GUS Poyet was full of joy unconfined at the Stadium of Light last night as the mission many dubbed impossible was completed.
A bundle of energy on the touchline in the dying minutes of the 2-0 victory over West Brom, he went on to the pitch with the players to hug every one of them at the final whistle.
Those who were heading to the tunnel, he dragged back to the centre-circle to take the applause of the home fans and then he turned to milk it himself from all four sides of the ground.
Afterwards, the Uruguayan spoke of just how emotional that moment of vindication had been for him. “It was incredible,” he said. “And I’m absolutely delighted.
“I am proud of what we achieved and I’m so pleased for the players, the fans and the club itself really.
“I was brought to the club to do one job and one job only and that was to keep this club in the Premier League and we’ve done it.
“Not only that, I think we’ve done it in style.”
When he first took over Sunderland back in October, the club had only one point from 21.
It was rock bottom then and it was rock bottom little more than three weeks ago, having spent all but five weeks of the whole campaign in the bottom three.
“It is the one of the biggest achievements of my life, that’s for sure,” Poyet smiled as he pondered the statistics overcome – and becoming only the second team in Premier League history to survive having been bottom at Christmas.
“It makes me so happy, and I think of everyone – of the fans, of the staff, the chairman – and I’m grateful for it.
“I know we have made so many people happy.
“So it’s a great day, one of the happiest of my life.”
And as for those celebrations, the modest manager enjoyed a moment where he took centre stage for once.
“I didn’t go out at Old Trafford at the weekend to the corner where our fans were, because usually, it is not me,” he sniffed.
“But last night against Albion?
“After what we’ve done?
“Yes. I go out!
“You are not going to stop me celebrating after that!
“I am a human being and I care about the club.
“Rightly or wrongly, I become very supportive of the place I work and I wanted to celebrate with the fans because they have been fantastic.
“We get 45,000 for a team that has struggled so much and, in this difficult time, we have built a bond with them. I will look to keep that bond.”
H Read West Brom boss Pepe Mel on the match on sunderlandecho.com