On 3rd September 2013, Sheffield United announced that HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has become joint owner and co-chairman of the club. The Saudi Arabian Prince is multi-billionaire and has secured a 50% interest in Blades Leisure Ltd with the intention to return Sheffield United into the higher tiers of the Football Leagues. The Sheffield United chairman, Kevin McCabe, whom has invested over £90 million into the club, refused to comment on the exact sum of the investment but mentioned it would be a ‘game-changer’ for the Yorkshire side.
Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is an avid football fan, having been president of Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, the most successful football team in Saudi Arabia, as well as following the 49’ers in the NFL and possessing an obsession with online fantasy football games. Following his presidency at Al Hilal, the Prince invested in the Saudi Paper Manufacturing Group, the largest paper company within the Middle East. Having been approached by 2 Championship teams, including Leeds United, the Prince commented on why he decided to invest in Sheffield United. The told SUFC.co.uk:
“I am delighted to invest in such a sensibly-organised, family and community club with a great history and heritage. Joining Sheffield United at a time close to its 125th year in existence is significant to me and, like Kevin, I am determined to see it achieve its goals and look forward to working with the whole Blades community”.
Sheffield’s local newspaper, The Star, declared that Prince Abdullah’s intentions to invest within Sheffield United were due to its family values and history to the club. As the home of football and with the world’s oldest professional football ground, it can be understood why the Prince decided to provide ‘substantial new capital’ in the League 1 side. However, before Blades fans can get ahead of themselves, Prince Abdullah’s agent, James Phipps who helped clinch the deal, insisted that the United faithful must “think Liverpool rather than Manchester City. The prince, like Mr McCabe, has built a successful business from scratch and there are certain principles that he always adheres too”. However Phipps also maintained that they are keen on extending the club’s rich history and honour the heritage and traditions that come with the role of co-chairman at Sheffield United.
As a Sheffield United fan, it is hard to believe that something so monumental could happen to your club, especially at this period of pessimism and gloom of League 1 football. Not only have United managed to keep their young players this transfer window and secured new talent with the likes of Harry Bunn and Florent Cuvelier, but fans were woken up to the news of a bright (and rich) future of the Saudi Arabian Prince’s investment. With a visit to the New York Stadium this weekend to see his new team against South Yorkshire rivals, Rotherham United, I can only pray Prince Abdullah likes what he sees.