FLEETWOOD Town’s “great journey isn’t over yet” vowed manager Micky Mellon, who believes that League Two is “not the final destination” for his team of Conference champions.
After a couple of false starts at Highbury last week, the club’s promotion party got into full swing on Saturday, when Wrexham’s failure to beat Grimsby sealed the Blue Square Bet Premier title for Fleetwood and with it a place in the Football League.
Fleetwood’s players were at Aintree for the Grand National meeting when they heard Town had finally passed the winning post, while chairman Andy Pilley was in a car covered by monkeys on a family day at a safari park.
Manager Mellon was able to take it all in back home in Blackpool and he told The Gazette: “We are delighted to be in the Football League and it is amazing.
“This is my fourth season here and things have happened so quickly. We have been involved in a promotion shake-up every year and it has been a great journey ... but it isn’t over yet. This club can go further and hopefully there are even more exciting times ahead.
“It feels fantastic and it’s very pleasing to get over the line. We were made to work very hard and that is what makes it so satisfying – this is such a difficult league to get out of.”
After all the scoring feats of 34-goal Jamie Vardy and Town’s other vaunted attackers, it was a strike by the little-known Andi Thanoj which sealed Town’s title glory in only their second season at non-league’s elite level.
The Grimsby youth product netted eight minutes from time to earn the Mariners a 2-2 draw at Wrexham, which left Andy Morrell’s side 11 points behind Fleetwood with only nine still available to them.
It means a carnival atmosphere is guaranteed at Highbury on Saturday week.
That is when the champions are presented with their trophy on Saturday week – Luton are the visitors – after party-poopers Wrexham and Lincoln both denied Town victories which would have secured the crown on home soil in the past week.
But Mellon doesn’t feel the pressure of expectation got to his players in either match. He added: “I think you have to give credit to the teams we were playing against. Wrexham have had a fantastic season and Lincoln are an ex-Football League club.
“They were two tough games and we didn’t lose either. It’s another sign of how tough this league is and how big our achievement is.”
Those two draws extended Town’s unbeaten league run to 29, providing motivation for the players to maintain focus for the final two matches, starting at Cambridge on Saturday.
The Conference record of 30 matches unbeaten was set by Crawley last season, along with the points record of 105.
Mellon added: “Knowing these players they won’t be ready to ease off. They know they are on the threshold of beating the points record and we have an unbeaten run to protect.
“We are now the team everyone will want to beat, and I’m sure that applies to Cambridge and Luton, but first we will enjoy basking in the glory of this achievement because it is so massive.
“The fans can will get their day to see that trophy lifted on the 28th. It will be another full house and we can all reflect on some fantastic times.
“We can’t wait to take these players and this club into the Football League.”