Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay spoke of his pride for the City stars as they secured a place in the Premier League with a 0-0 draw against Charlton Athletic.
“I’m very proud of the football club tonight, it’s an occasion which the fans of this football club have waited a long time for, and they’ve had a lot of disappointment in their time.
"I’m talking about the backroom staff who have been here and been through some tough times, the directors, our owner who has put an awful lot of money into the football club over four years and obviously the players," said the Gaffer. "But especially the people of Cardiff because they have waited a long time to be back in the top flight and they’ve never been in the Premier League and they have backed me and the football team since I’ve been here and for that I will be forever grateful. Hopefully tonight goes someway to repaying that faith.
“Chris Powell came up and congratulated me, he’s a good friend of mine and we spoke about this in a bedroom a long time ago when we were sharing rooms at both Watford and West Ham. It was a lovely touch and myself and David Kerslake shared a moment with thirty seconds to go. It certainly means a lot to everyone at the club and you can see that tonight and I’m extremely proud of all the players and staff."
The Championship is seen as one of the hardest leagues in the world to be promoted from, and Mackay declared his delight with everyone involved in the football club – from the contribution of Vincent Tan as well as his players.
“We’ve had a chat, he came into the dressing room and we’ve had a chat in the board room as well," Malky continued. "It’s a new thing for him, he’s become more hands on this season to the football club and that being the case there have been a lot of firsts for him in terms of learning about the game and learning about the football club, learning about the division and also learning about life in South Wales.
"A lot of credit has to go to him for adapting to that because he’s someone who in his own part of the world is a very successful businessman and has his finger on the pulse over there, so for him to give trust in myself and my staff and bring a group of players together who I felt could be promoted. There is a formula in this division, it’s about making sure you not only have good players but also have good people, good characters – there has to be a blend of youth and athleticism, have the correct staff that want to make life a vocation for football.
“This division is a relentless division; it’s a very tough division and you can see this year after year. It’s getting stronger, there is more money flooding into it and there’s more people and teams who think they can win the prize. So for that to happen at this football club I’m so happy."
City have topped the Championship from November until the present day and Malky insisted his side’s level headed approach to each game as an individual has been part of the key to success.
“Being top brings its own issues," he continued. "You’re there to be chased, shot at, ignored, criticised and looked over, but I have to say within the camp the group have stayed focussed. They have listened to myself and the staff about how to go about this, you go about it by going after the team six inches in front of your face every week. You prepare properly for each team, you respect them. The minute you stop doing that is when you start losing in this league. If you concentrate on each side, analyse them and you go over everything you can do and try this forty six times then that’s the way about going about trying to win this league and be promoted out of it.”
And while the Championship season still has three games to go and promotion is assure, the City manager has already starting thinking about the club’s first season in the Premier Division.
“It’s a huge challenge; we are going into one of the best leagues in the world. I’ve got good staff and good people here and we are going to go into the league and prepare properly, the preparation for this has already started. We’ll now put that into action and make sure the new departments and structure we have put into place in the football club in the last two years continue to strive forward and keep adding as times continually change and if you don’t go with it then you are left behind.
"We’ve been doing this for two years at the football club, we’ve been changing and adapting and trying to get best practice in every department we have to make sure we can be competitive in the Premier League. We’ve been competitive in the Championship – the fans will be able to accept mistake but they wont accept a lack of effort. Every team we have played in the last twenty months we have been competitive against, we’ve won some and lost some but we have competed against all of them and this will not change in the Premier League.”