Sheffield United introduce extraordinary cost-cutting measures to avoid going into administration
Sheffield United turn off undersoil heating at their training ground and restrict the use of grass fertiliser and paint… as the Championship promotion-chasers seek to avoid 12-point deduction and entering administration by Thursday
- Sheffield United were placed under a transfer embargo due to late payments
- They are six points ahead of third-placed Middlesbrough with nine games left
- Club will be docked 12 points if they go into administration before next Thursday
Sheffield United have introduced a series of extraordinary cost-cutting measures to avoid entering administration as soon as next week.
Sportsmail can reveal the full extent of the financial crisis gripping the Championship club, who have failed to pay suppliers and turned off the undersoil heating at the training ground in a desperate attempt to ensure they can afford to pay their players this month.
Under EFL rules any club entering administration before next Thursday is automatically docked 12 points this season, which would be a hammer blow to United’s prospects of winning promotion to the Premier League.
Despite the club’s acute financial problems Paul Heckingbottom’s side are well placed to return to the top-flight after two years in the Championship as they are second in the table, six points ahead of third-placed Middlesbrough with nine games of the season remaining.
United were placed under a transfer embargo in January after failing to pay transfer fee instalments due to other clubs, with millions of pounds understood to be owed to Liverpool and Malmo for Rhian Brewster and Bosnian defender Anel Ahmedhodzic respectively. The club have been desperately attempting to get through the season without entering administration or being docked points for late payment of players ever since.
Cash-strapped Sheffield United have introduced some extraordinary cost-saving measures
Despite the financial problems, the club are thriving on the pitch under Paul Heckingbottom
United’s cash crisis has worsened in recent weeks, which has led to the club introducing some extraordinary cost-saving measures, including:
– Turning off the undersoil heating at the club’s Shirecliffe training ground and ordering the players to train inside.
– Instructing ground staff to cut back on the use of grass fertiliser on training pitches to save money.
– Limiting the amount of paint used across various club sites.
– Restricting the use of specialist data and analysis software by club scouts, which has hampered their ability to prepare the squad for matches.
– Cutting back on the use of casual workers and part-time office staff.
– Failing to pay several suppliers on time, which has led to numerous complaints.
– Mothballing various construction projects, with the Copthorne Hotel at Bramall Lane falling into a state of disrepair.
United’s plight is all the more extraordinary as they are still in receipt of parachute payments after being relegated from the Premier League two years ago, with the top-flight giving them around £16m this season, leading many around the club to question where all the money has gone.
Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz al Saud completed an unusual takeover from previous Kevin McCabe three years ago following a bitter court battle which resulted in the local property magnate receiving just £5million for a 50 per cent stake in the club previously valued at £104m, since which point investment has dried up.
The most recent accounts published last summer showed United owed £18.25m in outstanding transfer fees, although their total liabilities are understood to be far high as the club have been back-loading transfer payments for several years.
The club is owned by Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz al Saud (above)
Despite such problems United are thriving on the pitch under Heckingbottom, and on top of the promotion push face Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup quarter-finals, a winnable tie that leaves them one match away from Wembley.
Without the FA Cup run the club may already be in administration as the extra games have seen them bank over £1m. Getting through to the last eight is worth £350,000 in prize money alone, while having four successive ties broadcast live has generated almost £800,000 in TV appearance fees.
United are confident of being able to pay their players this month due to the economies they have put in place.
The club are also subject to a £90m takeover bid from Nigerian billionaire Dozy Mmobuosi, but the deal has stalled after the EFL raised questions over the source of his funding.
Source of data and images: dailymail