Dave Challinor couldn’t hide his delight as he celebrated a third promotion as AFC Fylde boss, one which leaves the ambitious club just one step away from a dream place in the Football League.
Fylde were in Northern Premier League first division north when Challinor took charge in November 2011. Next season they will do battle with England’s elite non-league clubs in the National League, with confidence soaring after a sensational season which saw them win 26 of their 42 National North games to be crowned champions with a massive total of 88 points.
As a crowd of 2,684 packed into Mill Farm, where jubilant scenes followed the 4-2 victory over Worcester City, Challinor revelled in the trophy presentation alongside his players.
Challinor said: “It feels amazing to be holding the trophy. A lot of hard work has gone into it.
“This was a fitting way to finish what’s been a fantastic season.
“We’ve worked our socks off and today was an occasion when everyone could celebrate.”
Having sealed the title seven days earlier, Challinor admitted it had been a difficult week in training. His side needed to stay focused and do a professional job, with visitors Worcester battling relegation.
He added: “Last week was tough but tonight I’m really looking forward to it and it’s a chance to say thank you.
“We’ve been through a lot more highs than lows this season. You always try in football not to get too high when you win and not too low when you lose. That can be difficult if you get caught up in the emotions of things.
“ Winning it last week was fantastic. Getting a point against Kidderminster here was massive as well and so was going to Halifax and winning. They were defining moments and it’s great to get across the line.
“Occasions like this are few and far between. I was adamant today that regardless of what happened I wanted to enjoy it.
“ I wanted to win the game, which we’ve done, and we can celebrate properly.
“We didn’t have a great start today but it was a test of mentality more than anything else. We wanted to score as many goals as possible.
“ All the players deserve it. They’ve been fantastic.
“We’re staying here tonight. We’ll have a long night and I’ll make no apologies for the state I’ll be in afterwards.”