Starting out at Cove Rangers two decades ago Keith Moorhouse felt he had to be ambitious, despite those who might have questioned him.
Taking over as chairman at the club on the outskirts of Aberdeen, he wanted it to stretch itself. Not beyond its own capabilities, but to strive for upper-echelons and new surroundings.
The trophies have kept rolling in – he recalls 24 during his tenure – and a new home, the Balmoral Stadium which will welcome the likes of Stenhousemuir, Stirling Albion and Elgin City next season.
But the one tick-box left unchecked was becoming a Scottish league club. Until Saturday afternoon.
Moorhouse said: “It means everything to me. It’s one of the goals I set when I joined the club 20 years ago. I can’t really explain into words what it means to me and to everyone connected with the club.
“They still think I’m crazy. You’ve got to set goals and stretch yourself. We set three goals back then: a trophy per season, new stadium and the Scottish leagues. In my 20 years as a chairman we’ve won 24 trophies, got a new stadium and now we’re in the league. But of course I’m not going to step down – how can you with these guys?
“Without a shadow of doubt it’s my best day at the club, by a million miles. Last year was incredibly low – this year is incredibly high. The way it happened last year, it made everybody stronger. You saw it on Saturday. They deserve it. They’ve played at a level we’ve never played at before.
“I’m proud of everyone – the fans were brilliant. It was probably the best away support we’ve had. It’s definitely the best day in my football life by a mile.”
A huge ally in his bid to achieve phase three of Project Cove has been John Sheran, involved with the club for more than a decade during two spells as manager. Stints away with Montrose and Peterhead afforded him the chance to try his arm in the SPFL but there was a feeling that only in taking Cove up would it feel truly special.
News of his heart attack on April 21 struck those inside the club hard. Players and staff that had become so attached to Sheran would have to come through the biggest games in their history without him. His appearance by the dugout close to the final whistle on Saturday – with doctors’ permission – was greeted with “one John Sheran” choruses from the vocal Cove support.
He now has an untouchable place in Cove’s history and only time will tell whether he opts to take a step back from the limelight.
Moorhouse added: “We’ve had informal chats about it but once the dust settles, we’ll have an open and honest conversation, like the ones we’ve had over the last 10 years. There’s a place at Cove whether it be in the technical area or behind the scenes.
“John is a big character and has a huge influence on a lot things at the club. That will not change. He’ll be here in one shape or form.”
East Kilbride were swept aside and Berwick dumped into the Lowland League, where East Stirlingshire were condemned in 2016. With his three main goals ticked off, it is time for Moorhouse to add a fourth to the list.
He said: “The playing squad is full of players who’ve played at a higher level. We will strengthen. The boys that have come in have all been at a higher level and we’ve got to prepare for the next step.
“It’s great to be a League 2 club – I can’t keep the smile off my face.”