Title victory tops the lot for Garry

Chorley skipper Andy Teague with the NPL Premier Division trophy
Chorley skipper Andy Teague with the NPL Premier Division trophy
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Chorley manager Garry Flitcroft felt a tingle down his spine as he watched his players’ joyous celebrations at the final whistle on Saturday.

The Magpies covered themselves in glory as they clinched the NPL Premier Division title by beating Buxton 2-0 away in the final match of the season.

The victory ensured they finished ahead of second-placed FC United – who were 3-0 winners at Barwell – by just one point.

Chorley were roared on by more than 1,000 travelling supporters, who raced on to the pitch at the end of the game to congratulate their heroes.

“I just felt joy at the final whistle – just happy for everybody,” said Flitcroft. “My kids were there and there were loads of fans who had travelled.

“I was happy for the directors and the chairman – and the players obviously.

“It was great to see them celebrate on the pitch at the final whistle. That made it for me – they have worked so hard for me over the season.”

Flitcroft admits the occasion contributed to a nervy first-half performance by his men.

And there were a few twitches in the crowd when news filtered through that FC United had taken an early lead against Barwell.

However, star striker Josh Hine calmed the nerves with a goal shortly before half-time.

And the Magpies completed the job when Hine scored a second in the final moments of the match.

Flitcroft said: “It was quite a nervous performance. The pitch was really poor.

“The fans were brilliant before the game and the atmosphere was really loud.

“But as the first half went on, it went quite quiet but we managed to score just before half-time. I didn’t know what the score was in FC United’s game but I got told at half-time that they were winning.

“In the second half, to be fair, we battered Buxton and should have scored more.”

Although Flitcroft has played at the highest level with Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, the feeling he had when skipper Andy Teague lifted the championship trophy was as good as anything he has felt in the game.

“It’s different when you’re a manager as opposed to a player because you’re looking after 20 lads,” Flitcroft said.

“This feels like more of an achievement.

“I have been at the club four seasons now – had two promotions and another play-off semi-final when we missed out.

“We finished sixth last season when we had money pinched from the club, which affected us.

“It’s been four great years and I am really looking forward to next season now.”

Chorley’s reward for winning the title is promotion to the Conference North – and Flitcroft believes his men will have nothing to fear.

“If you look at the teams who went up from our division last season – North Ferriby United and Hednesford – they have been up near the top of the Conference all season,” Flitcroft said.

“We probably need to add three or four new players to the squad but I want to keep these lads together because we have got a great team spirit.”

The team is expected to enjoy a civic reception to celebrate their achievement this week.