To help overcome the downturn, United have sold their share in Chengdu Blades for £2 million and also disposed of their interests in the Copthorne Hotel at Bramall Lane and the property company Blades Realty. Both are sold to Kevin McCabe’s group of companies. United also obtain a loan of £15 million from Santander Bank, using the Carlos Tevez money as security.
Kevin McCabe says that all external loans will be cleared by 2013. He also says he will stand down as Football Club chairman at the December AGM (vice chairman Chris Steer will take over) but he will remain as chairman of the PLC.
Thursday 25th November - United sign 20-year-old central defender Danny Batth on a month’s loan from Wolves.
Saturday 27th November - United’s three-match unbeaten run comes to a halt at Bristol City, where they concede two first-half penalties, both converted by Brett Pitman. At the end of the half Richard Cresswell is sent off for a challenge on Marvin Elliott, leaving Gary Speed with only one striker available for the next two games.
Midway through the second half Jamie McAllister’s free kick from the right wing sails straight in. Five minutes from time a long-range effort from Ched Evans catches out David James but the ball hits the face of the bar.
Team: Simonsen; Lowton, Bartley, Nosworthy, Jordan (Taylor); Cresswell, Montgomery, Britton, Reid (Calvé), Quinn (Ertl); Evans. Unused subs. Wright, Kozluk, Batth, Slew.
Thursday 2nd December - Saturday’s game against Reading is called off due to the deep snow lying all around the ground.
Saturday 11th December - United again fail to score and fall to another away defeat, 1-0 at Barnsley.
Richard Wright makes his debut but lasts less than an hour before injury forces him off. United play reasonably well in the first half with Mark Yeates prominent but a defensive lapse hands Barnsley the lead. United fail to deal with a simple throw-in and cross and Hugo Colace converts from six yards.
A spectacular shot from Yeates clips the top of the bar but apart from that United produce nothing. Replacement keeper Steve Simonsen makes two good saves to prevent Barnsley extending their lead.
Team: Wright (Simonsen); Calvé (Ward), Bartley, Nosworthy, Taylor; Ertl (Lowton), Montgomery, Britton; Reid, Evans, Yeates. Unused subs. Kozluk, Batth, Quinn, Slew.
Tuesday 14th December - Gary Speed accepts an offer from the Football Association of Wales to become their national team manager. United appoint his former head coach John Carver as caretaker manager. Injured captain Chris Morgan will also be given some coaching duties.
Saturday 18th December - John Carver’s first game in charge brings a much-needed 1-0 over promotion challengers Swansea City. With only one striker available Carver has little choice but to use a formation to stifle Swansea’s renowned passing style.
Stephen Quinn has a goal disallowed for offside after ten minutes but there is little good football on offer until a few minutes before half time Andy Reid produces the best pass of the game to set up a goal for Ched Evans. Jean Calvé breaks up a Swansea attack and gives the ball to Reid, who from twenty yards inside his own half drops a curling pass perfectly into Evans’ stride. Evans keeps his composure to advance into the area and slide the ball past Dorus Devries.
Swansea’s only telling efforts come when Scott Sinclair cuts in from the left but each time Steve Simonsen saves with comfort. Late on Evans creates space for another shot after a 70-yard run down the left by Quinn but Devries blocks for a corner. United repel a series of late corners and hang on for the win.
Team: Simonsen; Calvé, Bartley, Nosworthy, Taylor; Montgomery, Britton, Quinn; Reid (Ward), Evans (Batth), Yeates. Unused subs. Aksalu, Kozluk, Lowton, Ertl, Williamson.
At the morning’s AGM Kevin McCabe officially stands down as football club chairman to be replaced by Chris Steer. It is also announced that directors Michael Farnon and Simon Argall have left their positions.
Sunday 26th December - After coming back from two down to pull level United are hit by an injury-time sucker punch to go down 3-2 at home to Hull City. There’s a terrible start as Cameron Stewart outpaces Nyron Nosworthy and cuts the ball back for Jay Simpson to score after only two minutes.
Then Simpson gets behind Nosworthy, who trips him and even though the foul is just outside the area a penalty is given, which Simpson converts.
United are a different side in the second half, pinning Hull back and Ched Evans makes it 2-1 with a firm header from Andy Reid’s cross. Evans then takes advantage of a poor defensive header to beat keeper Vito Mannone to the loose ball and put it in from a tight angle.
United push for the winner and force several corners but from one of them, in the 93rd minute, Mannone catches the ball and sends the speedy Stewart away with a fine throw. Stewart skates past Nick Montgomery, his shot is saved by Steve Simonsen but Jimmy Bullard is there to net the rebound.
Team: Simonsen; Calvé, Bartley, Nosworthy, Taylor (Lowton), Montgomery, Britton, Quinn (Ward); Reid, Evans, Yeates. Unused subs. Wright, Batth, Ertl, Williamson, Bogdanovic.
