PAUL Sheerin, the man who led Arbroath to their first ever championship, told his players as they celebrated their title: “You will all go down in history.”
The boss, in his first season in football management, has taken the club from having two signed players and no assistant manager when he first joined last June to league champions with two games still to spare.
And despite turning around the fortunes of the Lichties, he dedicated the championship win to all of the supporters and people connected with the club who have been waiting for this moment for their entire lives.
At full-time the manager, who could hardly contain his delight, said: “Legends is a term that is bandied about a bit but we will now definitely go down in the history books as the first group of players to win a title at Arbroath.
“Considering the first quarter of the season we had and the run we have gone on since, I think we are worthy of our title.
“It has just been a great day for the club and for people like the chairman, Mike Caird and others who have been at the club for 20 to 30 years it is great for them to now see trophies coming to the club.”
Another man Mr Sheerin was quick to pay tribute to was his assistant Stewart Petrie and says he also deserves a lot of the credit for such a successful season.
“It is a big achievement for me personally to win a title in my first season in management but I certainly couldn’t have done it without ‘SP’,” he added.
“It was Dick Campbell at Forfar who suggested I speak to him and I knew him from playing against him but that was it.
“Dick gave me his number and then we got together and realised we both wanted to do the same thing.
“So there is no doubt this is just as important for him as he has always been on the touchline while I’m playing.”
Once the celebrations are over, Mr Sheerin will be no doubt plotting his assault on the Second Division.
And now the task for him is to try and keep the champions of 2010/11 on board for the new campaign.
He said: “I hope that the group of players we have got here will stay but who knows what will happen.
“I’m sure some of them will have generated a lot of interest throughout the season with their performances.
“It has been a real squad effort and someone who deserves a lot of credit is Kevin McMullen who has been outstanding.
“He has worked hard and just consistently wants to do well.”
Meanwhile, chairman John Christison described the historic day as “absolutely fantastic” and hopes the club’s first trophy will begin an era of success at Gayfield.
He explained: “It has just been too nerve racking and it is just surreal and hard to come to terms with.
“It has been such a great weekend, and I feel so proud and happy, not just for the players or the club but also for the town.
“It’s great to think that 2011 will be remembered as a double celebration as the Year of the Light and the year Arbroath won their first championship.
“It was great to see a crowd of more than 2,000 and amazing to see so many happy and smiling faces at the end.”
Like the manager, Mr Christison is already looking forward to next season and hopes the championship is just a sign of things to come.
He added: “We have got a good a chance as anybody next season in Division Two so there is nothing to say we can’t be successful again.
“We are ready to go up all the way to the Premier League, if we could.”
But despite Arbroath clearly winning the race for the championship they still have to contend with a trip to Annan Athletic tomorrow (Saturday) in their last away match of the season.
And even though the Lichties have wrapped up the title the manager says they still want to finish the season with good results, which could see them break the 70 points barrier and also finish top goalscorers in Scotland.
He explained: “We still have a lot to play for and a few more goals would see us finish top goalscorers in the country so scoring a few more would be nice.
“We want to finish on a high and get to 70 points if possible and the boys are still up for it.”
Keith Gibson will miss the clash through suspension as will long term injury lay-off Alan Rattray.
Mr Sheerin added: “We were training again on Wednesday night after I gave the boys Monday night off.
“But even though we have won the title we still want to spoil other people’s party.”