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Alex Neil needs to be backed by Sunderland board as SAFC squad gives generation of fans a day to remember - Stephen Elliott

Well, I’ve no doubt writing this that those of you reading, like me, have probably had one of the best weekends ever.

By Stephen Elliott
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 5:00 pm

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I have never seen or heard anything like what I witnessed on Saturday.

I’ve been fortunate enough to play for some brilliant football clubs as well as representing my country in some fantastic arenas with huge atmospheres but the noise and emotion I saw and felt during and after that game of football at Wembley will stay with me forever.

I felt privileged to be at the game and I don’t think there will ever be a noise like it by a set of supporters under the arch ever again.

Sunderland players celebrate their League One play-off final win over Wycombe Wanderers. Picture by Martin Swinney.

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It has been the biggest emotional rollercoaster ever.

Saturday was everything that’s great about this club and it was truly unforgettable.

Alex Neil has been an absolute revelation for me.

There is no doubt about it, this football team has had a soft underbelly running through it in recent times.

The Scot has come in and practically straight away has fixed this issue.

He realised that the team needed to become harder to beat even if it meant the team not being as fluid to watch.

He didn’t come in with false promises and big words.

He is blunt and straight to the point and I am guessing has made it a lot clearer for the players in comparison to some of the other managers before who have tried and failed with this club before him.

I said last week that the club are in good hands with this manager and I hope he pencils a long-term deal.

There are some clubs looking for new managers and I would be hugely surprised if he is not somewhere on the top of a lot of their lists.

The team itself will need to strengthen for the Championship, that is obvious but there is a good nucleus of quality to work with already and I genuinely believe some of these players may be more suited to playing in the Championship.

These players that have finally helped the team achieve promotion from League One may not be the best ever players to play for the club but they have given a generation of Sunderland fans one of the greatest days of their lives and for that they will be forever remembered.

They will go off and enjoy their holidays and those who do come back will be hopefully recharged ready to go for what will be a chance to fight to get back to the dizzy heights of the Premier League.

Sunderland will still be a scalp in the Championship.

This comes with the territory and the sheer size of the club.

Hopefully Neil will be backed by the board as I would not rule against him putting another promotion charge together for next year.

It’s exciting times for the club.