What are the next redevelopment plans at Sheffield United after owner Prince Abdullah confirmed purchase of the final club assets?
A statement from the Blades said: “Sheffield United Football Club Limited is very pleased to announce that with effect from 1st July 2020, it is the new owner of the Bramall Lane stadium, the Shirecliffe training facility, the hotel, the enterprise centre and the Crookes junior academy.”
This brings to an end a long and complicated separation process from former owner, Kevin McCabe. McCabe was forced to sell his shares in the club to the Saudi Prince last October after losing their High Court case.
He was also told to sell his assets, but that deal took far longer than expected to complete. This, in turn, held up the planned redevelopment of Bramall Lane and Shirecliffe.
Yet the purchase has finally be completed. Much to the delight of Prince Abdullah, who said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly brought unexpected challenges, but we remain dedicated to our original strategy and bringing the stadium and other properties under the ownership of the Club is an important step in executing on this strategy.
“We now look forward to capitalising on this important step as we establish the Blades in the Premier League. We’ll have more good news soon.”
What is the ‘good news’ and next redevelopment plans at Sheffield United?
As previously reported, there are both short and long-term redevelopment plans at United. The first thing fans can expect to see undertaken is stand improvements to the Kop.
This will include the removal of the pillars to improve the viewing experience for supporters. There are also planned improvements to the training facility at Shirecliffe.
It was originally hoped that this work could take place this summer in order to be ready for the 2020/21 season. However, the delay in purchasing the assets from McCabe and the effects the Covid-19 crisis has had on the current campaign, makes that less likely.
In the long-term there are plans to increase the capacity at Bramall Lane – something which has not happened since 2006. They also want to build a new academy and first team training facility.
The Yorkshire Post reports that this would involve separating the two. The old RAF Norton Aerodrome site has been earmarked as the new location for the academy.
The move would allow the club to meet the requirements for category one status under the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).
This would then allow upgrades to be made to the first team facilities at Shirecliffe.