Boss Keith Hill hailed "an exceptional day" after Rochdale secured their first promotion since 1969 with a 1-0 victory over Northampton at Spotland.
Chris O'Grady netted the only goal to spark celebrations with what was Dale`s first victory in five games.
"I will probably only realise what this means to me when my career is over," said Hill.
"From an achievement point of view, this is what we set out to achieve three-and-a-half-years ago," added the Dale boss. "We've done everything now - we've been to Wembley, been in the play-offs and now we've been promoted.
"The players have been brave all season because at the start of the campaign nobody was giving us a chance.
"Our remit was to finish in the top 10. The fans didn't turn up in the early part of the season but they have turned up in numbers recently.
"It was an exceptional day with the players showing a lot of bravery and the supporters a lot of patience. We want to take that type of support into next season."
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