ILKLEY Town have finally achieved their long-term dream, after promotion to the North West Counties League was confirmed.

With their Non-League status now set in stone, Simon Armstrong’s side will be relieved, after targeting promotion for several years.

Last year was going swimmingly for Town, sitting at the top of Step 7 and playing a brilliant brand of football.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the season was curtailed, leaving the 'Bahtatters' in limbo over the season's outcome.

The football gods have spoken though, and after years of trying, Town will deservedly take their place in the North Division 1, and here they will face the likes of Campion, Golcar United and Steeton.

Armstrong, who has done a fine job since taking over as first team manager in 2017, is thrilled with the FA's decision.

He said: "We are absolutely delighted that we've been promoted to Step 6.

"Like you say, it's a bit of a mixture of emotions, because obviously you've got that trepidation of are we going to go up, or are we not, I think we will do, or are we not going to know until it's announced.

"So, there is a mixture of feelings at the moment. We are absolutely delighted and looking forward to it, but there is also that feeling of relief, that thank goodness we've got there feeling.

"Obviously, your thoughts then turn to, right, there is a lot of work to do. The hard work starts now.

“It’s just now a case of let’s enjoy the moment, lets celebrate the moment and then tomorrow we need to get started because we want to put on a good show in Step 6.

“We want to show what a good side Ilkley Town are.”

After the season was curtailed, and Town sitting pretty at the table’s summit, Armstrong feels it’s what his side deserves.

He said: “It’s absolutely a fair reflection on what the side have done. It’s a great outcome for the coaching staff, the players but also the whole football club.

“There is a lot of people that have contributed to this success. It’s not just about the men’s first team, it’s about the whole infrastructure of the whole football club, and we’ve been trying to move it and push it forward for the last three or four years.

“And the men’s first team getting to Step 6 is the next part of that process, and it’s so important to recognise that it has been a club effort.”

Knowing that Step 6 will be a challenge for his side, Armstrong was adamant his side will still look to move forward.

He said: “Every season we try and move forward, we try and look at areas where we need to improve, and that’s not just personnel, it’s the way we play and the way we want to try and work on the pitch.

“We will be looking at all those things.

"There will definitely be recruitment, because we always like to freshen the squad, so I think we will be looking at four or even five new additions.”

Club Chairman Richard Giles also commented on the club's success.

He said:"This is an exciting new chapter for football in Ilkley.

"The club have made good progress in the last few years thanks to the hard work of many volunteers. The 4G pitch, built in 2017, was a game changer and has been the springboard for development of all aspects of the club.

"This is a tremendous achievement for the men's first team. We pride ourselves on being a community club and are really pleased we can represent our town on a bigger stage.

" The whole club is thriving. We have a strong and sustainable infrastructure which includes junior players, girls and women plus an increasing supporter base. The increased profile of the first team will benefit the whole club"