Yeovil Town manager Mark Cooper said he always had confidence he could build a squad capable of getting promoted back to the National League Premier at the first time of asking.

The Glovers’ boss saw his side win 3-1 against a Dartford side which headed out of National League South on Saturday and then lifted the division’s title on the pitch in front of a crowd of 5,701 at Huish Park.

He said he believed the squad needed to add “five or six really good players” if they wanted to compete in the top tier of the non-League game next season.

Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins and our own Ian Perkins after the game, he said: “Talk is cheap, but I knew if someone would give me the opportunity to put a squad together I knew I could do it. I have done it at every level in the National League. The owner (chairman Martin Hellier) came in and backed us to put a good squad together and we have done that and it just shows if people come to a club and you trust people who know what they are doing, not trust people that do not, you have a chance to succeed. If you get it wrong, you get relegated.”

Brooklyn Genesini 📸 Gary Brown

He added: “It means a lot because I felt a real sense of responsibility for the players that were here last season. I wanted a chance to build the club because I liked what I saw even in the dark times, I knew it could be a good club if we had the opportunity to build it. The owner put his money where his mouth is and has given us that chance. Those dark times have been lifted by the tremendous achievements of the players and fans, they have been amazing.

If you looked at our team at Braintree and Slough, the team on the pitch would be in a bottom tier budget. Without the likes of Alex Whittle, Jake Hyde, Rhys Murphy, Michael Smith, we had a lot of young players like Jahmari Clarke, Brooklyn Genesini, there were a lot of young players on the pitch. People will talk about our budget this season and it is alright having loads of money and being the favourites like Torquay were, but you have to make sure you use that money wisely. I think that is what we have done.”

Asked about how he felt about next season, he said: “It is a tough league. We have the nucleus of a good squad, I have had to be ruthless at times and do the best thing for the club. We need to sign five or six really good players that are going to complement the group we have because they deserve that.

On Saturday, Yeovil fell behind to an early goal from Dartford captain Luke Coulson, but were quickly back on level terms when Sam Pearson equalised before an own goal from the visitors’ Ronny Nelson and a second half tap in from Alex Fisher sealed the win.

Cooper said he was never worried despite going behind early, saying: “The goal was probably the best thing that could have happened, but I was never worried or panicky. I just trust the players implicitly to get it done.

It was an incredible football performance and we are going to play a lot more football if I have anything to do with it, I just think that is the way the game should be played. I do not want to make it a lottery, of course we are going to give balls away in rubbish areas at times but you see the amount of chances we created, we should have scored ten.

It was nice to go out with a nice, convincing win in our final home game and the scenes at the end I just said to the boys ‘it is a shame it is not like this every year, but let’s try and make this the thing.’

For Fisher, it was another chapter in his fairytale return following a horrific double leg break he suffered almost exactly a year earlier and the manager was full of praise for his striker. 

He said: “Fish has come back and scored some goals to get us over the line. He’s a great bloke, an experienced professional and he will enjoy that first promotion in England. These players have crossed over the line today, a lot of them have a (C) on their CVs which, as a manager, you look at these things when you ask ‘is he a winner?’ We know we have a few that can whether it is here or elsewhere that they do it, you can never take this promotion from them.”

The Glovers finish the season with a long journey to already relegated Dover Athletic on the final game of the season next weekend and Cooper is going to win.

He said: “I said on Thursday night (after the win over Truro which sealed the title), we were desperate to win this game and go out in style. We did that and we will be desperate to go to Dover and get three points. We might have an opportunity to play a few of the boys who are coming back from injury and freshen it up because you have some boys in there that ran 13km on Thursday and did it again today. We have some warriors in there, and we need to add to that in the summer, add wisely and get the right characters.


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