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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 April 2006, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Blades promoted after Leeds draw
Neil Warnock
Warnock has masterminded United's return to the top flight
Sheffield United have been promoted to the Premiership after Leeds failed to beat champions Reading at Elland Road.

The Blades' promotion party looked as though it was going to be put on hold after Rob Hulse put Leeds ahead against The Royals just after half-time.

But Reading's Stephen Hunt equalised with just five minutes to go to end Leeds' automatic promotion hopes and put Sheffield United up.

It is the first time The Blades have been in the top flight for 12 years.

United missed out on promotion in the play-offs three years ago when they were beaten in the final by Wolves before finishing eighth in each of the last two seasons.

They almost lost Warnock this season when he was approached to take over at Portsmouth but he rejected the chance to move to the south coast in order to keep fighting for promotion with the Blades.

The decision paid off when their top flight exile ended and he said: "I look back to when I started and I never thought in my wildest dreams we could ever get to the Premier League.

"We were so much in debt, clearing dog muck off the training ground before we started training, no academy, no policies, no forward thoughts.

"Now, if I were you, I'd buy some shares tomorrow because it's one of the most progressive clubs - if not the most progressive club - in England at the moment.

"Everything's happening: enterprise centres and a property company making over a million quid already, hotel going to start building, corner stand nearly finished, 5million academy when everybody's cutting back.

"I take a lot of pride in all these things because Kevin McCabe and myself, we're both Sheffield United fans and we both realise just what an achievement it will be to take the club further forward."

The Sheffield-born manager hopes the club's fans will back him in the Premiership next season.

Neil Warnock salutes the Blades fans at Cardiff
Warnock salutes the Blades supporters at Cardiff

He was applauded by the travelling fans in Friday's vital 1-0 win at Cardiff and he said: "I was pleased. It's taken the crowd six years to chant my name twice in a game. It might have even been three times - I've lost count.

"I think the crowd before I took over was 8,900 against Port Vale, which they lost 2-0.

"But you can't please them all. I said to the lads I'll probably get three good games with the fans behind me and two at the start of next season!

"When you look at the clubs below us with their wage bill and things, I don't think people realise what a fantastic achievement it is," he said.

"There's a lot of big-name clubs below us who would absolutely die to swap places with us and we've earned our right to be up there.

"The big challenge has been getting there and the greatest challenge is staying there before I go on to richer pastures - on my tractor."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock



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