PRINCE ABDULLAH finally revealed himself for the first time to Sheffield United fans in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports following his takeover of the club.
It was an impressive performance, begging the question why during his six-year association with the club he has chosen to hide away. The Saudi has made only four visits to watch the Blades during that time and said very little in public.
While accepting that manager Chris Wilder “is a great coach” he also stressed that no-one is bigger than the club. Prince Abdullah also explained the club’s strategy. Although he has high hopes of remaining in the Premier League he is also prepared for a possible relegation by investing in players who will remain should they return to the Championship.
Meanwhile, on controversial figure Jan Van Winkel, the Belgium with a UEFA-pro coaching licence who he appointed to United’s board and whom infuriated Wilder by trying to interfere in team affairs, the prince said he would use him but Wilder will make all the decisions.
Here is a summary.
MANAGER CHRIS WILDER
“I have a very good relationship with Chris. I know a good coach when I see one. Chris is a great coach. He is going to get better and he is getting better.
“For us I feel it is lucky that we found a coach like Chris. But in my philosophy and when you analyse why clubs are successful, big clubs are the clubs that have no personality above the club. There is no owner, coach or player above the club. We all work for the club.”
“The transfer budget for this year was £30m. I fought hard with my ex-partner (Kevin McCabe), and you can ask Chris Wilder, and we raised it to £40m. That is much more than many Premier League clubs have spent. In January we have to look at our position in the table and talk to Chris. We will do anything that is needed.
"We always have to be to be reasonable and responsible. It is not about spending, it is about spending wisely. God forbid we get relegated, we don't want to buy the type of player that will leave the club if we get relegated because Sheffield United is a Premier League club.”
HIS NON ATTENDANCE AT BRAMALL LANE
“I don't like to watch games really. I like to watch games on TV with mute, alone. If we lose nobody talks to me. I get to forget about it. I intend to appoint my son in law as a chairman of the club. He and my daughter will move to Sheffield. They will live in Sheffield and be at all the games.”
“It is a club with a great history. It is a club that belongs to the fans. It's a huge responsibility. Talk is cheap but I think fans, when they look back four or five years from now, they will be happy.”
“I will always treat Kevin McCabe with respect. I gave Kevin many offers [for a compromise], lawyers are expensive. We couldn't agree.”
JAN VAN WINKEL
“He has one of the best eyes for talent. He told me to buy Yaya Toure when he was [playing] in Belgium. I will use him but Chris is the face of the club and his decisions about the first team are the decisions we will go with.”
“Bramall Lane for me is the most prestigious in the world. We're only going to make it better. We're going to make the facilities better, the fan experience better.”