Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has questioned his own future at Bramall Lane unless the ongoing ownership battle is not quickly resolved.
Joint owners HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe have been in talks about a buyout at Bramall Lane for several months.
But the off-the-pitch tug-of-war has cast a shadow over United's impressive return to the Championship.
Now Wilder - in an emotional interview after the Blades slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to Preston North End - has called for the owners to sort out the club's future, to give United direction this summer.
"It's 100 per cent critical it gets resolved, I can't do my job properly unless there is a direction and decision from the owners," said Wilder.
"Any club that wants to be successful has to have harmony, direction and a plan. There isn't a plan, there isn't direction, and there isn't harmony. That's a fact.
"I won't use that as an excuse for us possibly not delivering (on the pitch). This is a brilliant club which is close to my heart, and I want it to move forward in our own way.
"I want to lead it, but I need a bit of help. I am the only voice that comes out of the football club.
"There's a lot of things which need to happen, soon, quick.
"It's not just me, and what my future holds, what is the direction and message to the good players that we've got. Are we moving forward? They need to see things happening.
"I really shouldn't be talking about any of this, and if people don't like it, they have to deal with it.
"This is my city, my football club. I have worked extremely hard to get in this position, I am ambitious, and i believe in the ability of myself and the staff.
"I want to go forward with this football club. But I can't do it all on my own.
"If it stays the same I don't think anybody would be surprised if I didn't question where my career is going.
"I want my career to go forward, progress my career, the careers of the staff and the players - and most importantly give the supporters some hope we can have a genuine football club with a strategy and plan to move forward."
On the pitch, the Blades needed to win both remaining games to have any chance of earning a top-six finish, but Alan Browne's goal means it is now Preston who can still gatecrash the play-offs.
Wilder made three changes, Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke up front, with Kieron Freeman at wingback.
Clarke came closest to breaking the deadlock, but his shot was deflected wide by Paul Huntington's block.
And it took a reflex block from Greg Cunningham to divert John Fleck's fierce goal-bound drive wide, as United pushed for a goal before half-time.
But it was the visitors who took the lead on 57 minutes.
Josh Harrop's long-range strike was parried by Jamal Blackman, and Browne pounced to slot the ball into the net.
Substitute Tom Clarke thought he had made it 2-0, but his close-range header was ruled out for offside.
Substitute David Brooks saw his side-footed effort tipped over by Declan Rudd, as the Blades hunted for an equaliser.
But despite home pressure, United could not find a goal, despite six minutes of stoppage time.