Images by: Sean Doyle

Boss Ash Connor says newly-promoted Golcar United will go into next season with optimism and won’t be moving into the higher division simply to make up the numbers.

Connor, who jointly manages the team with his brother Gav, last weekend celebrated promotion from the North West Counties Division One North. The Weavers beat Holker Old Boys 2-1 in the play-off final in a dramatic end to the season.

The league will decide next month whether Golcar are promoted to the North West Counties Premier Division or the Northern Counties East League Premier Division – the same division as local rivals Emley AFC.

On the plan for next season Connor said: “We will take a small break now. It’s been a long, intense season with many hours being put in. I am so happy we got promoted but before thoughts turn to next season fully it is time for a break. We’ll then come back in June ready to go again.

“Although we aren’t sure of our league at the moment I can say this: whichever league we are in we aren’t going in there to make up the numbers.

“I said right at the beginning of this season that we were going for promotion and my aim for next season, even though we’re in a higher league, is no different. Yes, I understand we won’t gain promotion every year but I want us to aim high and I believe in this squad.

Ash Connor celebrates with his players

“They are a great bunch of lads and we have created a good dressing room. I feel these lads deserve the chance to play for us in the league we are going into.

“Many of them have played at this level in the past and so I think it would be disrespectful of me to say we are going to bring loads of new lads in.”

Looking back at the promotion celebrations in Cumbria, Connor said: “It was a long trip up there and our preparations had gone perfectly. We had done everything just right. The whole day was just magical and the scenes at the end were so special.

READ MORE: How Golcar United celebrated promotion in style

“When Ben Burnett got his goal it was fantastic, he’s a brilliant lad and whilst he’s not been a part of every game he has made a big difference to this club over a number of years.

“He scored the goal to win us the West Riding League which got us into semi-pro football. He scored the first goal for us as a semi-pro club, he then scored our first ever goal in the FA Vase Trophy and now he scored the goal to win us promotion. So you could say he loves scoring big goals at big moments!

Ben Burnett (left) celebrates on the run after scoring the promotion clincher

“I didn’t think the scenes against AFC Blackpool in the semi-final could be topped. However, they certainly were against Holker. For us to go and beat them in their own backyard was a huge achievement.

“It’s the best way to go up and I was so pleased we ended the season like we have. Everyone at the club deserves this from the players to the staff and fans.

“The volunteers deserve it too. I am so pleased for Ben Senior, Peter Gledhill, Ian Whitehead and Andy Naylor.

READ MORE: How the fans celebrated and had their pictures taken with the play-off trophy

“They probably have more than 150 years of combined service to Golcar United. There are other volunteers who deserve a mention too like Lee Morris, who sorts all the ticketing, and Mal Johnson who is at the ground improving the facilities every day. His work doesn’t go unnoticed by the management or the players.

READ MORE: Meet Golcar’s dedicated band of volunteers

“We are one big family at Golcar United. We look after each other and we’ll continue to do that.”

Ben Senior, Peter Gledhill, Ian Whitehead and Andy Naylor – the trustees at Golcar United

Golcar chairman Peter Gledhill described what the club had achieved in just three seasons as a semi-professional club as nothing short of a “miracle.”

He said the North West Counties League took them on when “we had no facilities and a sloping pitch.”

READ MORE: How Joe Skarz shared a promotion moment with his dad

Golcar were given timeframes to make improvements and they achieved every one ahead of target. Last year the grading panel approved the Skye Direct Stadium for promotion to the next level – should it be secured.

It was, of course, and Mr Gledhill said: “We’ve come from absolutely nowhere to somewhere and it’s a miracle. It’s what you dream of doing and to get there is like a fairytale.

“We have to plan the next step now. I don’t think there will be great changes for next season. I think we need to add three or four players to the squad but there will be nothing major in terms of a complete overhaul.”

READ MORE: Relive the ‘absolute scenes’ as Golcar won play-off semi-final on penalties