New Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah said he would do business with the Bin Laden family, adding that it was “not a disgraced name”.
The Saudi took over the club after former co-owner Kevin McCabe was forced to sell his 50% share because of a high-court ruling.
McCabe, a lifelong Blades fan, has questioned Prince Abdullah’s “suitability” to run the club.
But the new owner said he was “more than qualified”.
Prince Abdullah, whose full name is Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, said he would not sell the Premier League team, was “100% committed to the club” and backed manager Chris Wilder.
“Money is a big factor but if it was about money, I would sell the club right now,” Prince Abdullah, a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, said.
“My main focus is to bring in sponsors from Saudi right now.”
The Bin Laden family, one of the most influential families in Saudi Arabia boasting a vast wealth gained in the construction industry, had previously shown interest in buying shares, he said.
“I get offended when the Bin Laden family is a bad name. Every family may have one bad person but they are a very respectable family.
“I have not done business with them in the past but I will be very happy to do business with them. The Bin Laden family is not a disgraced name or something that I should hide.
“They were going to buy Kevin McCabe shares. They did due diligence but decided not to buy. I don’t see it is as a big deal. When I see the Bin Laden family as a dirty name I get really offended.”
Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by US special forces in 2011, approved the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed. His son, Hamza, was reportedly killed in an airstrike in August 2019, having previously made recordings calling for attacks on the United States and other countries.
In the press conference, Prince Abdullah also said that he would support Wilder, who has taken the club from League One to the Premier League in the space of three seasons, to run the football side of the club.
Despite the ongoing court battle between the two owners, the club broke their transfer record four times in the summer after sealing their top-flight status last season.
“We are blessed to have him [Wilder],” said Prince Abdullah. “The results and the way we play speaks for itself. Chris is the face of this great club and the crowd like to sing he is one of us, I have good harmony with Chris.”
Wilder said he was “100% positive about the future” and had been in regular contact with Prince Abdullah since he joined the club in 2016, three years after the new owner.
“The ideal scenario for any manager is for them to be left to get on with job to the best of their abilities while respecting the owners,” he said.
“From my point of view, there’s only been a couple of times I’ve expressed my frustrations towards Prince Abdullah and Kevin. In the majority of times they’ve allowed me to get on with my job.
“If there were problems, from board to manager and manager to board, we could not have achieved what we have. I will always talk honestly about the running of the club, but the success we have had in three years is testament to the support I have been given by both owners.”
Wilder also said he was open to the support of Belgian technical director Jan van Winckel.
“He has been a member of board for a long time. I am a hands on manager and anything done to improve club, I am open to. But my style is I have the big decisions to make. I am sure Prince Abdullah will let me get on with my job. I’m full of confidence it will work with Jan.”
Prince Abdullah also announced that his 26-year-old son-in-law Prince Musaad would be the club’s new chairman.
Source: BBC Sports