‘What planet are you on?’ – Neil Young reacts to historic Marine promotion after Macclesfield win

Marine manager Neil Young celebrates with Freddie Sass

Marine manager Neil Young says their 2-1 playoff win over Macclesfield ranks among his highest achievements.

Fin Sinclair-Smith and Jack Bainbridge were on target for the Mariners at Moss Rose but they were made to work hard for promotion in the end, after Kane Drummond halved the deficit late on.

Their triumph over the Silkmen caps a phenomenal season at Rossett Park as Marine’s rise continues. The win ensured a seventh career promotion for Young – a second for the Merseyside club – and another landmark success when they’re classed as underdogs.

The list of scalps is increasing for Young as Marine manager with Havant & Waterlooville, Brackley Town, Halifax Town and Colchester United among them.

Macclesfield, with their embarrassment of riches and quality at their disposal, were left frustrated by the dogged and determined performance from Marine. While Young takes the plaudits for the set-up, he lauded his side for the execution.

He told Off The Park: “We hit the bar, hit the post, I thought for most of the time that we had a lot of the ball.

“The lads tactically, we had a plan, not to go toe-to-toe with these or trying to play the same game because we aren’t going to win because we are a different team, we play a different way.

“I give them a plan, we go through it, we’re meticulous with it but I only do the work, these lads carry it out, the work rate, the running – it’s phenomenal.”

Last summer, there were several changes in an upheaval made to the playing squad. Their hopes of securing playoffs in their first season back in the Northern Premier League ended after defeat to Warrington Town and Young admitted at the time that change was needed.

Young dismissed the notion that the comments made in light of the disappointment are a ‘sliding doors moment’ but insists Marine have to bring themselves to the fore.

He continued: “I don’t think sometimes it’s a sliding doors moment, the club has to put itself on the map and to do that, you need to bring success.

“Success breeds success, at the start of this season I couldn’t attract Jack Bainbridge or Freddie Sass – we tried to sign Freddie.

“We don’t have the finances and the level but word gets out, how we work, the professionalism, it’s an unbelievable job. To beat Rylands, the way we did, to come here away from home in front of 5,500, this achievement for where we are resource-wise is incredible.

“It’s such a pleasure to work with the players, we fall out now and again but they run through brickwalls. For me, it’s a wow moment, they’ve exceeded my expectations – not today but when we put together this second-phase after we lost to Hyde. Wow, these players, I can’t express my gratitude but the plaudits need to be with them.”

The 48-year-old admitted that the full-time whistle prompted emotion, albeit temporarily, but he says that his second promotion with Marine ranks among the top of his managerial achievements.

“It was a bit emotional to be honest,” says Young. “I don’t want to make it about me, but it’s been gruelling, a bit of a control freak in the way I work so a lot of time and effort goes into these games – making sure the lads have got as much information as they can.

“It was a bit emotional for me at the end but only for a minute, you get your bearings, you’ve got 1,200 people here, winning away from home and in football management, you have your ups and downs and I remember when I’ve had lesser times people saying I’ve reached my level. Well if my level is FA Cup first-round, two promotions and two Liverpool Senior Cups, I don’t mind that.

“It’s up there, it has to be. Taking Chester on three promotions on the bounce – getting them to the National League. But to take Marine into the National League North, if you took me back to 2018 I would’ve said, ‘what planet are you on?’ It’s happened, it’s done, it’s about enjoying it. We move on too quick and people talk next season and so on, it’s about enjoying the time and these lads deserve.”

[Featured Image: Darren Murphy – NPL]

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