Sheffield United builds multiple links with China

Eight days after returning from their three-match tour of the Peoples Republic of China, English League Championship club, Sheffield United, are still reaping the benefits of their Far East promotion. Shefield Today reports that Chinese state television is scheduled to broadcast the second part of a documentary profiling Neil Warnock and his squad later this week, and officials from Bramall Lane report the goodwill generated during their stay has gone a long way towards securing "lucrative Far East investment".

Today's edition of Soccer Investor Daily Bulletin, reveals that Blades Plc chairman Kevin McCabe met influential businessmen after United's touring victory over Zhejiang Green Town:

One of those men was Danny Wong, who is described as real estate magnate Xiu Lin Liu's 'man on the ground'. "Sheffield United are forward thinking, like ourselves," said Mr Wong. "We want to become involved in that. Together, with a little more help and work, we can make United very, very big in China. People here are already very interested." Wong represented the tycoon at the opening match of United's tour and confirmed his boss is considering an involvement with the club. McCabe has been negotiating with Xiu in recent months after another potential target decided to concentrate on sponsoring United's new youth project at Crookes. But Wong now insists that Xiu wants to establish a 'long term partnership' rather than provide a one-off sponsorship agreement and will discuss the matter further when he meets members of United's Board next week.
Outside of the Premier League, the Blades appear to be leading the way in terms of attracting sponsorship from Chinese industry, a trend which began three years ago courtesy of a shirts sponsorship deal involving soft drinks company Desun.

Not only does the club now boast their own Chinese Academy on the island of Hai'nan, but a number of Chinese clubs are reportedly willing to pay for their younger players to be educated at the Blades' academy in Sheffield.

The Yorkshire Post previously revealed that Chinese "millionaire Liu Xue Lin" was expected to buy a six percent stake in the club for £2 million "in the next few months", while Deqing Zhang, the owner of Chinese profesional club Gansu Pegasus, had reportedly agreed to sponsor the club's new junior academy at Crookes.

"We are not Manchester United, but we are doing groundwork which is gradually raising the profile of Sheffield United in China," football executive Terry Robinson said.

"We have one eye on the fact that 'when' promotion to the Premiership comes, we will find it far easier to generate interest," he said.