Sheffield United chief sympathises with fed-up fans but pleads with them to stick by players

Call for patience: Bramall Lane chief executive Trevor Birch.
Call for patience: Bramall Lane chief executive Trevor Birch.
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TREVOR Birch, the Sheffield United chief executive, last night admitted he can understand supporters’ frustrations but reassured them that he and the board are “working tirelessly” behind the scenes to try and save the club from relegation.

Micky Adams’ side were subjected to taunts of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” during Saturday’s defeat by Derby while directors were also singled out out for criticism.

But Birch said any criticism should wait until the end of the season.

With his team now six points adrift of safety in the Championship table, Adams admitted United are “fighting for their lives” as they prepare for this weekend’s visit to Portsmouth.

Birch also refused to denounce the vitriol but rejected claims that Bramall Lane’s hierarchy are indifferent to the crowd’s grievances.

“I appreciate how they are feeling,” he told The Star. “Everyone here is hurting too. I want them to know we’re working our socks off to try and help Micky and the team, doing everything we can to give Micky as much support as possible.

“Our fans have been excellent. They watch us in numbers and they travel in great numbers away from home too. It’s hugely appreciated.”

Birch added: “The last thing I want to do is sound patronising. That’s definitely not my sentiment at all.

“The fans are going to be upset because they care passionately. They don’t want to see the club in this position and nor do we.

“But the time for recrimination is when the season draws to a close. Until we know how everything has unfolded, we’ll be doing everything to try and make sure we stay-up.”

Theo Robinson, on-loan from Millwall, revealed he told Derby to exploit terrace tension before scoring the only goal of last weekend’s game.

United have recruited seven players since Adams was appointed in December. But they have dropped to 23rd in the table.

United, who are still searching for their first win under Adams’ tutelage, will issue season-ticket renewals shortly.

Admitting the timing is not ideal, Birch said: “I understand why they’ll probably not be well-received given our current situation but we have to plan for the future.

“We can’t just stop.”