Cobblers defender Zander Diamond was overwhelmed by the feeling of becoming a champion on Saturday when he completed an ‘incredible’ two-year journey from final day survivor to League Two title winner.
Diamond was part of the Northampton team who beat Oxford United 3-1 on the final day of the 2013/14 campaign that kept the club in the Football League after a season-long battle against relegation.
Having then signed a three-year contract that summer, the Scotsman played 23 games last season before establishing himself as first-choice throughout this title-winning campaign as Town clinched the championship with a draw against Exeter City on Saturday.
It represents a dramatic transformation in fortunes for both the club and Diamond, who enjoyed the celebrations as much as anyone on Saturday having been put through the torture of a relegation dogfight just two years ago, let alone the financial turmoil which crippled the club before Christmas.
“It’s been a whirlwind but incredible two years,” he said afterwards.
“The emotions when we beat Oxford on the last day of the season to stay in the Football League compared to today, it’s just fantastic and overwhelming.
“All the off-field problems were well-documented, but we’ve stayed together as a team and as a unit, with the fans and staff who have been incredible.
“If you stick at it, you get the rewards. We’ve had a bit of luck along the way but I think you look at any championship winning sides, they get that.”
Cobblers will soon be switching their minds to League One football but not after they make the most of this season’s success, and Diamond plans to savour every moment.
He was smothered by many of the hundreds of Northampton fans who poured onto the pitch at Exeter’s St James Park once news of Oxford’s defeat to Luton filtered through, confirming the Cobblers as champions.
He added: “At the end, waiting on the pitch to hear results elsewhere, was fantastic and it will live with me forever because it’s a fantastic achievement and I hope every Cobblers fan goes and enjoys it.
“Only time will tell how we do next season but we haven’t even finished this season and I think supporters, staff and players must enjoy this and ride the crest of the wave when the good times are happening.
“To get promotion last week and then champions this week is incredible.
“I’m overwhelmed with everything, from where we’ve come from, and the players to a man have contributed week in, week out and it’s just fantastic.”