Sheffield United 2016/17 season review

So what happened?

Sheffield United have won Sky Bet League One to secure promotion to the Sky Bet Championship after six years in the third tier of English football. The Blades won 30 games and got over 100 points, comfortably finishing ahead of second placed Bolton.

What changed?

After six years of failure, the biggest change to the Blades was the appointment of Chris Wilder as manager, who replaced Nigel Adkins before the start of the season. The Sheffield United fan has guided the Blades to promotion at his first attempt, something that Micky Adams, David Weir, Danny Wilson, Chris Morgan and Adkins could not manage.

Wilder has revitalised the team into an attacking force and he secures his second straight promotion after guiding Northampton to the League Two title last season.

The other big difference to the side has been the form of striker Billy Sharp. He has scored 30 goals in League One to fire the side to the title.

Summer signings Mark Duffy, John Fleck, Jack O’Connell, Jake Wright, Leon Clarke, Simon Moore alongside January signings John Hanson and Samir Carruthers added real experience and depth to the squad in a tough league.

How did they do it?

The Blades started the season poorly, losing the first game of the season 1-0 to Bolton, before losing to Crewe, drawing to Rochdale and further defeats to Southend and Millwall. The Blades did not record their first victory of the season until the sixth game of the season, when they beat Oxford 2-1.

In September, the Blades went on a tear, winning four games and drawing one to remain the month unbeaten.

United continued their good form, losing only three times between October and December. They began to score frequently, recording 4-0, 4-1 and victories over Port Vale, Chesterfield and Swindon respectively.

The biggest hiccup in United’s quest for the title occurred in January where they lost 4-1 to Walsall, 2-0 to Fleetwood, and drew 2-2 at Gillingham.

The loss to Fleetwood was the Blades last, they finished the season strongly with a 17 match unbeaten run to secure promotion and the League One title with the 2-1 victory over Northampton on April 8th sending the Blades up.

So what happens next year?

The Blades return to the second tier of English football for the first time in six years. Clearly staying up is the priority. The squad will need to be significantly strengthened to avoid relegation and the Blades have already started on summer transfers with former striker Ched Evans already re-joining the club.

Sheffield United’s season in numbers.