Sheffield United owner Kevin McCabe has defended his record at Bramall Lane - but insists he is prepared to listen to new investment offers.
The Blades are battling to escape League One - their fifth season in the third tier of English football - and sit four points outside the play-offs, despite Saturday’s 1-0 win over Port Vale.
The Blades hierarchy have come in for criticism from supporters, for their lack of signings in last month’s January transfer window, as United struggle for consistency on the pitch.
But joint-chairman McCabe insisted United’s problems are not due to a “lack of effort, investment or ambition from the owners.”
The McCabe family has pumped £90m into the Blades over the years, while fellow owner Prince Abdullah has contributed a further £15m since he purchased a 50 per cent stake in the club in 2013.
The joint owners have already invested £8m this season, paying £1.8m on a new DESSO pitch at Bramall Lane and upgraded pitches at their Shirecliffe training centre and Academy.
“The notion of ‘owners taking money out of the club’ is too ridiculous for words as I think any fair-minded fan recognises how Bramall Lane has been extended and extensively improved from what it was some 15 years ago, to become a ‘Premier Stadium’ alongside developing a highly ranked first class Academy at Shirecliffe and a Junior Development Centre at Crookes,” said McCabe.
“Lest we forget, in the summer of last year alone, over £1.8m was spent on property improvements including upgrading the pitch with a DESSO surface together with new synthetic coverings to the outdoor and indoor pitches at Shirecliffe.
“Expectations are rightly much higher than playing at this level, and everyone connected with the club believes the current position is unacceptable.
“Rest assured, our position is not a result of lack of effort, investment or ambition from the owners - my family’s investment over the years amounts to around £90m and Prince Abdullah has in a short space of time contributed a further £15m. In this season alone, the joint owners have, in total, put in £8m of money.
“On the playing front, the number of new recruits brought on board in the last three or four seasons alone exceeded over 40 new players joining the Blades, surely demonstrating our commitment to succeed.
“Whatever the reasons at the moment, the various costly recruitments have not as yet brought us the success we crave.”
McCabe admitted mistakes had been made - both on and off the pitch - but is confident manager Nigel Adkins was the man to turn United’s fortunes around.
“Despite the present difficulties we remain resolute and committed to getting out of this league at the earliest opportunity,” he said.
“I accept that mistakes may have been made both on and off the field, which for a variety of reasons has resulted in the under-achievement of our first-team.
“These errors include the appointment of certain previous team managers and coaching staff, all of whom seemed appropriate at the time but with hindsight did not bring positive progress to our proud and fine Club.
“We have tried to learn from past mistakes, and in Nigel Adkins appointed an individual with excellent credentials to undertake the job in hand.”
Blades fans have questioned whether it is time for McCabe to move aside, to speed-up change at Bramall Lane.
A supporter himself “since I was a nipper”, McCabe says he is open to new investors and would “listen to their proposals”.
He said: “I gather certain supporters have questioned my role in events during the last couple of seasons and suggest that it is time for me to move on.
“I can only say that for as long I am here serving Sheffield United I will continue to do my utmost to bring success to a Club that I have been a fan of since I was a nipper.
“However, if there are level headed businessmen, either local, national or international who can clearly demonstrate that they have the credentials to work on enhancing the progress of Sheffield United FC, then they should make contact as I am prepared to listen to their proposals.
“There is no hiding from the fact that we have experienced some dark days of late, where the frustration and disappointment of all supporters is understandable.
“However, I can say that Sheffield United will rise again with good times returning sooner rather than later.
“Our history, heritage, facilities and outstanding supporter base makes this inevitable.”