Victorious Ebbsfleet United manager Daryl McMahon thanked club owner Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi in the aftermath of his side’s victory over Chelmsford City for the belief shown in him as the boss delivered promotion on home soil.
“A shout-out to the owner,” McMahon told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole, “who’s been superb in supporting me and believing in me probably at the start of the season when other people maybe didn’t, along with Peter Varney, that we would get this right and I’m glad for him to see this today.”
The Fleet boss said he never doubted his players could claw their way back into a game they were just 17 minutes from losing.
“The players showed fantastic character and a real belief. We spoke at half-time that we’d done it before against Welling when we were down to 10 men for an hour.
“We’re the fittest team in the league, we’ve got fantastic footballers and we thought we could keep the ball away from them 10 v 11. We’ve practiced many times in training, especially in pre-season and the extra man doesn’t count as much if we keep the ball. Obviously we changed shape to go to a diamond in midfield in the second-half to get Jack on. We all know how good Jack is and I thought he had a big big impact on the game.”
“You can see that from the second-half performance by the players. I believed and they believed and they made the ground believe. When we went 1-0 down or even before we went 1-0 down that little 10-minute period before they scored, we still moved the ball quite well, got a corner, had a couple of little opportunities to get the crowd up singing again and I thought we just grew and grew and grew into it. They were brilliant, the fans. they’ve been brilliant all season. If ever any team deserves to go up, it’s this team.”
Surrounded by jubilant Fleet fans at the final whistle, McMahon reiterated the club’s togetherness on and off the field. “It’s great for the fans to enjoy this day. That’s what’s so good about it. We’ve all been through it together. As a manager and my players, we don’t go hiding. They never have and on the biggest of occasions today everyone turned up and performed when your backs are against the wall. I think as a club moving forward now we can draw strength just from today, let alone the whole season. Today showed the character of the football club.
“We’ve been on a great run and we’ve believed all the way through. The season’s very long, you forget about that sometimes as well. We were top from September, October last season and finished up getting beat on penalties but I think we believed all the way through we’d have a team that would be competitive and it turned out that way.”
As to his personal feelings, the Fleet boss was still trying to process it all. “I think I was fine when you’re at the side and the game’s going on but when the final whistle went, I think I was drained then. Elated, but drained. I think I probably over-celebrated the goals. It feels brilliant. It’ll probably take a little bit to settle in because they’re quite odd these games, aren’t they? I’m delighted for the players and everyone involved at the club.”
And as to his plans for Fleet’s first assault on the National League in five years, Macca was more vague. “I’ll probably get drunk for a couple of days then think about it!”
Listen to the full interview below.