Steve Cotterill revealed he set Notts County the "mammoth task" of winning the League Two title the first time he met them.
The Magpies were seventh and 14 points behind then league leaders Rochdale when Cotterill took over as manager in February. But County achieved that goal with two games to spare after an emphatic 5-0 win at Darlington on Tuesday night.
"It was one of our hopes and aims," said Cotterill. "It's been a mammoth task and the players have been nothing short of first-class and they have got their just rewards."
He added: "I remember the first meeting with the players. I think they probably looked at me and thought I was crazy because we were 14 points behind. But we have inched forward and chipped away at those sides above us. All of the credit must go to the players because they are an unbelievable set of boys with a terrific closeness.
"Nights like this don't come around often and it is a night for the players to celebrate what they have achieved because they deserve it.
"We didn't celebrate when we got promotion and I felt a bit bad about that. We watched Rochdale celebrate going up. But these players wanted badly to win the league and now that they have achieved that it is their time and their moment."
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