We are going up! Sheffield United seal return to the Premier League after three-year absence as they breeze past West Brom 2-0 thanks to goals from Sander Berge and Anel Ahmedhodzic
- Sheffield United have won promotion back to the Premier League
- The Blades beat West Brom 2-0 at Bramall Lane on Wednesday evening
- Victory ensures United clinch runners-up spot in the Championship
Moments after the final whistle confirmed Sheffield United’s promotion to the Premier League, the soundtrack which has accompanied their resurgence under Paul Heckingbottom boomed out over the PA system.
It was the Status Quo classic ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’, with the lyrics having been adapted by fans in tribute to United boss Heckingbottom and his trusted lieutenant Stuart McCall, the popular ex-Blades player.
“We’re Sheffield and we’re United on a roll, here we gooooo… Hecky and Stuart McCall!” chorused the jubilant United fans in a near-capacity crowd.
Heckingbottom hugged his players, his staff and roared his delight after goals from second-half goals from Sander Berge and Anel Ahmedhodzic clinched victory and a money-spinning promotion with three games of the season to spare.
Play-off chasing West Brom reduced their hosts to 45 minutes of frustration and futility during the first half but in the end the Blades’ class told.
Sheffield United have been promoted back to the Premier League after beating West Brom on Wednesday
United players celebrated their promotion success emphatically at full-time at Bramall Lane
Defeat has made West Brom’s job of qualifying for the Championship’s play-off places even harder
Norway midfielder Berge grabbed his seventh of the season to put United ahead in the 58th minute and Bosnia defender Ahmedhodzic struck a killer second with 14 minutes remaining.
United can now start preparing for a return to the top flight after a two-year absence – and 12 months after they failed to beat Nottingham Forest in the Championship play-off semi-final.
Promotion represents a personal triumph for Heckingbottom, who has shown outstanding leadership qualities and managerial acumen to guide his men back to the promised land despite endless off-field problems including a transfer embargo and ownership saga.
United fans belted out their ‘Greasy Chip Butty’ anthem with remarkable gusto before kick-off.
Despite the huge crowd and sense of occasion, there was precious little inspiration from Heckingbottom’s players during the first half.
The Blades lacked the guile and creativity required to unlock a dogged Albion defence, despite the efforts of on-loan Manchester City midfielder Tommy Doyle in the middle of the park.
Albion, in a reminder of their looming threat, then carved out a decent chance when Jed Wallace crossed from the right flank to Taylor Gardner-Hickman, who fired straight at Wes Foderingham.
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom celebrated his side’s achievement
United striker Oli McBurnie will be given another chance to prove his talents in the Premier League
But United finally led when Taylor Gardner-Hickman’s backpass went straight to Iliman Ndiaye, who evaded Semi Ajayi and found the onrushing Berge, who tapped home from six yards.
United were denied a penalty moments later when Oli McBurnie went down under Darnell Furlong’s challenge but with 14 minutes remaining promotion was secured.
George Baldock hit a volley after Albion failed to clear a corner and Ahmedhodzic was on hand to divert the ball into the net, sparking more wild celebrations.
It has been a season of such emotion in the red and white half of Sheffield.