Sheffield United fans overjoyed and emotional as Blades secure promotion to the Premier League
There was ecstasy and emotion in equal measure for Sheffield United fans as they celebrated their team’s promotion to the Premier League.
After the team ran out comfortable winners against Ipswich Town on Saturday, supporters knew that anything less than a Leeds win on Sunday would see them going up.
Nevertheless, there were some nerves on show in the Clubhouse pub on London Road, as the Elland Road outfit took the lead before being pegged back by opponents Aston Villa.
However, after enduring an agonising seven and a half minutes of injury time, the referee finally blew his whistle and the place erupted.
Many fans immediately made their way to the Bramall Lane to mark the occasion, gathering in the South Stand car park just to take in the moment.
Thomas Hastings, aged 22, from Bradway, said: “I’m over the moon. Last time we were in the Premier League I was too young to realise how massive it was.
“It wasn’t long ago that I was going to Crewe away and seeing us lose 3-0 but now we’ll be going to places like Chelsea and that is a massive thing.”
Matthew Brailsford, aged 27, from Owlthorpe, said: “It’s been a long time coming. We have been through a lot since we came down.
“Coming to this ground when it is jam-packed is the best feeling. When Fleetwood were coming here they were only bringing 50 fans.
“What Chris Wilder has done in the last three years is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes.”
Fifth-generation Blade Mark Smith, from Great Yarmouth, had come up with 12 members of his family to take part in the celebrations.
He said: “I feel fantastic - I am toying with the idea of not going to work tomorrow!
“Next season will be a rollercoaster I am sure and there will be a few people will write us off but this team will rise to any challenge.
“I am a bit concerned about the ownership side of things so that needs to get sorted out but the next big hurdle is to overtake Norwich and go up as champions because we deserve it.”
However, as well as to celebrate, some supporters were there for very personal reasons, with more than a few making pilgrimages to see memorials to loved ones they have lost..
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Emily Bush was there with her nine-year-old son Joe and partner Paul.
They were there partly to pay their respects to their friend Andy Kelly who sadly passed away seven years ago and has a memorial plaque at the ground.
She said: “He was a massive Blade and he would have loved to see us back in the Premier League - he would have been the first one down here.
“All the blokes I work with were saying you won’t last two seasons in the Championship. Well they were right but we’ve gone up not down!”
And Sam Collins, aged 37, wanted to be at the stadium to see the memorial to his dad which was put in at the ground after he died of lung cancer.
“I have been more or less in tears - it is really emotional,” he said.
“I wish he was here. It must have been ‘87 or ‘88 when he started taking me, used to carry me through the turnstiles.
“It brings back memories of the pitch invasions when we were promoted two seasons on the trot. And to do it before the other side of the city is a lot better.”
On Saturday evening after United had beaten Ipswich 2-0 at Bramall Lane, thousands of fans had poured out onto the streets surrounding the stadium.
London Road was closed by police as supporters danced and sang in the streets, ignited flares and even climbing on bus shelters.