‘The surge of pure joy, when the referee blew the final whistle, will remain with me for ever’

21 May 2012 @ 9.55 pm
| Sport

We're going up! York City celebrate promotion to the Football League. Photographs: YorkMix
Lifelong fan Robert Beaumont endures the longest 48 minutes of his life to watch York City gain promotion back to the Football League in the play-off final against Luton Town at Wembley

If last week’s FA Trophy victory was memorable and emotional, then yesterday’s defeat of Luton (horrible, horrible Luton) was something else completely. With perfect symmetry it was the climax of the finest week in York City’s history.

Eight years of pain in the Conference, caused partly the disgraceful regime of Douglas Craig, are over and we are a Football League club again. How wonderful to be able to say that. The surge of pure joy, when the referee blew the final whistle, will remain with me for ever.

It had all started so badly. Once again Gary Mills had sprung a selection surprise, dropping FA Trophy hero Paddy McLaughlin and playing three defenders in midfield. Within a minute we were a goal down.

But City’s reaction was amazing. We bombarded the Luton goal and could easily have scored, notably with a brilliant Walker header, before Ashley Chambers’ stunning strike. Then Matty Blair does what Matty Blair does best, he scores a goal that shapes our season yet again.

Cue a Luton bombardment and the longest 48 minutes of my life. Eleven heroes stemmed the tide with Oyebanjo, Ingham and skipper Chris Smith utterly outstanding. They defended immaculately and ensured our beloved club was back where we belong.

We owe a massive debt of gratitude to Gary Mills. He has transformed York City and done so by playing attractive and often scintillating football.

Thank you Gary and thank you Jason and Sophie, without whom there might well not be a York City – or days like these.

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Gaffer and skipper: manager Gary Mills and captain Chris Smith
Saints alive: the Minstermen pass St Helen's Church on their victory parade
Cheer we go: City fans gathered at the Mansion House
"We are going up, I said we are going up!"
Wembley at the double: City's twin trophies
Matty Blair, right, scorer of the winning goal against Luton, and stalwart Danny Parslow with the silverware
Dead and buried: former Luton player Jason Walker, left, enjoys the message
Chair's cheer: City chairman Jason McGill celebrates promotion
Hard hat: club joker, goalie Michael Ingham, tries on the cup for size
Ashley Chambers, BBC commentator and CIty fan Guy Mowbray and club communications supremo Sophie McGill share a joke
We made it: the Minstermen reach the Mansion House for the Lord Mayor's reception

The stars tweet…