Sunderland-born coach admits breaking down after best moment of career at Wembley

Sunderland goalkeeper coach David Preece has described his emotions as he watched his boyhood club win at Wembley.

Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 10:55 am

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Preece, who started his playing career on Wearside, has been working with the Black Cats since the summer, coming in under former head coach Lee Johnson.

Having come through the academy ranks at Sunderland, the stopper later enjoyed a fine senior career with the likes of Darlington, Aberdeen and Barnsley.

Since retiring as a player, the 44-year-old has been part of the backroom staff at Lincoln and worked as a goalkeeping coach at Swedish side Ostersunds FK.

David Preece.

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But having re-joined his boyhood club, Sunderland-born Preece witnessed the Wearsiders defeat Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley in front of 50,000 fans to secure a place in the Championship.

Reflecting on the experience, Preece told the Totally Football League Show: “It was absolutely incredible. These people man are just. I know what they are like. I was born here.

“I have experienced before what it was like in the past on a whole different level. I missed out while Sunderland during the Premier League years with Kevin Phillips and Roy Keane.

“That sort of era I didn’t watch a lot of the games then because of my own career but it really reminded me of being back at Roker Park and the atmospheres that we used to create there.

“There was probably only half as many people there in Roker Park. Less than half than there was in Wembley on Saturday but they still managed to create that same sort of atmosphere that you got in a small stadium like Roker Park in a cavernous place like Wembley.

“We saw it on Friday night. We were getting sent all the pictures through of Trafalgar Square and you are tempted to jump in a taxi and get yourself down there.

“That’s the most pleasing thing. All the players recognise it. We have Lynden Gooch who is American, born on the West Coast of America but has been here for 10/15 years. He just gets it. He is a Mackem to all intents and purposes.

“People like him have recognised what it means to the people. Seeing and reading on social media people saying how they think it is the best day that they have ever had a Sunderland fan, that means just as much as the promotion.”

When asked if that was the best moment of his career, Preece added: “By far. It has exceeded anything I have done as a player.

“It such a strange experience because I thought it would be so overwhelming But I just couldn’t believe it because everything just felt right and I managed to keep it together a couple of teams. I almost broke.

“I managed to get back to the coaches’ room and then phoned my missus and I went. I must have spent a good five minutes just breaking down the phone to her. I didn’t say a word to her and we just getting it all out.

“And I am glad I did because it allowed me to celebrate like I did on Saturday night.”