for Saturday or Sunday
Former Huddersfield Town boss Lee Clark has revealed the “excruciating pain” he felt when his side lost the play-off final to Peterborough in 2011.
In his autobiography ‘Black or White, no Grey Areas’ Clark says it took a lot of time to get over the 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford which denied his side promotion.
“Devastation wasn’t the word,” says Clark.
“It’s difficult to describe the feeling. Emotional is an understatement. It was like having an out of body experience in one respect.
“Moments after the referee blew the final whistle to confirm our play-off defeat to Peterborough, automatic pilot switched on.
“The excruciating pain and hurting had to be put to one side. I congratulated or commiserated with everyone in the Huddersfield and Peterborough squads. I applauded our fans then disappeared down an extremely dark tunnel to the dressing room to reflect on a highly charged, poignant game.
“I couldn’t face any presentation.
“Dean Hoyle came looking for me, told me to keep my head up and said ‘let’s go again next season’, which was a reassuring gesture.
“That tells you all you need to know about the relationship I enjoyed with the owner. It didn’t soften the blow or erase any pain but when you get that support from your leader it encourages you to go the extra mile.”
Remembering previous experiences, Clark goes on: “Never thought I’d feel as gut-wrenchingly shattered as I did after Sunderland’s play-off defeat to Charlton, but this was worse.
“When you’re a manager you feel responsible for everything and everyone. I was hurting for not only myself but for the players and staff as well.
“A 3-0 result looks as if it was a walk in the park for Posh. It wasn’t. The score flattered them but, to be fair, on the balance Of play they deserved it.
“A gathering was arranged at the Galpharm Stadium after the game. It would have been a party had we won of course. It was flat.
“The families of the players were gutted as well. It was tough but I managed to regroup, gather my thoughts and give some comforting words to the players.
“On the coach back to huddersfield, from Manchester, I told the lads to hold their heads high. They had nothing to be ashamed of. They’d had a terrific season and fell at the final hurdle.
“It took about a week to get over it. I came home and my wife and the kids were walking around me on eggshells. There was a lot of staring at the TV, the wall and into space. It was like going through a grieving process.”