Cunny on cloud nine!

Colne boss Steve Cunningham celebrates winning the North West Counties Premier Division title
Colne boss Steve Cunningham celebrates winning the North West Counties Premier Division title

Colne boss Steve Cunningham was “in dreamland” after guiding the Reds to the North West Counties Premier Division title.

The Reds won 1-0 at 1874 Northwich on Saturday to make title rivals Runcorn Linnets’ 4-0 success at Padiham irrelevant.

And Cunningham admitted it was one of the proudest days of his life.

Cunningham, who played for Atherton LR, Salford City and Colne, among others, helped Padiham win the NWC Premier Division two years ago as assistant manager, before returning to the XLCR Stadium in October 2013, and he said: “Saturday was unbelievable.

“It was better than my wedding day, and the only day that beats it is the birth of my two children.

“I’m still in dreamland and I think most of us are still out from Saturday night.

“We took 250 fans to the game, which in itself is incredible, the emotion showed by the players and their families really showed the significance of the occasion, and I’m delighted now to be an Evo-Stik manager.”

Colne only suffered four defeats in 42 league games, as they ended the season with 100 points.

Cunningham had backed his players from the outset to claim the title, and the only promotion place for the Evo-Stik First Division North, and he added: “This division is the toughest to get out of in the non-league game due to the fact that only one team can go up.

“I said from day one that I’d win the league in three years, and I’ve done it in two.

“When I saw the team I’d assembled in the summer, I had no doubt that we’d be champions come May.

“On Saturday all of my talking was backed up.

“Losing four from 42 says it all, and before postponements kicked in over Christmas, we were top and rarely moved from the summit.

“We were playing catch up in terms of fixtures, but in my eyes it was always in our hands.

“We’ve had an unbelievable season and before it kicked off our aim was to win the league.

“We’re going to enjoy ourselves.”