After 23 matches, 4,992 miles and many memorable moments, Sheffield United played the final away game of their title winning season at MK Dons two days ago.
With over 7,000 supporters making the journey from South Yorkshire, Chris Wilder used the occasion to thank them for their backing over the past eight months; insisting it had a tangible effect upon his team’s performances.
“I’ve got to say, a lot of those away games have found like home games with the amount of fans we’ve had in the grounds,” the United manager said. “It’s a huge motivation. It’s an inspiration. When you get off the coach and see all our supporters, when the lads come out for the warm-up, they clock all of that.
“We’ve had some special away days like Peterborough, Chesterfield and Port Vale. The long journeys have been great too. Taking 4,500 to Charlton was brilliant and obviously even more than that here too. They have been magical experiences for both me and my players.”
Over 13,000 people have watched United’s last three away fixtures, including the promotion winning victory at Northampton Town and win over Port Vale which effectively sealed the championship. That figure is more than the average home attendance of 49 league clubs; a fact which, Wilder insisted, has not been lost on his squad.
United have won 13 of their contests away from Bramall Lane and the 49-year-old said: “We talked about the home record being rock solid. It’s the best in the division
“You have to show different qualities away from home because teams come on to you a little bit more.
“We have stuck our bodies on the line and we think we are capable of catching the opposition out with the players we’ve got. The away record, with the points and the goals, has been superb.”
“We’ve sold out the majority in a heartbeat,” Wilder added. “Now, with all due respect, we are going to bigger and better clubs.
“I hope the supporters have enjoyed watching us on the road but I’m sure there won’t be any regrets about us leaving this division after six years. And I mean that with no disrespect to the teams in it, because there are plenty of very good ones.
“We’ve pieced together a team that has been good; individually and collectively and consistently too.”