Getting back into the Premiership is vital for Sunderland as a city, says council chief
Getting back into the Premiership is vital for Wearside's economy, Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller has said.
The council chief had to miss the Black Cats play-off final against Chartlon Athletic at due to the European elections, which saw the North East regional count held in Sunderland.
"I would have been at Wembley today but I couldn't guarantee getting back in time," he said at the count.
Sunderland lost 2-1 to Chartlon after a bitter 94th-minute goal from their opponents.
"It's so disappointing for fans, players and staff at the club," said Coun Miller. "It's going to be a miserable Bank Holiday now for people."
Coun Miller paid tribute to the efforts of the players, manager and staff at the club, and the support of the fans, and said Sunderland must find its way back into top flight football.
He added: "It's vital for Sunderland to get promoted.
"Being in the Championship brings bigger clubs to the city, more fans spending more money, and more exposure for Sunderland. And being in the Premiership all the more so."
Coun Miller said the players and manager now had to come back and have another run at promotion next season, and it was crucial the team did not see so many draws in 2019/2020.