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24Newport County13-88

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Handy's Side Up!

By: Richard Lord
Date: 12/05/2002

FORMER Grimsby Town defender Peter Handyside will be looking forward to facing his old club next season after his Stoke City side won promotion to the First Division after beating Brentford 2-0 in the Second Division Play-Off Final at the Millennium Stadium yesterday.

Handyside, who preferred to drop a division to play for Stoke after former Town manager Lennie Lawrence left the Scotsman in the shadows, was clearly thrilled after getting his hands on the same trophy he won precisely four years ago.

Speaking to the official Stoke City web site the Dumfries-born defender said: "It's a fantastic feeling, everybody keeps saying that we should be a First Division club because of our stadium and support. We proved today that we can play like a First Division team, and we have all season."

After spending nearly ten years at Blundell Park under several managers, Handyside can now look forward to stern tests from quality First Division strikers next season. He continued: "We knew what we were doing and everybody did his job. We started well and stuck to the task.

"The goals came from set pieces, and the own goal was a bit of luck that you need. But you don't keep twenty-odd clean sheets for nothing, and when Cutz (Neil Cutler) made his saves, he did what he's been doing all season."

The 27-year old put pen to paper at the Britannia Stadium last summer and has since captained his side to glory. "I'm delighted for the boss. He brought me here and I'm so pleased for him."

The Stoke skipper concluded by adding that the south dressing room curse never entered the players' minds. "It was about time it was broken and we weren't particularly bothered about it."

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