Sheffield United: Record numbers signed up for season tickets even before promotion to Premier League
Sheffield United expect to benefit from the backing of sold-out crowds in nearly all of their home games next term after record numbers of supporters signed up for season tickets even before Chris Wilder's side secured promotion.
Although the club have yet to publish any official figures, a source close to Bramall Lane have told The Star that "well over" 20,000 fans have now purchased passes for the new Premier League campaign, which begins in August.
While their loyalty has inevitably impressed United's bean counters, Wilder is confident the effects will be felt on the pitch too, saying: "That relationship (between players and supporters) is probably the thing that makes us the most proud. Well, it does me anyway.
"You can't put a price on it and, honestly, when they get behind you, if it's because you're doing well or because you need helping through a difficult period in a game, honestly, people don't know what a difference it makes."
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Wilder, a former United player and lifelong follower of the club himself, has admitted he made a conscious decision to try and improve the atmosphere inside their stadium after taking charge in 2016. Success on the pitch has helped, with United climbing from League One to the top-flight in only three years. But their attacking style of play - which contrasts sharply with the more conservative approach employed by some of his most recent predecessors - has helped too.
"It needed to change, and that's not a criticism of anyone," he said. "There's different ways to go about football and trying to win games. But because I'd been coming here as a fan anyway, I knew people wanted to see something a little bit different and I think that suits us. It brings out the best in the players we've got.