After pledging to strengthen the relationship between the club’s first team squad and its supporters, Heckingbottom cited the atmosphere inside United’s stadium as one of the reasons behind their climb from 16th to fifth in the table.
And, speaking as officials reported “strong” season ticket sales ahead of the new campaign, the 44-year-old confirmed he will place fans at the heart of his strategy to deliver promotion following United’s defeat in the play-off semi-finals.
“I want even more of an atmosphere,” Heckingbottom said. “I want it to feel so intense and enjoyable that it drags a performance out of the players. The more we get in there, the better. That’s the way they can help.”
Despite being relegated from the Premier League 13 months ago, United’s average gate was the highest in the division during the previous campaign. More than 30,000 people watched the first leg of their encounter against Nottingham Forest in South Yorkshire, before United were defeated on penalties at the City Ground.
Speaking during an interview designed to promote the season ticket drive, Heckingbottom told his employers’ in-house media team: “Believe me, when you’re on the pitch or stood on the sidelines and you get that support, it’s what you play for.”
“We’ve seen some really big performances and results there,” he added. “We want the same. I hope they’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.”