“Bigger clubs come with too much baggage, which we don’t want. We prefer to start from scratch” – owner of four clubs explains his different model

15 February 2021

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Photo: PA Images When it was public that he was the new co-owner of Sheffield United Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al met the fans before kick off during the Sky Bet League One match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield in November 2013.

United World is the owner of Sheffield United, Beerschot, Kerala United and Al Hilal United. Board member Jan Van Winckel, Marcelo Bielsa’s former right-hand man at Olympique Marseille, is confident all clubs can become sustainable.

Prince Abdullah bin Mosa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the owner behind the football group and according to Van Winckel his approach to a multiple-club ownership model is very different to City Football Group and others.

“The investments are based on the idea that each club can become self-sufficient in the future. That’s aligned with what we have always opposed, namely, that a club dependent on a Maecenas will always fade,” says Van Winckel.

Investments in lower-tier clubs in India and the United Arab Emirates is a clear sign that United World truly prefer to build things up almost from scratch.

Samindra Kunti contact@offthepitch.com

His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah always knew; the second season after promotion to the Premier League is the hardest.

Last season, Sheffield United were flying high in the English top division, blending front-foot football with healthy Yorkshire grit. Coach Chris Wilder sometimes fielded exclusively British/Irish starting XIs with deep non-league and lower league roots. His tactical system, with overlapping centre-halves, received widespread praise.

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