Sheffield United’s decision to freeze season ticket prices, before knowing which division they are competing in next term, is designed to recognise the “phenomenal” backing Chris Wilder’s team has enjoyed over the past eight months, director Scott McCabe explained earlier today.
United unveiled the scheme, entitled ‘Forged in Steel’, ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Oldham Athletic which could see them move nine points clear at the top of League One.
It means adult fans - nearly 4,500 are set to travel to Boundary Park - could find themselves watching Championship football for less than £13 after Bramall Lane’s hierarchy announced a 10 per cent cut on the eve of the present campaign.
“The support the team has enjoyed, at home and away, has been phenomenal,” McCabe told The Star. “And not just this year either. It was the same last year too.
“We’ve consistently had the best crowds in the division and, when you look at the Championship figures, better than many teams in that competition too. It’s something that doesn’t go unnoticed and is certainly appreciated. Hopefully this is a way of rewarding and acknowledging that loyalty.”
United appointed Wilder, a former player and lifelong supporter of the club, in May after finishing 11th under his predecessor Nigel Adkins. They have won 23 games since and moved 10 points ahead of third-placed Fleetwood Town after beating Charlton Athletic last weekend.
Citing rebuilding the relationship between the terraces and first-team as one of Wilder’s greatest achievements so far, McCabe said: “What has happened on the pitch is the most obvious thing but that, bringing it together, has been hugely important too. Chris has been a key component in that. He can relate to the fans because he is one himself and, given his association with the club, going back way before he became manager, he understands their concerns. He’s happy to communicate with them and, importantly, he does it well.”
“You can see the link at the end of games when, at home the roar goes up from The Kop, and also away from home,” McCabe added. “That’s vital and it’s great to see.”
Although the initiative is limited to existing holders, returning supporters, who have previously held season tickets prior to 2016/17, and first time buyers can enrol from £315 and £328.50 respectively before the offer is withdrawn when United’s divisional status is confirmed. Concessions for over-60’s, young adults, students and under-18’s are available. Adults purchasing online can take advantage of a £5 discount and a direct debit facility, which allows them to spread the cost of a season ticket over a period of up to nine months, has been retained.
McCabe, whose father Kevin co-owns United with HRH Abdullah bin Musa’ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, “We acknowledge and appreciate that it’s difficult for people to spend a significant sum of money coming to watch football. So we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible and affordable.
“Kevin has always been of the idea that it’s better to get, say, 20,000 people into the ground that 15,000. Because of his background, he’s always thought it’s right to try and fill the ground and try to price accordingly. The Prince is of exactly the same mind. He supports that and is completely on board with it.”