One of the key men responsible for securing Sheffield United’s financial future has left the club.
Chief executive Julian Winter – brought to Bramall Lane with a remit to prepare the club for investment – is leaving to “pursue new opportunities”.
The 48-year-old helped Saudi Arabian Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad take joint ownership of the League One outfit, alongside Kevin McCabe, earlier this year with the promise of investment into the playing squad.
Winter said: “Sheffield United is a terrific club and now in a position to drive forward on and off the pitch.
“I want to pursue new opportunities at this stage of my career and I wish all at SUFC the very best of luck in the new exciting joint venture between the McCabe family and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.”
With Winter leaving, United are re-organising their management structure and scrapping the CEO position.
Instead, the Blades will appoint a managing director alongside financial director Craig Burns and club manager Nigel Clough.
Sheffield United director Scott McCabe said: “Julian leaves on his own terms and we thank him for his time at the club and wish him all the best in his future career.”
Fellow Blades director Jim Phipps said: “Julian Winter helped the club get onto a more economically sustainable footing and he, with others at the club, assisted in carrying through diligence issues which led to the investment of new SUFC co-owner, Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad of Saudi Arabia.”
Huddersfield-born Winter played for Huddersfield and Scunthorpe. He also played briefly for Sheffield United.
Today Blades visit Stevenage Borough and Harry Maguire needs no reminding of their previous visit.
The Blades, chasing promotion from League One, slumped to a 4-0 defeat at Broadhall Way in March this year which proved to be one of Danny Wilson’s final games in charge.
Fast forward nine months and it is the Blades who are stuck at the wrong end of the table, with Clough the third manager since Wilson looking to bring stability back to Bramall Lane.
United are currently on a five-game unbeaten run, but centre-half Maguire is wary of the physical threat Stevenage will pose.
In March, Dani Lopez’s hat-trick did the damage, while the season before United lost 2-1 away in the league before grinding out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the semi-final play-offs, followed by defeat to Huddersfield Town in the final.
“We have had two tough games down there in the league,” said Maguire.
“I remember last season we weren’t at the races, none of us, and we know if we are not on our game (today) they will turn us over again.
“We know they will be in our faces from the first minute. When we played there and they beat us last time it was like they had won the World Cup.
“We know they are going to be up for it.”
Despite United struggling this season, Maguire believes the Blades are still seen as a big scalp by most teams in League One.
“Wherever we are in the league, when teams come to Bramall Lane it’s one of the biggest games of the season,” he said.
“Everyone wants to turn us over and raises their game five or 10 per cent. We need to make sure we raise our game too.
“The results since Nigel came in have really picked up and we have been more solid as a defensive unit. It’s been hard work on the training ground.
“It’s about 10 games since the gaffer came in and the next 10 games are crucial in seeing where we want to finish.”
Defender Maguire is United’s top scorer this season with five goals, which probably highlights their lack of cutting edge in attack.
“It’s lasting too long for my liking, hopefully someone will overake me soon,” joked the Sheffield-born stopper. “I am due one, I have not had one in the last few weeks.”