Southampton midfielder Dean Hammond says the hard work was worth it as he prepares for life in the Barclays Premier League.
The 29-year-old has secured back-to-back promotions with the Saints since joining the club from Colchester 18 months ago.
And now having played lower league football for much of his career, Hammond is setting his sights on a crack at the big time.
"I always we knew that we had the ambition that - with the chairman, the players and the manager - one day we'd get to the Premier League, and I wanted to be a part of that. We've achieved that now," he told the club's official website.
"Maybe it's a little bit before time and people probably didn't predict this, but we were confident that we could do something because the way the club is run is unbelievable.
"You want to play at the top level, against the top players and to test yourself against them - it's a dream. It shows all the hard work was worth it."