Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman hailed a team effort as they secured promotion to Sky Bet League One for the first time in their history with a 2-0 win over Yeovil.
On a historic day at the Wham Stadium, a quickfire double from fans’ favourite Billy Kee sent unfancied Stanley, who have one of the lowest budgets in League Two, into the third tier.
It was Coleman’s fourth promotion in two spells with the Reds - he has led them all the way from the UniBond First Division and now into League One.
They are still going for the title but Coleman wanted to reflect on an emotional night.
“It’s been a tough season,” said the Stanley boss. “We lost one of our apprentices Jordan Moseley, one of our former directors John Demaine died last week and we wouldn’t be where we are now without him.
“And it’s my late dad’s 91st birthday and you would like to think he played a part.
“You can’t help but get emotional, but it’s all about the players. They were fantastic against Yeovil, it was 2-0 but it could have been 16-0 as we really turned on the style in the second half.
“The fans have come out in their numbers and I am delighted for them as well.
“The whole team, and staff, have worked so hard and we have got our rewards. We will give it a good go in League One, it is a massive achievement. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
Sean McConville, who missed out in the play-offs in 2011 and 2016 with the Reds, hailed it as “the biggest achievement of my career”.
“It’s unbelievable, we have an amazing set of lads here,” said the midfielder.
“We said at the start of the season we wanted to get promotion and a lot of people might not have believed us but we certainly believed it.
“It’s huge for me, it’s the biggest achievement of my career. We have a great, talented bunch of lads here and I am so pleased.”
Two goals in two minutes from Kee secured the three points which took the Reds over the line.
The striker headed home McConville’s corner from close range to put Stanley ahead after 26 minutes.
And two minutes later Kee was in the right place at the right time after Jordan Clark’s initial shot had been pushed out by Jonny Maddison.
It was Kee’s 25th goal of a memorable season, after he was voted League Two Player of the Year at the EFL Awards on Sunday night.