Sheffield United co-owner talks to Blades fans' forum
Kevin McCabe Sheffield United 'heart attack club'

“We’ve had one of those seasons that only Sheffield United supporters recognise.

“We are reshaping as always to give it our best shot for next season because simply we have to get out of this blessed league.

“The efforts we have applied over the last four years is there for us all to see. We should have undoubtedly escaped League One back in 2012. The slam dunk of automatic promotion we were robbed of because of the unfortunate incident of Ched Evans. No other club would get these extraordinary events that hit you at exactly the wrong time of the season.”

ON OTHER CLUBS’ MISFORTUNES

“They are nothing like ours. They don’t have a Ched Evans issue, they don’t have a Carlos Tevez affair. They don’t even have problems with important players that you miss for very important games who have positive drug tests and the like.

“We should and would have got promotion this time four years ago but for an extraordinary event.

“We got a slam dunk and unfortunately missed it, not through any fault of anyone but something that went wrong. Actually, I can say it openly now, an injustice that occurred.

“As I say to some of my friends who want to come and see us occasionally, we’re a heart attack club. We get so close and so far. How many playoffs? Eight. How many have we won? It's an unbelievable record.

“So many other clubs have fortune and fortune plays such a big part in the game of football. Far more so than rugby. Usually the best side normally wins in rugby; far more so than other sports even like cricket. Football, often the best side, sort of the best side loses. For Sheffield United at times it’s incidents, funny incidents that always seem to work against us.

“But it will change next season. The inevitable rise of Sheffield United, not just back to the Championship but back to the Premiership will happen believe me. Everything about this club has been worked out and structured to achieve what we achieved back in 2006.

“We actually achieved the aim, redeveloping this stadium into one of the best in the country starting the  hotel, the pre-development work in that self same season and getting back to the Premiership that we were cruelly robbed of. We also had just created and were expanding the Academy which really is one of the finest

“It’s a frustration that we all have as supporters at times that we don’t have enough of our own youngsters playing in the team. That so often occurs because of the dichotomy a team manager has of having to get promotion for Sheffield United, no ifs or buts, not wishing to take chances that in their eyes are big chances. Therefore some youngsters never get a chance at the right time to show their spurs and become super players.

We really need to plan for next season in recognition that this last three seasons – not the Ched Evans season – we’ve wasted too much money, we have brought on players the names of which so many of us have forgotten who they were.

“I wouldn’t like to asses the numbers but I expect it’s probably fortyish in trying to seek promotion, trying to take too many chances on players who, probably with hindsight weren’t well recruited to the task in hand of getting out of League One.

“We see opposition here at Bramall Lane and many of you who go to the away games as well where the opposition we meet the younger players must be given the chance. They are fit enough, they are good enough, they’ve been tutored the Sheffield United way by our Academy. Youngsters who have achieved acclaim of playing for their country at various levels.

"All the breeding is right. They must be given a better chance to come forward. I say that in recognition it will never stop the need to bring in one or two experienced professionals.

“I go back to the days in Neil Warnock’s time with a Stuart McCall. A brilliant signing. A guy who could orchestrate a midfield that could score goals with Michael Tonge and Michael Brown but also the player who was a captain not with an armband but in the way he could display his talents. Neat and tidy and if somebody kicked him, he’d kick ’em back. 

“To a Gary Speed, character players who are experienced but also have that desire not to come to a club just to see out a career but to come to achieve something in the final stages of their career. It’s that sort of player that we at times have been badly lacking. Where we get them from is another matter.”

ON REORGANISATION AT THE TOP

“At Board level we’ll be reorganising the Board all for positive reasons. I say the Board, it’s representatives of Prince Abdullah and my own family to make it more efficient. At executive level you probably recognise that back in December Mal Brannigan, our managing director, left and we were reshaping the off-the-field activities of Sheffield United because we are a club.

“It’s not just about first team football. Just bear in mind that the hub of the football team of this football club is not Bramall Lane but Shirecliffe.

“Supporters can forget that and it is one of the reasons we are such a great club. We’ve got everything that other clubs including near neighbours just simply don’t have.

“To get a better impression of what we have done to get to right next season we have what we loosely term a technical board or technical committee which comprises of the team manager, the Academy manager, Carl Shieber who is head of our football administration, and the the managing director of the club, chaired by my elder son Scott.

“People around the table on the technical board are looking at how we should reshape the team, how we should actually look at the recruitment process in way more detail than we did before on diligence. To make the decisions better and to make them to suit certain areas of the squad that need strengthening, not all areas which has been the case over the last three years."

SALES PITCH

“Go away with your own determination as we have to go and tell friends to renew their season tickets. We’re not a dead club. When we get frustrated and disappointed we all say bloody daft things.

“This club is going places. This git will not rest easy until we do.”

It will change next season. The inevitable rise of Sheffield United, not just back to the Championship but back to the Premiership will happen believe me.
— Kevin McCabe