The dust has settled slightly and preparations are under way for next season and the experience of the Conference North for the first time in the clubs history.

The photo I’ve picked captures a moment that will live in my memory for the rest of my life.  The joy, ecstasy, relief and different range of emotions on everyone’s face paints a thousand words and ten months of hard work and dedication comes to a fitting and successful conclusion.

This blog could be pages and pages long as I’ve hundreds of people to thank and congratulate.  I’ll save most of that for the End of Season Awards Evening, where everyone can celebrate the unbelievable achievements throughout the whole club from Under 18’s to First Team.  Trophies a plenty, international call ups, county and representative recognition, the list goes on and on.  All of this done in the right manner, not only producing some fantastic, attractive passing football but with fantastic control and discipline.

After the final kick of the ball by Ben on Saturday, the feeling I had personally was one of huge relief and an enormous amount of pride.  I have had a long career in football but nothing matches a team that you have assembled going out and achieving success, more importantly achieving deserved success.

The emotion was huge but my first thought was for Hacker, Phillo and Ashton’s players.  Having experienced similar emotions last season, I know exactly where they were at and it’s not a nice place to be, so for me it was important to commiserate them before allowing myself to celebrate with my players.  I made sure that at that point last season, my players remembered that feeling as it is absolutely gut wrenching and we used that as motivation this season and I’m sure they will do the same and come back stronger for it.  Whether that experience helped us at the moment the game went to penalty kicks, I don’t know but certainly the penalties were very impressive.

We had practiced penalties prior to the Worksop game and I have always been someone who has chosen who will take the penalties.  Any blame then lies at my door and as long as the players I choose make a positive decision and stick to that, whether they score or miss they won’t have a problem from me.  All five of them did that and although Adam missing the first penalty made me feel sick at the time, he went to the side he had practised, went high as he’d practiced but was six inches to high.  I can live with that.  The other four were rock solid and showed great technique under immense pressure and the hopes and dreams of everyone on their shoulders.

Saturday night was a great night for the lads to celebrate and that continued into Sunday afternoon and Sunday night.  For me, I’m still unsure as to what we have achieved over the last season, as a club, really has sunk in.  Already though, only days later, I want to be back involved and don’t know what to do with myself.  I’m certainly looking forward to what will be a great night on the 17th May at Ribby Hall and in the meantime, will go and watch some play off games with the knowledge that I can relax, enjoy and watch other teams go through the mill in terms of emotion.

The hard work for me starts now though in terms of pre-season, recruitment etc.  We also have everything crossed in terms of positive news in terms of the new development and hopefully by the time we return for pre season, permission will have been granted and a new ground and facility will be not only on the horizon but within touching distance for the club.  I came here to take this club into that new stadium, we’ve achieved two promotions which has put us at a level that that type of facility deserves and I hope more than anything a positive outcome off the field allows that to happen.

Finally, thank you to everyone who turned up on Saturday, our fans, Ashton’s, neutrals, fans from other clubs visiting Kellamergh Park for the first time.  Hopefully, aside from the disappointment of the outcome from Ashton fans, everyone had a great day and we certainly hope to see you back at KP very soon.