Sheffield United's board of directors have admitted that a "short-term approach" has contributed to the club's relegation from the npower Championship.

The Blades dropped down to the third tier of English football for the first time since 1989 after Saturday's 2-2 draw with local rivals Barnsley.

"The club has to hold its hands up and acknowledge that we got it wrong," chief executive Trevor Birch said in a club statement.

"We apologise to the fans that have so steadfastly stood by the club. They deserve success and we will work like hell to build a solid foundation on which we can base a team capable of not only promotion back to the Championship, but also the Premier League.

"Even though we have run with a higher average wage bill for players since relegation, we have made mistakes and ultimately the board has to accept responsibility."

Director of the PLC board Scott McCabe added: "We have relied too heavily on attempting short-term solutions and, if anything, indulging managers with too many quick fixes and short-term signings.

"In hindsight it is a factor that has contributed to the demise of United, the over-reliance and use of the loan market has a debilitating rather than strengthening effect on the first team.

One shining light for United this season has been the emergence of several younger players, while the youth team have also made the FA Youth Cup final.

McCabe added: "Success is now to be built on the firmest of foundations, which facilitates the long-term strengthening of all aspects of the football club.

"At the core of this re-building will be our Academy and development players, supported by our own experienced players and new signings, who will have the success of the club in their hands. Throwing money at the problem has not bought us success. We have to try something different."