Gary Mills revealed his satisfaction at delivering phase one of Gateshead’s dream of promotion back to the Football League, then called for focus to complete the task.
Not since 1960, when Gateshead were voted out of the Football League via the old re-election rule, have the Tynesiders plied their trade so high up the English game’s pyramid.
Having secured their highest Conference finish, the Heed are now just 180 minutes from a Wembley showpiece which could take them back to the promised land.
Gateshead triumphed 2-0 against Cambridge United on Saturday to climb to third and set up a play-off clash with Grimsby Town.
Goals from Colin Larkin and Rob Ramshaw secured the victory which means they earned the right to stage the second leg on home soil.
The first leg takes place on Thursday night (7.45pm) at Blundell Park before the crunch second leg unfolds next Sunday (4.30pm) at the International Stadium.
It could see another bumper crowd turn out in a bid to roar Gateshead to Wembley.
Mills, though, is taking things one step at a time.
Gateshead were closer to the relegation zone when he took over in October – but he has transformed their fortunes.
“I’m so pleased. My beer tasted even nicer on Saturday night!” Mills (below) told The Journal.
“It’s been hard work. I came here in September and challenged the players to get here.
“Whether they thought I was daft or not I don’t know. I’ve proved to them I wasn’t.
“They have proved to me they have what it takes.”
Gateshead have ended the regular season with a 12-game unbeaten run.
They set up this victory thanks to an 18th-minute goal from Larkin. The Irishman powered his way to the left-hand byline on Saturday before whipping the ball into the danger area – only for the cross to swerve towards goal and beat Adam Smith from what looked like an impossible angle.
Larkin then hit the post before the break.
Cambridge continued to look dangerous, though, and Jamie Chandler hooked an effort from Andy Pugh off the line.
However, the play-off place was sealed when John Oster’s corner caused havoc with nine minutes left.
Ryan Noble forced Smith into a fine stop but Ramshaw followed up to smash home a second and send the 2,916 crowd into raptures.
It secured a play-off spot for the first time at Conference level for Gateshead and Mills added: “I love breaking records. It means you are doing things well. Now we have two games to get ourselves to Wembley.”
Mills paid tribute to Graham Wood, saying: “The chairman of this football club is fantastic.
“He’s a football man, but first and foremost he’s salt of the earth.”