Sheffield United’s new manager will be backed with funds in the January transfer window - with the club’s board targeting a late tilt at the play-offs.
The claim came from James Phipps, a Bramall Lane director and principal advisor to United co-owner Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in an exclusive interview with the Sheffield Telegraph.
Phipps, and the rest of United’s board of directors, have spent the early part of this week locked in negotiations as they look to appoint their ninth manager in just under seven years, to succeed David Weir.
As the Telegraph went to press, no announcement had been made ahead of Saturday’s clash against Port Vale, but Phipps said: “Anyone worth bringing as a manager will be worth supporting.
“We will bring in a manager whose philosophy is a good fit with our sensible investment programme, and with our commitment to take the club up in good time.
“But one thing that has not changed is our determination to go up this season. This objective has necessitated a tough decision [to sack Weir], and we are not coming off that objective.”
United’s new boss will inherit a squad undoubtedly rich with potential but, as they stand bottom of League One, very poor on confidence.
“From where we are, of course, it will take a lot of fight, and our first short objective will be to get out of the relegation zone,” Phipps added.
“Then, it will be to get into contention for the play-offs.
“I think the play-offs is our most likely path to promotion. It might be a way to go from where we currently are, but it might be do-able.”
Not that Prince Abdullah - who describes himself as a “self-made” millionaire with a successful Saudi paper firm and a keen interest in English football - is one to shy away from a tough task, admits one of his closest allies.
“Prince Abdullah was present and took an active part in the discussion and decision to change the manager,” Phipps, an alumni of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, added.
“He knew it was a big decision, and required his undivided attention.
“As a matter of leadership style, Prince Abdullah is thoughtful and action-oriented. He likes to hear advice and then make a decision.
“I am a board member like any other. We do these things together and with the day-to-day help of our management team. But at the end of the day, the owners are the real decision makers in matters like these.”
A 47-year-old with a keen interest in English fantasy football, the Prince fell in love with this country’s national sport when watching a Ricky Villa-inspired Spurs side defeat Manchester City in the 1981 FA Cup final.
Life at the bottom of League One may be a world away, but Phipps insists: “The Prince and I are loving the challenge so far, and getting used to it.
“The Prince has a lot of football club leadership experience through his involvement in Al Hilal FC.
“I think there are many similarities there, but English football is an incredibly dynamic and unique arrangement.”
Under the caretaker charge of former captain Chris Morgan, United slipped to 3-2 defeat at Coventry on Sunday.
But in front of the Sky cameras, Morgan’s men produced a spirited second-half comeback after going 3-0 behind.
Asked if Morgan will be handed a key role under the new Bramall Lane regime, Phipps said: “The new manager will play a significant role in defining the roles of key staff.
“But there can be no doubt that Chris - a Blades legend and a go-to guy in tough times - is a person of well proven mettle.
“We will not be dictating what role Chris will play, but I am sure he will be afforded the respect he is due.
“He certainly has our thanks for always being there when he is needed.
“He is the very definition of what it means to be a Blade; in good times, and in bad.”
Phipps has also received a strong sense of the passion United fans hold for their club, via his Twitter account.
“On my part, that has been a quick education on what our people think, and a confirmation that we chose the right club,” Phipps added.
“I try to keep it positive on Twitter, but listen to the negative stuff, too.
“There is so much of value that our fans have to say. There is some nonsense too, of course, but they need to be heard and we need to listen to what they have to say.
“It has been a fun experience to be a part of, and I am sure folks will keep writing!”
Phipps, a resident of Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, has also been struck by the warmth of people in his “second home” of Sheffield.
“I haven’t had enough time to form a complete impression, but that has so far been the most striking thing,” he said.
“The crowd at Bramall Lane has been amazing and, in all, Sheffield is starting to feel like a second home.
“Even the restaurants have been great - although I still need to get in a greasy chip butty!”
Phipps, who revealed he has learnt the words to United’s iconic terrace anthem, added: “I have enjoyed a few nights out in Sheffield but, as I say, no chip butty yet.
“I also neither drink nor smoke, so I will have to just take in the metaphorical wonders of Magnet and Woodbines.
“But I have experienced being thrilled by Sheffield United, and I am sure that I will be thrilled again before long.”
Lyle Taylor is pushing for a recall to face former United manager Micky Adams’ Port Vale, after scoring his first two goals for the South Yorkshire club after being introduced as a substitute against Coventry.
Adams’ first-team coach is Rob Page, a former United captain who was close to taking over at Bramall Lane before Weir was appointed.