Tuesday 28th November - John Carver complains of six major decisions going against United as they are beaten 4-2 at Norwich City after leading 2-1 at half time.
Andy Reid gives the Blades the lead with a perfectly placed 22-yard free kick but City level immediately with Michael Nelson’s free header from a free kick. Ten minutes later a well-worked goal put United ahead again. Mark Yeates dummies Stephen Quinn’s pass and Richard Cresswell collects, turns and finds the corner.
Just before half time Ched Evans is pulled back in the area but no penalty is given by referee Phil Crossley, who angers United even more in the second half by awarding Norwich two soft penalties, both converted by Wes Hoolahan. First, there appears to be no contact as Grant Holt falls in close proximity to Nick Montgomery, then handball is given against Kyle Bartley when the ball strikes him from point-blank range.
In the other penalty area, two similar handball incidents by Norwich defenders go unpunished. In injury time Quinn is sent off for kicking out at Holt after the Norwich striker barges into him, then as United push forward in search of an equaliser Holt sets up Hoolahan on the break for an easy hat-trick, completed in the seventh minute of the four minutes of injury time indicated.
Team: Simonsen; Calvé (Bogdanovic), Bartley, Nosworthy, Lowton; Yeates, Montgomery, Quinn, Cresswell; Reid, Evans. Unused subs. Wright, Kozluk, Batth, Ertl, Williamson, Ward.
Wednesday 29th December - Wolves recall Danny Batth, leaving United short of defenders for Saturday’s visit to Burnley, with Andy Taylor injured and Kyle Bartley suspended. Stephen Quinn and Nick Montgomery are also suspended.
Thursday 30th December - United announce the appointment of Sheffield-born Blades fan Micky Adams as the club’s new manager. Adams has led Port Vale to the top of League Two this season and has won promotions with Fulham, Brighton and Leicester City. Former Blade Alan Cork will be his assistant, so John Carver and Sam Ellis will leave the club.
United receive two FA charges of ‘failing to control their players’, relating to incidents in the Hull and Norwich games. In addition, Andy Reid gets a personal charge of violent conduct at Norwich, to which he pleads guilty and is given a three-match ban, meaning that his current loan spell is over.
Saturday 1st January - Micky Adams’s first game in charge brings a second consecutive 4-2 away defeat in which United take the lead. The goal comes after 11 minutes as Matthew Lowton and Lee Williamson combine to set up Jamie Ward for a shot, which Lee Grant turns away but only to Mark Yeates, who slots the ball into the corner.
But after holding Burnley off quite comfortably United concede three quick goals to go in to the break 3-1 down. Chris Eagles catches out Richard Wright with a 30-yard snap-shot, then Chris Iwelumo is totally free to head in a free kick. Within two minutes Jay Rodriguez is unmarked to get the third.
In the second half United quickly get one back when Ched Evans turns well in the box and is tripped, and scores the penalty himself. Grant saves well from Leon Britton but United can’t keep their efforts going and Burnley add a fourth through Steven Thompson with five minutes left.
An injury to Nyron Nosworthy gives Argentinian defender Elian Parrino his debut.
Team: Wright (Simonsen); Calvé, Ertl, Nosworthy (Parrino), Lowton; Yeates, Williamson (Bogdanovic), Britton, Cresswell; Ward, Evans. Unused subs. Kozluk, Harriott, James, Slew.
Monday 3rd January - The paucity of Micky Adams’s squad for the home meeting with Doncaster Rovers is highlighted by his having to name two injured players, three 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old on the bench, and three players in his starting line-up who have hardly played all season - two of them out of position.
Nick Montgomery and Kyle Bartley return from suspension but there are new injuries to Richard Wright, Nyron Nosworthy, Matt Lowton, Leon Britton and Jean Calvé.
Doncaster have the better of the first half but only come close to scoring when Steve Simonsen has to save sharply from a deflection off Bartley’s head. After half time Ched Evans has two good chances, the first a low shot saved by Neil Sullivan. Then he chooses to head when he might have waited for the ball to drop and tried a shot.
Doncaster go down to ten men when Dennis Souza, already booked, clatters into Evans and gets a second yellow but they quickly take the lead when United allow James Coppinger and then Billy Sharp too much time and space in the box. Soon afterwards they double their lead when they get a penalty for Rob Kozluk’s push on Coppinger, and Sharp gets his second.
United seem out of it, especially when Richard Cresswell suffers a shoulder injury, but they rally and Daniel Bogdanovic pulls one back with four minutes left when Bartley and Evans both win headers from Kozluk’s cross. Then it’s the stand-in left back who’s the unlikely point saver in the sixth minute of injury time.
Again Bartley, now playing in attack, gets his head on the ball, which drops for Kozluk to smash home. Youngster Matty Harriott makes his debut as a late sub.
