SOLIHULL Moors boss Marcus Bignot has described winning the Vanarama National North title as ‘euphoric’ and has told his players and the fans to enjoy every moment.
Automatic promotion to the fifth tier of English football was secured on Tuesday evening after promotion rivals North Ferriby United were beaten 2-0 at relegation-threatened Stalybridge Celtic.
That result means that none of the chasing pack can catch league champions Moors with three games of the 2015/16 season remaining and Bignot admits even he is surprised at how well the team has done this campaign having set the play-offs as the initial target.
“It was a new group of players who, for me , have surpassed expectation,” said Bignot. “But they have done so in the most professional manner.
“At the start of the season we could see we had a squad capable of doing great things and I guess all of us, players and supporters, thought the play offs were a real possibility.
“As the season progressed we dreamed of what we might do, especially after the incredible unbeaten run which lasted into December.
“That provided the belief that what looked impossible at the start of the campaign was indeed achievable. We had to manage expectation – only recently did we openly consider we could win this tough Vanarama National North league.”
It has been a remarkable journey for Moors who became one of the youngest clubs in senior English football when they entered the Blue Square Conference North back in 2008.
After three seasons of struggle, the late Bob Faulkner put together a competitive side that narrowly missed out on the play-offs before Bignot arrived ahead of the 2011/12 season.
They finished one point above the drop zone that year but with a new youth and community policy in order things soon fell into place and after a couple of seasons flirting with the play-offs, Moors finally achieved their dream of reaching the Vanarama National League.
Fans can now look forward to facing the likes of Grimsby, Macclesfield, Torquay and Tranmere Rovers, as well as Dagenham and Redbridge who will be relegated from League Two.
“You could see how much winning the title in front of the fans meant to the players last Saturday at Telford and the disappointment when they realised they would have to wait.
“It’s a euphoric feeling but coupled with tremendous satisfaction. Many footballers have distinguished careers but have nothing to show for it – these players will now have medals to prove what they have achieved.
“Perhaps it would have been, in a perfect world, good to win it at home on Saturday against Hednesford but with North Ferriby losing last night all of us connected with the club can now embrace the title and enjoy every moment of it.”
The season is yet to finish for Moors as they host Hednesford Town this Saturday where they will be presented with the title and they also play Chorley at home the week after before finishing the campaign with a trip to FC United Of Manchester.
“There will be no let up in our approach to the remaining games this season and will be at full strength against a Hednesford side fighting for their lives to remain in this league,” said Bignot.
“What better end to a season could there be than a visit to FC United of Manchester with a crowd of over 3,500 and then to face Birmingham City, hopefully at St Andrews, in the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup.
“My plan was always to achieve promotion in either this or next season – to do so at the first attempt automatically with three games in hand is the stuff of dreams. Thank you to everybody who has enjoyed the journey with us!”