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League One

Alex Neil: This moment will never dissipate for Black Cats

21 May 2022

Sunderland boss Alex Neil insisted that victory in the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final will never fade from the Scotsman's memory, after writing a new chapter in the Club's history.

The 40-year-old steered the Black Cats to a 2-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers to secure their place in the Sky Bet Championship next season - ending a four year stay in League One.

“This group, that team and the individuals will be remembered, and rightly so,” he said.

“When you create a moment in time, like we’ve done today, that moment with players, fans and Clubs never dissipates and never goes away.

“My team talk today was talking to the lads about moments, and moments in your life and moments in your career. It’s moments in time that are the most important thing. What I said to the lads today was, ‘this is your moment in time’. I said, ‘you can be a hero today and that will never be forgotten because nobody can take that away from you’.

“I’m still remembered for taking Norwich up; I still meet Norwich fans and they say, ‘the Play-Off Final was the best day of my life’ or ‘it was my kid’s first game’ and how much it meant to them.”

“People love a fallen giant, and they love to stick the boot into a fallen giant and say, ‘you shouldn’t be where you are’.

“I’ve been told a million times we’re not a League One team. It’s been tough for this Club for the last few years.

“It was a such a challenge for me coming here. This was the biggest test of all because of the size of the Club and the expectation of the Club. Not only that but many have struggled before me to make it work.”

Nevertheless, Neil’s self-belief didn’t let him down when he arrived at the Stadium of Light, having now achieved his goal of fulfilling his own potential.

“The one thing I’ve always concerned myself with and always worried about is letting people down. I’ve always had the confidence and belief that I could come to a big Club. I went from Hamilton to Norwich. I felt, after I left Preston, that I needed to go somewhere and show what I can do.

“It would’ve been easier for me to pass up on this one and take another job further down the line. I was waiting for something that would really intrigue me and test me. I’ve never been scared of failing and putting myself out there.”

“When you take it all and you strip it down, as you can see, I’m not really one for dancing about."

“People think I’m miserable and I’m not, I’m just content. What I am today is I’m extremely satisfied that I’ve managed to deliver so much to so many people who it really matters to.”


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