Blackpool skipper Andy Taylor says his agony at missing the League Two Play-off Final at Wembley was forgotten once promotion was sealed.
The left-back pulled a hamstring in the second leg of Pool’s semi-final against Luton Town, an injury that saw him miss out on playing at the national stadium, where he endured “the most nerve-wracking 90 minutes of football I’ve ever experienced”.
Colin Daniel took the place of the former Blackburn Rovers full-back, who had remained hopeful of recovering in time for the final.
But with only 10 days between the games, he acknowledged that it was always a “long shot”.
Taylor, 31, said: “I was gutted not to be able to lead the lads out at Wembley, but at the final whistle I couldn’t have cared any less because the lads got it done.
“It was always going to be a long shot if I was being honest. To pull your hamstring in the semi-final and to be fit for the final is going to be difficult.
“But I had to give it a go. I tried a couple of days before the game but it pulled again. It just wasn’t right.
“I sort of accepted it, and there was no point in me playing and then coming off after five minutes. That would have been bad for the team.
“But we won at Wembley and we got promotion. It’s just phenomenal.
“I’ve been to Wembley twice before and lost, so it was third time lucky. Happy days.
“It’s a fantastic feeling and words can’t describe it.”
Taylor was been a virtual ever present for the Seasiders last season, making 45 appearances in all competitions in a campaign that saw the club return to League One at the first attempt.
That will be a level the left-back is more than used to, having played there with Walsall and Sheffield United.
Pool have activated the option of an extra year on Taylor’s deal, meaning he will be lining up at Bloomfield Road next season.
Taylor, who had a loan spell at Blackpool from Blackburn a decade ago, was the fourth player to sign for Gary Bowyer last summer after rejecting an offer to stay with Walsall. And the defender believes the move was more than worth it.
He added: “It was horrible watching on from the sidelines at Wembley. It was the most nerve-wracking 90 minutes of football I’ve ever experienced. It’s far easier being out on the pitch.
“But the scenes at the end were amazing and made it all worth it.
“Everyone in the dressing room deserves this.”