Sheffield United fans could be back in Bramall Lane THIS SEASON under PM's plans - but not for long

Sheffield United fans may be able to say a probable last goodbye to the Premier League after the prime minister revealed plans to allow supporters back into grounds for the final match of the current season.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 4:05 pm
United have played behind closed doors since March last year. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson's roadmap to release British sport from lockdown, which was revealed in the House of Commons today, included a plan to allow up to 10,000 fans back into stadia from May 17, six days before United's final game of the season at home to Burnley on May 23.

The target is either 10,000 fans or 25 per cent of capacity, whichever is smaller. Bramall Lane holds approximately 32,000, so 8,000 supporters may get the chance to see their side in action in the flesh for the first time since last March, when United were riding the crest of a wave and continued their unlikely push for Europe with a 1-0 victory at home to Norwich.

Then the coronavirus pandemic caused the shutdown of the entire professional football calendar in this country, and the Premier League only resumed in mid-June on the condition that games would be played behind closed doors.

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Robbed of their fans and the inspiration that they can bring, United have struggled to replicate their feats of last season and are staring relegation in the face, after falling 14 points from safety with 13 league games remaining.

A series of pilot events may be run, including the FA Cup final on May 15, and it’s understood that the percentage of fans allowed in grounds can be increased if Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to fall.

Earlier this season, some of United’s Premier League rivals were allowed to let in up to 2,000 fans if they were in certain tiers – a luxury that United, in tier three, were not afforded.

“I have talked long and hard about the effect our supporters have had over the team over the past four years,” Wilder said then.

"How together the football club has been, and how the players thrive and embrace the pressure that our punters give our team.”

Johnson’s plan gives fresh hope that United fans will be allowed back into Bramall Lane for the new season – whichever division their side find themselves in.