Harrogate Town owner Irving Weaver revealed his pride in seeing the club he bought in 2011 battling for promotion despite a dream rise into the National League North falling at the second to last fence at the weekend.
AFC Fylde ended Town’s hopes of a leap into the highest tier of non league football over two legs this week, earning a place in this weekend’s showpiece final with a 2-1 aggregate win.
Weaver was naturally disappointed at watching his club managed, by his son Simon, come up perilously short.
However, he pointed to the increase in support home and away in declaring that Harrogate now has a “proper football club” on Wetherby Road.
Weaver said: “I am disappointed but not down and certainly we will build on this. With this fan base, we can take this forward.
“I am always envious of teams like Boston. They’ve been in the league and have a proper fanbase, but we are getting one now.
“There are people in Harrogate that are into football. We are catching them. Hopefully they will stay with us next year and if we can keep building it, then we will not slip back.”
Lethal striker Danny Rowe gave the west coast outfit a slender advantage in last Wednesday’s first leg before Sam Finley’s 25-yard wondergoal made Town’s mission even tougher.
A goal from Dom Knowles saw Town hit back almost immediately but their efforts to score a crucial second went fruitless in the ensuing 75 minutes.
Finley’s strike has since gone viral on the internet with more than 800,000 views on social media.
It needed such a strike to beat goalkeeper Peter Crook who was Town’s star man over the course of the two legs.
Devastated boss Simon Weaver admitted the defeat would be tough to take for all involved and insisted the bulk of the squad will remain in place next season.
The gaffer said: “I don’t there will be any massive overhaul. It’ll just be building what we’re good at, We will do what we think will get us over that line.
“February we were looking at automatic promotion then we got a couple of injuries and we didn’t quite have the plan b within the goalscoring to get over the line. We have to sort that out.”