Manager over the moon to see Fleetwood reach League One for the first time
Graham Alexander hailed each and every one of his Fleetwood Town players after yesterday’s dramatic play-off final at Wembley Stadium, which saw the club promoted to League 1 for the first time in their history.
After overcoming York City in the semi-final, Gary Rowett’s Burton Albion stood in the way of the Cod Army in London.
In a game of few clear cut chances, it took a looping Antoni Sarcevic free kick some fifteen minutes from time to separate the two sides.
Victory meant that Alexander & Co will now battle it out against the likes of Sheffield United, Preston North End, Coventry City and Bristol City next season in England’s third tier.
Speaking to the club’s official website during the celebrations, he said: “I’m so pleased for everyone as there’s a lot of work gone in to it from a lot of people. We’ve had our ups and downs and times where we’ve been questioned, but we’ve constantly believed in ourselves and the performance was a culmination of that.”
The manager also recognised everyone’s contribution to Town’s promotion this season, and admitted he was over the moon: “It’s fantastic because it means ever so much to the staff, players and the supporters, and everyone has played a part in our success this season.”
With both Queens Park Rangers and Rotherham United supporters being housed in the East Stand at Wembley for their respective play-off games, Town had an omen ahead of the clash, but Alexander was quick to dismiss that: “Someone said that to me, but I’d like to think it’s down to the players working hard for me. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
The Cod Army’s backline, marshalled by Mark Roberts and Nathan Pond, were once again imperious, and the manager reserved special praise for the latter: “He is Fleetwood. You try to squeeze a club into one man and that’s Pondy. We were begging him to pass when he went through on goal, but when he gave it away we were fuming at him to get back, but he was magnificent, along with every other player who’s played for us this season.”
Fleetwood will now begin planning for life in League 1 next season, with Alexander adding that work has already started: “We’ve been half planning for next season but it’s difficult when you don’t know what division you’re going to be in. There’s a few bits and pieces we’ve got to look at, as we’ve got to hit the ground running because it’ll be a tough division next year.”