For the first time in their 106-year history, Harrogate Town is a member of the Football League.
A 3-1 win over Notts County at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon secured a place in next season’s League Two and left Town supporters pinching themselves at their club’s rapid rise in recent seasons.
For years, Harrogate’s biggest footballing claim to fame has been the considerable number of ex-Premier League and Leeds United players living in the town, with England manager Gareth Southgate our most famous resident.
But after winning a second promotion in three years, Simon Weaver and his side will now be mixing with the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City next season after becoming the newest members of the Football League.
Were it not for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the squad would be taking an open-top bus around town to show off their trophy. These celebrations will have to wait, as will the actual football for a while, with the club having to start the season playing at Doncaster Rovers while they replace their artificial pitch in order to meet Football League standards.
When life does return to normal and fans are again allowed to attend sporting events, Town’s newfound status should provide a real boost to our region. Travelling fans will pack out local bars and hotels, while the club itself will enjoy a huge injection of cash which will help them to cement their place in the community and allow them to continue their recent excellent work around youth football.
At a time when everyone needs a boost, Town have done just that and shown the footballing world there’s more to Harrogate than tea-rooms.