Sheffield United: Kevin McCabe admits he's heartbroken over losing High Court battle for Blades, feels 'deep sense of betrayal over treatment by Prince Abdullah'

Kevin McCabe has spoken of his ‘deep sense of betrayal over his treatment by Prince Abdullah’ after losing the High Court battle for control of Sheffield United this morning.

Monday, 16th September 2019, 3:40 pm
Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah

Judge Mr Justice Fancourt’s judgement this morning ordered McCabe to sell his 50 per cent stake in United’s parent company to the Prince, for just £5m.

In the emotional statement, on behalf of the McCabe family, the lifeline Blade fan admitted he “feels a deep sense of betrayal” and “is in a state of shock”.

McCabe also admits he has “deep misgivings about the suitability of Prince Abdullah as an appropriate custodian of Sheffield United.”

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McCabe’s statement in full:

“Kevin McCabe is bitterly disappointed with the outcome of today’s judgment. He has supported Sheffield United through thick and thin going back to the 1950s and wishes nothing more than success for the club, its supporters and the many staff employed by it. The McCabe family have invested more than £100m into the football club over the years, and the Judge’s warm tribute to Kevin McCabe’s generosity in this regard was extremely welcome. Kevin McCabe has been the longest-serving director and/or owner of Sheffield United in the history of the club. For the McCabe family to have lost their connection with the football club in this manner and by way of this judgment is simply heartbreaking.

Kevin feels a deep sense of betrayal and is in a state of shock about the way that he has been treated by Prince Abdullah and he now deeply regrets going into business with him. When the McCabes entered their partnership with Prince Abdullah in 2013 they believed that the Prince was a man of very considerable resources with sufficient wealth to inject the sort of money into the football club that would see it reach its full potential. As the judgment details, the McCabes were very seriously misled about the true extent of Prince Abdullah’s wealth and had to rescue the club from insolvency because of the Prince’s impecuniosity around December 2016. Had the Prince not been strapped for cash at this time it may be that no finance would have been needed from Mr Saleh bin Laden.

Kevin McCabe was also devastated to learn, from documents disclosed in the litigation, of the fraud that Prince Abdullah and his advisors attempted to carry out on him with regard to commission on the “Project Delta” transaction. This and certain other features of the Prince’s conduct are matters of deep regret to the McCabes.

This is not the appropriate time for Mr McCabe to comment on the detail of the Judgment, nor on the campaign that he feels was waged against him personally by Prince Abdullah towards the end of 2017. The Judge’s findings in relation to Prince Abdullah’s actions in repudiating the Shareholders’ Agreement and effectively attempting to cheat the McCabe family out of the value of the properties that they had leased to the club, speak for themselves.

It will not surprise readers of the Judgment to learn that the McCabes do not agree with every aspect of the Judge’s decision. However they are nevertheless grateful to the Judge for the time and care he has taken over the Judgment and they wish to make clear that in disagreeing with some of the conclusions they mean no disrespect to the Judge. Serious consideration is now being given, with the advisors to Sheffield United Limited, to an appeal against the Judgment.

Mr McCabe sincerely hopes that he is proved wrong in relation to his deep misgivings about the suitability of Prince Abdullah as an appropriate custodian of Sheffield United. In this regard, only time will tell. For the moment however the McCabe family are simply deeply grieved that matters should have come to this.”

In his own statement this morning, Prince Abdullah said he was “delighted that this judgement brings an end to the uncertainty surrounding the club's future” and “we can now focus on this vital Premier League season under stable ownership”.