Struggling Blades are on course to wipe out their debts

Sheffield United's Co-Chairman HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Sheffield United's Co-Chairman HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
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Sheffield United made significant in-roads into cutting their debts last season – and with a Saudi Prince now on board things are expected to get even healthier.

The Blades announced yesterday that they made a retained loss of £4.6m in 2012-13, a figure that while still worrying, is considerably better than the £13m they lost in the previous season.

The majority of that reduction comes from a saving of £4.1m on player wages and a further £3.1m made through transfers.

These figures are all for the period before Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz al Saud bought a 50 per cent stake in the Bramall Lane club for just a pound in September.

Although the initial outlay was minimal, the Prince is expected to put money into the club which will see it not only have a better chance of winning promotion from League One, but also return to credit in future years.

Their current predicament on the pitch, which sees Nigel Clough’s side go into today’s trip to Bristol City mired in the relegation zone, owes much to the club’s policy in recent years of drastically reducing a wage bill that seven years ago was designed for Premier League football.

Sheffield United plc is also proposing to re-register as a private limited company with the name Sheffield United Ltd.

Director Scott McCabe said: “Alongside the needed restructuring of football management and attention to players’ salaries, was the very exciting arrival of our new partner Prince Abdullah.

“His investment, which falls outside this financial reporting period, is concentrated primarily on improving first-team football.

“The revised co-ownership will see an adjustment of how the performance of the club is recognised. The McCabes will continue to aid certain liabilities of Sheffield United, leaving the reorganised football club in a highly desirable debt-free position which could not have been achieved without more sacrifices from the McCabe family.”

For the 2012-13 season, the club generated turnover of £8.9m (£10.3m in 2012). Gate receipts were down from £4.5m to £3.7m, due to reduction in revenue from play-off fixtures and cup games. Television income and prize money dropped £0.2m to £1.2m.

The reduction in wage budget for the playing staff was significant, though the club remain one of the biggest spenders in the division in that area.

United did make money though on transfers, with more than £3m coming into the club via the sales of Matt Lowton and Nick Blackman plus appearance payments in respect of Kyle Walker, who joined Tottenham Hotspur four years ago.

“Our fans continue to be an inspiration to all at the club,” added Mr McCabe. “They still continue to turn up home and away in great numbers.

“Fans and shareholders alike all know our club deserves the rub of the green which, for whatever reason, has eluded us. However, we do not give up, maintaining the drive and ambition to succeed in spite of frustrating setbacks and, believe me, success on the field will be achieved in the not too distant future.”