Team: Simonsen; Parrino, Bartley, Ertl, Kozluk; Yeates, Williamson (Harriott), Montgomery, Cresswell (Bogdanovic); Ward (Britton), Evans. Unused subs. Long, Calvé, James, Slew.
Tuesday 4th January - Andy Taylor will miss the rest of the season due to the knee injury he suffered against Hull City. Nyron Nosworthy will be out for an unspecified time due to the ankle injury he suffered against Burnley.
Thursday 6th January - United sign two young Irish players - midfielder David McAllister from St Patrick’s Athletic and defender Seamus Conneely from Galway United.
Friday 7th January - Richard Creswell will be out for six weeks due to the dislocated shoulder he suffered against Doncaster Rovers. United are found guilty on both counts of failing to control their players against Hull and at Norwich. They are fined £5,000 and £15,000 (£7,000 suspended).
Saturday 8th January - United suffer another injury blow (Mark Yeates’s shoulder) before the FA Cup tie at home to Aston Villa, leaving Micky Adams with just 12 fit first-team players. There are five unproven youngsters on the short-handed bench, one of them new man David McAllister.
And it’s a former United youngster who gives Villa a third-minute lead. Kyle Walker, in his first game on loan for Villa, gets his first career goal at the end of a run that takes him from the half-way line to inside the penalty area. Walker does not celebrate his goal.
Jamie Ward has a good chance saved point-blank by Brad Friedel before Villa go two up through Mark Allbrighton after a good cross by Ashley Young. United set off fast in the second half and win a penalty when Lee Williamson is tripped by Carlos Cuellar. Jamie Ward becomes the second player to score against the club where he started his career.
United go all out for the equaliser as Daniel Bogdanovic and Leon Britton both go close from distance and Johnny Ertl sees his overhead kick tipped away for a corner. On a rare Villa break Steve Simonsen denies Stilian Petrov in a one-on-one then as United push men forward Petrov gets a late third after a good move started by another surging run from Walker, who salutes the United kop at the end of the match.
David McAllister makes his debut as sub.
Team: Simonsen; Parrino (Slew), Bartley, Ertl, Kozluk; , Britton, Montgomery, Williamson (McAllister); Bogdanovic, Evans, Ward. Unused subs. Long, Calvé, James, Harriott.
Monday 10th January - United sign 19-year-old midfielder Danny Philliskirk on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season. He is the son of former United striker Tony.
Thursday 13th January - United sign two defenders on loan for the rest of the season: left back Joe Mattock from West Brom and central defender Shane Lowry from Aston Villa.
Friday 14th January - 18-year-old Australian left back Marc Warren becomes the first player to be signed from one of United’s ‘sister clubs’, joining on a two-year contract from Central Coast Mariners.
Saturday 15th January - United need Steve Simonsen on top form to come away from Coventry with a 0-0 draw. He makes several fine saves and has a bit of luck to keep a rare clean sheet as Coventry dominate. Stephen Quinn has a chance to win it late on but is denied by Keiren Westwood.
Joe Mattock and Shane Lowry make their debuts in defence. The oldest player in the back four is 22.
Team: Simonsen; Parrino, Bartley, Lowry, Mattock; Ertl (Cresswell), Williamson (Britton), Montgomery, Quinn; Evans, Ward (Bogdanovic). Unused subs. Long, Kozluk, Lowton, Yeates.
Monday 17th January - United sign former Blade Marcus Bent on loan from Birmingham City for the rest of the season. Bent scored 20 goals in 48 games for United in the 1999/2000 and 2000/01 seasons.
Thursday 20th January - Leon Britton returns to Swansea City on a free transfer but with some money due to United if Swansea go up. Micky Adams says he has “not settled” because his girlfriend still lives in Swansea.
Saturday 22nd January - United are unlucky to go down 2-1 at home to Norwich, who score two identical goals that might have been disallowed. Ched Evans has the best effort in the first half, his low shot saved by the feet of Darren Ruddy.
Norwich go in front from a corner, given despite a trip on Kyle Bartley by Grant Holt, then United claim Steve Simonsen is impeded as Andrew Crofts blasts in. Evans, in his best performance for United turns well and finds the far corner for the equaliser but another Crofts goal from a corner is allowed, despite a barge on Evans in the six-yard box.
Team: Simonsen; Parrino, Bartley, Lowry, Mattock; Ward, Montgomery, Quinn (Kozluk), Cresswell (Bogdanovic); Evans, Bent (Yeates). Unused subs. Long, Lowton, Ertl, Williamson.
Tuesday 25th January - United sign 29-year-old midfielder Michael Doyle on a free transfer from Coventry City. He signs a two-and-a-half-year contract.
Wednesday 26th January - United’s juniors advance to the sixth round of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-1 extra-time win over Blackpool. After Connor Martin equalises Jordan Slew scores twice in extra time.