Port Vale boss Darrell Clarke has received messages of support from football fans after dedicating his daughter’s win in the play-off final.
Ellie, 18, tragically died in February, prompting Clarke to take time off from Vale Park.
After returning to the technical zone, Clarke led Port Vale to League One for the first time since 2017 today (28 May) with a 3-0 win in the play-off final against Mansfield Town at Wembley Stadium.
READ MORE: Emotional Darrell Clarke dedicates Port Vale win to tragic daughter Ellie, 18
READ MORE: Mansfield and Vale fans unite to support the Clarke family
When asked what was going through his mind at the final whistle, Clarke said: “I’ve been working so hard to control those emotions over the last few days but then they all came out when it was almost over and it was us in a great position.
“It’s something special. Especially for my eldest daughter who we lost this year, especially for my family who’s been through tough times – it’s no different than other families so I certainly don’t want sympathy.
“It was tremendous. I think she was up there today kicking every ball for me. I dedicate this to my daughter.”
He added: “It was incredible. The LMA, the league managers association, has been absolutely brilliant and continues to be brilliant. It’s not a quick fix.
“I don’t want to go into the personal details of why that is and what’s what, but the LMA and the football community have been outstanding. It’s not just clubs I’ve played for or managed, but also other clubs and fans. The support you gave me was great.”
These are just some of the messages sent in support of Clarke…
@Martin69891736: I didn’t hear about it… very moving and very happy for the man and his family
@jonathanmiles43: I love this guy and will always be a legend at BRFC. I am so happy for him and as a father of a young child I am heartbroken to just hear about who he has lost.
@LPrentice44: What a man who comes back from the most heartbreaking of losses and tragedies, can come back and achieve this is amazing. All credit.
@RobGarnham1: Fair to play against this man. I didn’t want Vale to win, but congratulations for him personally, after all he must have come through
@CarolineMEvans1: You once stood and chatted with my brother at WFC when he was there talking to his late sons. He said what a kind man you were that day. He and I wish you and your family all the best
@hold_ja: There are more important things than football, Darrell will always be a Mansfield boy and we will support him. Deer are going again next year.
@GanderflankerUK: I’m not a fan of Port Vale or Darrell Clarke but no parent should go through what they went through and it goes beyond football. Very moving speech.
@DecPierce: My goodness what a man. The strength to endure this piece… full of emotions. Modest. Full of respect for his team and also for the opponent. Nothing but admiration for him
@withersmusic: Wow. Can’t imagine the pain he must be feeling. Ellie helped him today.
@JoanneMcGarry14: Daryl is a lovely man and gentleman. He is very loved at Bristol Rovers. Nice to see him back at Memorial Stadium next year. Thoughts are with him and his family.