Tears of joy as Stockport County crowned champions and seal long-awaited return to Football League

As the referee pressed his whistle to his lips and blew for full time, the deafening roar of the Edgeley Park crowd could be heard throughout Stockport. After 11 long years, County have been promoted back to the Football League, bringing with it absolutely joyous scenes.

Thousands of fans in the ground, along with several who had gathered outside for the final few minutes of the game, piled onto the pitch and got the promotion party started. Flares in Stockport blue were let off, kids were hoisted onto shoulders and chants of ‘champione’ filled the air.

As music from local lads Blossoms blasted out of the PA system, fans were asked to leave the pitch to allow the trophy ceremony to take place. It wasn’t until about half an hour after the conclusion of the 2-0 win that fans eventually started to leave.

READ MORE : Stockport County script the perfect ending to turn Football League dream into reality

The title win is just the second in 55 years after a miserable descent through the leagues in the 2000s. Some of the younger fans will not remember County in the Football League but you could see how much it meant to supporters of all generations.

Flares are let off as fans invade the pitch

Outside the ground, one man was stood in silence taking it all in, others had happy tears in their eyes, but the majority had beaming grins that you imagine it will be very difficult to get rid of. As he made his way out of the stadium, Sam Joddrell, 21, said: “This is everything, honestly.

“I’ve seen us through so much s*** and this is just indescribable. I’ve been following them my whole life, I’m 21 now and my dad took me since I was a kid.

“It’s the best day I’ve seen. We had the Bolton game in the FA Cup as well but honestly this is unreal.”

Sam Joddrell and Morgan Pryce celebrate outside Edgeley Park
Sam Joddrell and Morgan Pryce celebrate outside Edgeley Park

Friend Morgan Pryce, also 21, added: “I started coming at 15 and this is best feeling ever.”

Meanwhile some fans’ contributions were even more to the point. “You can quote me on this, f***ing get in”, one screamed while pulling on both ends of his Stockport County scarf.

Father and son Richard and Dougie Legg were both dressed in club merchandise and sporting massive smiles as they left the ground. Both fancied the Hatters’ chances of pushing on and climbing through the leagues.

Richard and Dougie Legg are all smiles after Stockport County's promotion
Richard and Dougie Legg are all smiles after Stockport County’s promotion

Richard, 58, said: “I used to come as a kid with my dad. Today’s at the top. It’s a great feeling being back in the league.”

Dougie added: “It’s amazing. It’s everything and we’re going to go so much further. I only got into football four years ago but it’s been amazing watching the comeback story so I’m excited to see what comes next.”

The fact that County are essentially swapping league places with Oldham Athletic makes it a bittersweet day for Greater Manchester football as a whole but for the town of Stockport and Dave Challinor’s side, the future looks incredibly bright. After a second promotion in just four seasons, fans will be dreaming of doing this all over again next year.

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