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Alexander: The target was promotion

9 June 2014

The first of a four part interview with the boss following the promotion campaign

Graham Alexander believes Fleetwood Town ‘validated all the work’ they had put in over a gruelling season by claiming promotion to Sky Bet League One and admits he is looking forward ‘to the good times ahead’.

Speaking exclusively to the club’s official website, the Fleetwood Town boss has delivered a four-part interview detailing the highs he felt after the dramatic Play-Off final promotion to Town’s plans for their first season in third tier of English football.

Speaking at Highbury, the obvious starting point was gaining promotion in his first full season as a manager. 

“The target at the start of the season was to win promotion to League One. We achieved what we set out too, we would have loved to have got into the top three and won the league, but that wasn’t to be,” Alexander said.

“Looking back now, winning through the Play-Offs and the whole day at Wembley and the drama of it all, I think that adds to it all. 

“It gives the players the experience of playing in high-pressure games. On that side of it, it is important to take into their future careers. 

“It was a great feeling and we have to look forward to the good times ahead, which will be in League One.”

The Cod Army took the race for automatic promotion right down to the wire before Chesterfield, Rochdale and Scunthorpe United secured their places in League One on the penultimate weekend of the season.

Alexander, though, believes ‘the magic and the beauty’ of the Play-Offs means securing their own place in League 1 through that route was more special.

“That’s the magic and the beauty of the Play-Offs. The whole season, ten months and 40-odd games, rolled into one 90 minutes and it is all or nothing.

“The winner takes all and that’s why it gets the imagination of everyone involved. 

“The drama of it all and the contrast of the team that wins and the team that doesn’t and we are so pleased to have won that day. 

“We validated all the work that we put in from day one from pre-season from the staff and the players. Every single one. 

“We have had our ups and our downs without a doubt. There have been times in the season when we have had tough times and been doubted and it’s important that we kept together, kept our focus, kept our belief and over the course of ten months we did that. 

“You get to the end of the season after 46 games and the top three, who are the top three, deserve to be there. 

“The four teams who are in the Play-Offs deserve to be there over the course 46 games. 

“Everyone said about York just sneaking in there because of the last three or four months of the season, but over the 46 games, they got enough points to get in the Play-Offs. Simple as. 

“There was four good teams in the Play-Offs and obviously York went into it 17 games unbeaten, starting with the game against us at Highbury, so that was a big result for us to go there and win 1-0. 

“We deserved to win 1-0 and we could have scored a couple more on the day, but then the pressure was on us to come back to Highbury and see out the result. 

“We did that and that tied it all up for the big final at Wembley against Burton, who we had already faced four times across the FA Cup and the league. 

“When you look back at the five games, there was two wins each and a draw, so it was tight between two teams, but I thought on the day we edged the overall play. 

“We could have been at least in the lead at half-time and we just had to see out the game. We did that and it was a great feeling when the referee blew his whistle.”

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