Date:Wednesday March 8 2006
Mick McCarthy says his thanks and goodbyes to Sunderland AFC after 3 years in charge, once again handling himself with grace and dignity.
Following his dismissal as manager after a torrid season in the Premiership, the departing boss had only good things to say about the club and it's fans:
'I've had some wonderful times at Sunderland and been lucky enough to work with and meet some great people during my time as the club manager,
'All I would like to say is thank you to all those people. I've spoken with the players and my backroom staff to thank them all for their efforts in what has been a really tough season. And I would like to wish them all the best for the future.'
Despite the awful set of results this term the fans never fully turned on him, and were often heard chanting his name at away grounds in particular. For this McCarthy is grateful:
'I think I've had a good rapport with the fans in my time at the club. And I've been appreciative of the way that they've managed to get behind me and behind the players in what has been the toughest of seasons for all of us,
'They've turned out in their numbers at the Stadium of Light despite a bad run of results, and away from home the backing has been nothing short of magnificent. It's disappointing for all of us that things have ended up the way they have done, but I wish Sunderland Football Club the very best for the future and hope for everyone's sake that things pick up again for the club very soon.'
While most fans appreciate a change was needed and many agree that the Premiership seemed a step too far for Mick, his honest, no messing and dignified approach (typified in his 'meet the fans' sessions) this season means he'll never be seen as an enemy on Wearside.
Yes he was the manager and can be blamed for many things this season, but week in week out he never shirked the media or any question they had for him. His post match interviews slowly got more painful to watch as he clearly demonstrated the despairing emotions we all felt watching the lads. At least we knew he cared. A lot. He wore his heart on his sleeve and for this he'll command many a Mackem's respect.
Good luck in the future Mick, and thanks for the good times.
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