A fan as much as the Manager of his beloved Dagenham & Redbridge, John Still was ecstatically happy after seeing his team beat Rotherham United 3-2 at Wembley to clinch promotion to Coca-Cola League 1 through the Play-Offs just three years after becoming a Football League club for the first time in their history.

Still, a life-long Daggers supporter and a former player for the club, said: "I was alright before and during the game, but at the end I got very emotional because the club's really important to me.

"If I wasn't Manager of the team today I'd have been one of those nutters on the terraces jumping up and down when the referee blew the (final) whistle."

Still has done a truly tremendous job in what is his second stint as the Daggers boss, rejoining the club in 2004 - against what he says what was his better judgement, though not his wife Barbara's - to inspire what he calls the "fairy story" of their remarkable rise against a background of limited resources.

"I was on holiday in Cyprus when the Chairman (Dave Andrews) range me and said they were in a bit of trouble financially and did I want to come back and manage the club through a difficult spell - and I said 'No.'

"I'd just come away from Bristol Rovers and had one or two other opportunities, and I have to thank my wife because she said, 'That's your team, I think you should do it.'

"So I flew back while she lay in the sun. When I met the chairman he said to me, 'We've got to stay in the Conference' - and I remind him of that every day!"

Still's days are now set to be spent preparing for life in League 1, where 10 years after playing in the Ryman League against the likes of Heybridge Swifts and Canvey Island the Daggers will be facing Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton among others.

"I'm sure that (Wednesday Manager) Mr Irvine and (Saints boss) Mr Pardew will be quaking in their boots," said Still. "We'll be the biggest favourites ever to be relegated from that League, but we keep turning over the page of our fairy story and hopefully we can turn another page to keep within that level of competition."

Still is aiming to bolster his squad, only one of whom from Sunday's line-up - £10,000 left back Damien McCrory - cost any money, ahead of next season.

Whether the fairy story will indeed see another page turned remains to be seen, but Still will take into League 1 with him the best wishes of Sunday's defeated Manager at Wembley, Ronnie Moore.

"Losing's very hard to take," said Moore, "but I'm pleased for John who's a good mate. It's unbelievable what he's achieved and I wish him all the best next season."

Moore must pick up the pieces of his team's disappointment and aim next term to do what he did 10 years ago for the Millers, lead them out of the bottom division.

"It wasn't our day today, we didn't get the breaks," he said of a pulsating Final in which his team twice came from behind but could not recover a third time following what proved to be the 70th minute winner by Jon Nurse.

"It's a massive disappointment, my biggest as a Manager, and it's a horrible feeling at the moment. We can't feel sorry for ourselves though, we've got to move on and there's no reason why we can't be successful next season."

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