Shaun Sparrow was a “happy and proud” man after Rothwell Corinthians secured promotion to the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division.
Needing a win from their penultimate fixture to secure the second promotion place behind Division One champions Northampton Spencer, Corinthians beat Irchester United 3-0 at Sergeants Lawn on Saturday.
Sparrow’s team round off their campaign with a home clash against Lutterworth Athletic this evening (Tuesday).
But the hard work has now been done with a stunning run of form in the second half of the season being the key to their emergence.
Corinthians won 15, drew two and lost just two of the last 19 league matches to secure a return to the top flight after a three-year absence.
And the manager was ecstatic to see his young squad finish the job.
“I didn’t dare to believe it could happen until it did,” Sparrow said.
“If I am honest, we were happy with the way our season was progressing all the way through.
“The target was to be in the top half and from there it was a question of whether we could get into the top eight.
“Once we got there, we wanted a top-six finish to get ourselves in the FA Cup but after you get to that stage, you start having a look at the top places.
“We brought in players and things were just starting to bed in around the halfway stage but I don’t think anyone saw the run of form we went on coming.
“We all know there is money involved in the game at all levels but this is just a group of local lads who have given the club everything.
“They are a fantastic group and I am very happy and very proud about what we have achieved.”
Don’t miss further reaction and more UCL news in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph