Sheffield United have won the League One title after Bolton Wanderers lost 1-0 at Oldham Athletic this afternoon.
The result means Chris Wilder’s side, who dispatched Port Vale 3-0 yesterday, boast an unassailable 12-point lead over their rivals from Greater Manchester with only three matches of the season remaining.
United’s players gathered at the club’s Steelphalt Academy training complex to celebrate after beginning their preparations for Monday’s game against Bradford City.
Wilder, the United manager, said: “It’s a great feeling and these lads deserve it, they deserve everything that comes their way. They’ve driven themselves on throughout the season, they’ve shown togetherness and desire. But, most of all, they’ve worked hard and played some excellent football. It’s just reward for them and also our fans because they backing they’ve given us is something else.”
Wilder’s squad become the first United side to finish first in a division since 1982. The highest scoring team in English football this term, United also become only the fourth club to win all four leagues; a feat only previously achieved by Wolverhampton Wanderers, Preston North End and Burnley.
“It’s something the lads should be rightly proud of and, like I say, the supporters have been a massive part in this too,” Wilder continued. “They’ve got right behind us throughout and you can’t put a price on the backing they’ve given us.
“I think, with how the boys have gone about their business and approached their work, it would have been an injustice of they hadn’t won the title. The way they are, they’ll still want to keep driving it on and pushing themselves. We still want to finish the season on a high.”
Although Wilder yesterday admitted he “might have made a mistake” by declaring United want to reach the 100 point landmark - “I probably shouldn’t have said that. If we don’t, nothing should overshadow what the team has done but, sometimes, you get carried away in the heat of the moment” - he insisted: “We’ll be giving everything against Bradford, no matter what happens. We’ve got an obligation to ourselves, the supporters and the other teams in the division to do that.”
Former City centre-forward James Hanson, who missed the visit ti Vale Park as a precautionary measure, is set to be available for selection against Stuart McCall’s side.
“James trained all week but then, just towards the end, his calf felt tight,” Wilder said. “There was nothing to be gained from taking a risk so we left him out. But he’ll be okay for Bradford."