New chief to make sure Blades play by rules

Blades: Sheffield United news, reports and more with The Star.
Blades: Sheffield United news, reports and more with The Star.

CRAIG Burns, Sheffield United’s new financial director, has admitted there are “challenging” times ahead after agreeing to replace the outgoing David Harrop.

Burns, aged 35, was promoted after Harrop revealed accepted a position with Leeds-based property firm Moorgarth.

He becomes the latest high-profile departure behind the scenes in recent months following the exits of former chief executive Trevor Birch and commercial chief Steve Lewis.

Rotherham’s Steve Coakley is set to fill the vacancy created by Lewis’ exit.

One of Burns’ most important tasks will be ensuring United comply with new rules governing expenditure in football which are set to be implemented shortly.

“Sheffield United is a very special football club,” Burns, who has worked at Bramall Lane since 2009, said. “The role of financial director in these austere times is challenging to say the least but I feel able to continue the good work already begun at the club by David.”

Burns added: “The key to our success will be to work in a sustainable way with the business generating enough money to exist within its means.

“I will be working with (chief executive) Julian Winter and the other senior executives to ensure that this is the case.

“Not least because this will put us in the right position ahead of the new football rules on governance.”

The Star understands that one of Burns’ key tasks will be helping United fulfil a pledge made at the Football League’s summer conference that they would work towards meeting UEFA’s Financial Fair Play framework.

The South Yorkshire club, together with the rest of its League One rivals, are also set to adopt the Salary Cost Management Protocol which pegs spending on player wages to a proportion of turnover.

Harrop, who worked for Scarborough Group International before joining United in September last year, will officially leave his position after this month’s fixture with MK Dons.

According to Moorgarth’s website, their portfolio predominately comprises of retail properties although they also have significant concerns in the motor trade and industrial sectors.

Winter, who succeeded Birch recently, said: “Craig has worked closely with David recently.

“We feel he is perfectly placed to follow seamlessly,

“He understands the organisation well and has proven to be a dedicated senior member of staff at the club.