The first job facing Sheffield United's owners following their purchase of French club Chateauroux
Their first task will be to stabilise a team which has lost all of its last four outings, sliding to the bottom of the Ligue 2 table.
But in the medium to long term, Sheffield United’s owners plan to integrate Chateauroux, the latest addition to a portfolio of clubs which also includes interests in Belgium, India, Dubai and of course South Yorkshire, into a network they believe can help them circumnavigate some of the financial obstacles standing between clubs without billions to spend on transfers and footballing success.
After months of speculation, Abdullah Alghamdi, chief executive of United World, confirmed the Swiss based group had completed a deal to purchase Chateauroux, based in the central province of Berry, yesterday.
“Our mission is to make La Berrichonne de Chateauroux a competitive community focused football club playing at the highest level possible in French football,” he said in a statement which, like the one United World issued after acquiring Kerala United, referenced establishing a partnership with the local authorities. “We are confident that this vision will come to life sooner rather than later with the support we are getting from the city of Chateauroux for our project.
“The visionary leadership of the city is inspiring us all to put the maximum effort (in) to make it a success.”
As The Star first revealed 12 months ago, the aim of the United World project is to encourage a flow of talent through its system with the best eventually ending up at either Bramall Lane or Beerschot. In the meantime, the likes of Kerala United and Al-Hilal United are expected to benefit from their access to the sporting and administrative expertise the relationship with United and Beerschot grants them.
Where Chateauroux will slide into the framework is expected to become clear over the coming months. But United World’s immediate priority will be to deliver results on the pitch following losses to Pau, Nancy, Paris FC and Le Havre – United striker Lys Mousset’s former employers.
Chateauroux are scheduled to return to action when they visit Sochaux this weekend, before hosting Caen at the Stade Gaston Petit seven days later.