Graham Alexander insists Fleetwood Town can continue to prove the doubters wrong after securing a sixth promotion in a decade.
Antoni Sarcevic’s 75th-minute free-kick was enough to beat Burton Albion at Wembley and send Town yet another step up the fooball pyramid.
And Alexander insists their continuing rise is far from unsustainable,
He said: “I think people are starting to believe you can go through the leagues this quickly. Ten years ago this club was playing in front of 80 people five tiers below the Football League.
“If we haven’t proven people wrong already, then I don’t know what will.
“Nobody has a God-given right to success. You’ve just got to work hard along the way and prove people wrong.”
Alexander, who won promotion in his first full season as Fleetwood boss, paid tribute to chairman Andy Pilley after giving the club owner the perfect birthday gift.
He said: “It’s all down to the ambition of the chairman. When he bought the club he set out a vision. It’s what he spoke to me about on the first day I came. It was always made clear there was no glass ceiling we couldn’t smash through.
“It’s always been about proving to people that you can do this with a lot of people pulling in the same direction.You have to have that ambition. It’s not always easy. We’ve had some tough times but I believe we’ve deserved promotion.”
And the Fleetwood manager is relieved he won’t have to buy Pilley a birthday card.
He said:”I spoke the the chairman when we picked up the trophy and I haven’t seen him since. It’s his birthday as well, so I’m sure it’s a double celebration for him.
“Given what he’s done over the last 10 years it been a good day. I’m sure when we do sit down it will be a good conversation. I just hope the trophy was a good enough present.”
Alexander was a Wembley winner as a player with Burnley in 2009.
To repeat the feat as a manager was an unforgettable experience for the boss.
It’s one to add to any number of magical moments in a career spanning more than 20 years.
“Its right up there,” said Alexander. “Everyone works so hard for every success in football. Everyone has worked so hard this year. It doesn’t mean anything more as a manager than as a player.
“But the players, the supporters, the staff have all played a part in getting the club to the next level.”
Now the questions begin as to whether Fleetwood will be able to survive in League One, facing the likes of Sheffield United and Preston North End.
Alexander is quietly confident in his squad.
He said: “I’d like to think we can do well. It will be tough, without a doubt, but we’ve already beaten some League One clubs this year, including Rotherham, who are now in the Championship.
“We know we can compete but doing it over 46 games is going to be a tough task.
“We’ll work hard every single day. We’re not making any promises or predictions but we’ll go up to compete. But let’s just enjoy today first.”
And he revealed plans had already begun for Town’s bid to move up once more.
Alexander told The Gazette: “We’ve been planning but it’s all been a little bit vague because we’ve not known where we’ll be.
“We’ll have to get started soon now because we’re three weeks behind a few other teams. I might have a few beers. I’ve not had any in about 10 months, then we’ll think about the work again.”