a few off the field changes were made in the 2011 close season, I decided we were a ‘Championship side in League One’ thus held back on sensible cost cutting believing we’d achieve our goal. So, with failure occurring and accepting that currently, although not for long, we’re a ‘League One side in League One’ the cost cutting off the field became an unfortunate but necessary priority.

“The club will now be run on a more efficient basis and the process of reorganisation should be fully in place within the next few weeks.

“However our football division continues to be strengthened with six new players signed - all for transfer sums other than (Matt) Hill and (Tony) McMahon - and the shape of the squad I reckon is both the best in League One and the most expensive. We also resigned, against expectations, Kevin McDonald and Chris Porter.”

McCabe continued: “The added issue that all clubs have to address is the Football League’s ‘Fair Play’ and SCMP which we can’t ignore.

“Our big problem is the residue of certain senior players still on high Championship packages which unless resolved or are granted a waiver, could see us technically breach SCMP conditions leaving ourselves open to a transfer embargo and financial penalties. This vitally important topic cannot be ignored.”

On reports that Montgomery and Cresswell, now poised to become a player/coach, have been omitted for financial reasons, McCabe said: “The manager has been at liberty to pick for the first team squad Nick and Richard and there’s never been any request from myself to leave them out. As all supporters know up front we have major competition.

“Likewise in midfield there’s the likes of McDonald, (Michael) Doyle, (Stephen) Quinn, (David) McAllister, (Elliott) Whitehouse, (Matty) Harriott and (Erik) Tonne.

McCabe added: “The move to transfer all our real estate to the parent company and leave SUFC as a ‘vanilla’ football club is modern day thinking. For shareholders - don’t forget the McCabes own over 85% with directors and friends owning over 5% - there’s no difference.

“The corporate change may make it more attractive for certain investors who merely wish to see their funds used to finance football alone and not utilised to own the major property interests of United.”