Billy Sharp has written to every member of Sheffield United’s League One title winning squad to thank them for their efforts last season.
The centre-forward, who like manager Chris Wilder is a lifelong supporter of the club, highlighted his colleagues’ character and camaraderie as driving forces behind its return to the Championship.
Wilder’s first act after taking charge 13 months ago was to name Sharp as his new captain, prompting the 31-year-old to admit: “Lads, I just want to say thank you.
“When I was given the captain’s armband it was a dream come true and a real honour to lead you all as a team/club.
“You gave everything day in day out, week in week out. We all pulled in the same direction to achieve promotion and be crowned champions.”
Sharp scored 30 goals in only 49 appearances as United finished the campaign on 100 points; 14 more than second-placed Bolton Wanderers.
Wilder described his players’ attitude as “exceptional” throughout the course of the campaign - “They never took it easy or hid, even when the going was tough. That tells you all you need to know.” - after making a conscious effort to improve the atmosphere behind the scenes and recently paid tribute to Sharp’s influence behind the scenes.
“Billy has driven everything in the dressing room, he’s made sure the standards have been kept high,” Wilder told The Star. “People haven’t slacked-off because, from the skipper down, there’s no way the rest of the lads would have allowed it. They’ve set their own standards and made sure that nobody, for whatever reason, allowed them to slip. You really can’t put a price on or under-estimate that.”
United, who ended the campaign with a 17 match unbeaten run, will discover their 2017/18 schedule when the fixture calendar is unveiled later this month.
Sharp signed-off his note by saying: “We go again next season” - added: “The team spirit we created was a big part of us doing well. The memories we have made will live with me forever.”