Having guided Coventry City to their first promotion in 51 years in Monday’s Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final, manager Mark Robins was eager to deflect praise to his players after a gruelling campaign.
Goals from Jordan Willis, Jordan Shipley and Jack Grimmer put the Sky Blues into a comfortable 3-0 lead, before Kyle Edwards scored a consolation goal for Exeter City a minute from time.
Robins was in charge when the club were relegated from League One in the 2016/17 season, but has been able to secure their return at the first time of asking.
“There’s a feel-good factor at the club, our players are under contract and there’s no pressure on me to do anything at the moment,” said the Coventry boss.
“We had a great cup run this year that brought some money in, as did our play-off campaign, so we’ll be in a better position than we were financially last year and the players deserve the credit for that because they’re the ones that go out there and get the results.
“They are a fantastic, honest group, and I’m delighted they’ve all got the opportunity to play at a higher level. It’s a brilliant day for Coventry City and I couldn’t be prouder.”
The catalyst behind Monday’s success, the manager says, came from last season.
It’s two wins in relatively quick succession for Coventry at the National Stadium, having been successful in the 2017 Checkatrade Trophy Final with a 2-1 victory over Oxford United.
Despite being relegated to the fourth tier of English football a month later, Robins explained how lifting the trophy little over a year ago kickstarted a turnaround in the club’s fortunes.
“We felt that the Checkatrade Trophy win was the start of something, and that team shouldn’t have been relegated, but it was,” he began.
“The win against Oxford United at Wembley was the turning point, it felt like the wood in the door that stopped the slide. We recruited well and have developed players to play at an intense football club where expectations are very high.
“That expectation comes from the fans – it comes from them and it’s for them. The connection between players and supporters is massive and the reconnection we’ve had recently is fundamental moving forward.
“Football is all about pleasing supporters. You want to entertain them, but please them more than anything. Coventry supporters deserve the best and we have to try and deliver that on a regular basis.”
Coventry, and Robins in particular, are desperate to ensure that next season’s League One campaign is much better than the last time around.
Their impressive support, as demonstrated by the raucous following at Wembley Stadium in Monday’s play-off final, will play a vital role in ensuring that is the case, with the Sky Blues’ manager targeting much more than a relegation battle.
“It’s been a really tough season in a tough league and I’m thankful we got through it. We put our mind to [getting promoted] and we strived for it, and so anything could’ve happened.
“Our season has finished with a major positive for everybody involved with the club, and momentum comes from that positivity.
“The supporters will get their season tickets now, and we’re really grateful for everyone that parts with their hard-earned money. Them doing that will give us the scope to compete at the higher end of the division.”