McCabe backs Blackwell but says 'players bought were not right'

SHEFFIELD United chairman Kevin McCabe last night warned of the need for change this summer at Bramall Lane.

McCabe revealed that talks with manager Kevin Blackwell had been postponed this week due to flight disruption but admitted that a number of things are soon to be addressed.

The Blades have missed out on play-off qualification and look set to finish in their lowest league position for eight years.

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Blackwell, who still has another two years on his contract, blames injuries and the pressure to sell players for the team's position but McCabe also feels the manager bought badly last summer and needs to change his style of play.

Speaking to supporters at a fans' forum at Bramall Lane, McCabe said: "This club is still striving for success and no stone will be left unturned to get things right.

"We will be reflecting on this season with the manager. There are many points to address such as the quality of the signings, the mix of players, and the playing style.

"We have spent more than we planned this season and we are the fourth-highest spenders in the Championship.

"On reflection, we did not make the best of choices last summer. On reflection, maybe we could have got other players in.

"This season has been a bit below what we expected in terms of quality. We made mistakes and the players we brought in were not the right sort for the unit that suits Sheffield United."

Any suggestion McCabe's dissatisfaction with the season's outcome cast Blackwell's future at the club into doubt were dispelled when McCabe continued: "I would like Kevin Blackwell to be in charge next season.

"He is a good manager and I have known him a long time.

"We have yet to start talking about re-shaping. We would have done this week but for the Icelandic volcano.

"Our away form has been poor and that has possibly cost us a play-off spot.

"We will be working with Kevin to find a style of play that, hopefully, will get us out of the Championship."

Blackwell, who had previously been assistant to Neil Warnock, returned as manager of the Blades in February 2008 following spells at Leeds United and Luton Town, and the departure of Bryan Robson.

After a dramatic improvement in results, the Blades narrowly missed out on play-off qualification that season and reached the final last season only to be beaten by Burnley at Wembley.

According to chief executive Trevor Birch, who also answered questions from supporters last night, the club's wage bill this season was around 14m.

McCabe confirmed that it would have to be reduced next season but refused to reveal by what extent.

Despite acknowledging rumours of a fall-out between Blackwell and striker Billy Sharp, McCabe wants Sharp – who has spent the season on loan with Doncaster Rovers – to be playing for the club next season.

He also accepted criticism of the club's involvement in Chinese football but revealed that a deal had now been agreed which takes away any financial responsibility to the Blades.