Sheffield United owner and chairman speak out following play-off defeat to Nottingham Forest

Sheffield United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Yusuf Giansiracusa, the club’s chairman, have released a statement revealing their pride at the efforts of Paul Heckingbottom and his squad this season.

Thursday, 19th May 2022, 4:49 pm

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Also praising the “class” demonstrated by United supporters during Tuesday’s match at Nottingham Forest, which saw Heckingbottom’s side exit the Championship play-offs on penalties, the two men insisted “great things” lie ahead despite events at the City Ground.

“Little more than 24 hours is hardly enough time to process what happened on Tuesday following the expiration of extra-time,” Prince Abdullah and Giansiracusa wrote. “There are, however, a few things we can say with confidence. We have never been more proud to be a Blade. We're proud of the leadership that Paul, (and assistants) Jack (Lester) and Stuart (McCall) have demonstrated since November.

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Sheffield United owner H.R.H Prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud speaks out: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“We're proud of the competitive grit that our players demonstrated despite all those voices counting them out. We're proud of the class exhibited by our fans before, during and after the match at the City Ground and indeed, throughout the season.

“We have had our share of setbacks over the past 24 months, some amplified by our own failings. Nevertheless, while the loss weighs heavy on our hearts, we are incredibly optimistic about our future.”

The pledge

Sheffield United CEO Stephen Bettis, Paul Heckingbottom, Chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa and Director Abdullah bin Yousef Alghamdi at a press conference to unveil Paul Heckingbottom as the club's new manager: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United were 16th in the table when Heckingbottom took charge on a permanent basis sixth months ago, having served in a caretaker capacity as they were relegated from the Premier League. They eventually finished fifth in the final rankings, securing a place in the end-of-term knockours by thrashing title winners Fulham on the final day of the regular season. That was their 16th victory in 30 outings under Heckingbottom's command.

“Character matters,” the statement, published on United’s official website, continued. “We lost our way for a while but Paul and the enduring faith of our fans led us back to the right path.

“While it is okay to take some time to absorb the pain of not achieving this year what we all know is our rightful destiny, we take solace in the knowledge that great things lie ahead for the club.”