Why Paul Heckingbottom can't wait to welcome Sheffield United fans back to Bramall Lane after season ticket renewals go on sale
Paul Heckingbottom admits that everyone at Sheffield United cannot wait to play in front of supporters again after hailing the return of fans to grounds as an important milestone in the country’s fight against coronavirus.
United fans have not seen their side play live since last March, when their side were on the brink of qualifying for Europe. Since Project Restart, their form has declined dramatically and they were forced to watch on television as their relegation back to the Championship was confirmed last month.
United are planning to welcome back 10,000 Blades fans for their final game of this current season, subject to the go-ahead from the government and its latest step in the Covid-19 roadmap, and today began allowing fans to renew their season tickets for next season.
And Heckingbottom, the interim United boss, admitted: “Everyone at the club wants the fans back in the ground and we cannot wait.
“It’s not the same standing on the side-line with no fans, you could be anywhere. We need fans and full stadiums and everyone can’t wait for that. We’re hopefully on the road to recovery. My life’s football but it’s probably a big indicator to us that we’re on the way to some kind of normality.”
Last month, 8,000 fans were allowed into the League Cup final between Manchester City and Spurs while Sheffield welcomed a packed crowd for the World Snooker Championship final over the Bank Holiday weekend.
“It wasn’t the best cup final but I enjoyed seeing fans celebrate and singing with their arms in the air,” Heckingbottom added. “It’s what it’s about.
“It looked a bit different with facemasks but it’s what it’s all about. It’s a real shame to see players celebrate with no fans and the sooner we can get them back to share those special moments, the better.
“I’m excited for it and I think the players are.
“At the minute we know the fans are out there and still support us, reaching out in different ways.
“But it’s not the same as on a Saturday afternoon and I think this is going to be a little reminder as to what the game is about and how it should be.”