Alex Neil is not focusing on the mega money at stake in Norwich City’s play-off final tussle against Middlesbrough
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City Alex Neil insists the massive financial windfall at stake in Monday's Championship play-off final against Middlesbrough does not enter the equation.
Neil knows the balance sheet implications of beating the Teessiders at Wembley in the self-styled richest game in football, with an estimated £120m on the line for reaching the Premier League. The Scot is adamant there is no extra pressure on his shoulders, with City potentially 90 minutes from an immediate top flight return.
'The fear of losing a local derby and your pride being hurt for me, as a manager, would hurt more than the monetary side. I don't worry about the financial side,' he said. 'That is probably more for the board and chief executive to plan the long term future of the club. My job is to make sure the team is prepared and we are winning games.
'If we get promoted then it will put the club in a much healthier financial position but we are still in a good financial position at the moment, so the monetary side would be a huge bonus but it is not something I need to focus on.'
The 33-year-old could become the only Scottish manager currently operating in the Premier League if he completes a fairytale journey from Hamilton.
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'On a personal level you want to get to the highest possible level you can,' he said. 'I just want to get there for my team. It is like anything else. It is cycles. At one stage I remember not all that long ago there was a lot of older managers getting jobs, then a cycle with younger managers coming through so the fact there is no Scottish managers in the top flight now just means maybe in a few years there will be five or six.
'Coaching was never an ambition of mine when I was younger. I think it was more the fact at 23 I became a captain and then it was about being tasked with taking care of the younger players who came into the group and developing them. Then I got a bad injury four or five seasons ago and ended up doing coaching when I was recovering and that set the ball rolling to where I am now.'
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Neil realises he was fortunate to inherit a club geared to go back up when he left Scotland in January.
'I have said it before that when you come to a new club you expect major problems, whether it is on the training pitch or in the dressing room,' he said. 'That certainly wasn't the case and that was a credit to Neil Adams. There was a good group of lads, in terms of discipline and attitude. There was not a great deal to fix, just getting them focused and giving them clear messages of what I want, and they have bought into that completely.'