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Chief executive admits mistakes as Sheff Utd relegated

Sheffield United have dropped down to the third tier of English football (League One) for the first time since 1989, and yet just four seasons ago they were in the Premier League. In United's quest to get back to the top tier, they have relied heavily on the loan market with £6million spent to finance moves over the last two seasons.

"The club has to hold its hands up and acknowledge that we got it wrong," chief executive Trevor Birch said in a club statement.

"We apologise to the fans that have so steadfastly stood by the club. They deserve success and we will work like hell to build a solid foundation on which we can base a team capable of not only promotion back to the Championship, but also the Premier League.

"Even though we have run with a higher average wage bill for players since relegation, we have made mistakes and ultimately the board has to accept responsibility."

Director of the PLC board Scott McCabe added: "We have relied too heavily on attempting short-term solutions and, if anything, indulging managers with too many quick fixes and short-term signings.

"In hindsight it is a factor that has contributed to the demise of United, the over- reliance and use of the loan market has a debilitating rather than strengthening effect on the first team.

"The McCabe family has continued to provide significant funds for managers to recruit to the team. We have been too willing to financially support this policy and are adamant that this will change."

One shining light for United this season has been the emergence of several younger players, while the youth team have also made the FA Youth Cup final.

McCabe added: "Success is now to be built on the firmest of foundations, which facilitates the long-term strengthening of all aspects of the football club.

"At the core of this re-building will be our Academy and development players, supported by our own experienced players and new signings, who will have the success of the club in their hands.

"Throwing money at the problem has not bought us success. We have to try something different."

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Dave Williams

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