Lesser players would have snapped. That is the view of Hartley Wintney’s title winning joint boss after a weekend of celebration.
After winning the Combined Counties League at a canter last season, heartache was ahead.
They were not allowed up because they modest Row home wasn’t up to scratch. It hurt, and suggestions that the successful team would break up started to surface.
They were faced with doing it all over again this season and there was a fear in the camp that last year’s event may have had a negative effect.
Instead, the bitter pill they were forced to swallow acted only to inspire.
They are on for a record points haul and the good news? Hartley’s ground is this year good enough for promotion.
Joint manager Daniel Brownlie said: “There is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment this year because it’s been a complete club effort.
“The heartache of not being promoted last year could have broken many,” he added.
“But the whole club both on and off the field rallied and everyone stepped up their game.”
The team were crowned champions this weekend, a week after they blew up unexpectedly.
But a 0-0 draw with ten men at Chertsey Town secured the point they needed to take the crown that has been theirs in reality for some time.
It’s promotion but into where, well they won’t know that for at least a month.
Southern League Central is their most likely destination but until the FA meet they can’t be sure.
“We are just happy to win back to back titles and to finally be allowed up!” added Brownlie.