THE chairman of newly crowned Evo Stik Northern Premier League champions is hoping promotion will bring a change of fortune to Altrincham Football Club.

Grahame Rowley was speaking exclusively to the Messenger after the club clinched the title with a 2-0 win at Grantham.

Mr Rowley is hoping that the promotion back to the National League North(NLN) will turn the tide, which in the previous two seasons saw the team relegated from the National Conference and then from the NLN.

He said: “We had two relegations and it was a catastrophe for the club, but it is how you deal with relegation, whether you continue to decline or you can work to arrest it and are resolute in getting back up there.

“We have a strong supporter base and a strong board and we have invested in a decent manager in Phil Parkinson, who knew what was needed and we gave him a budget and he has managed it superbly.”

Mr Rowley, who was vice-chairman from 2002 and chairman since 2010, spoke of the flak he took after the double relegation.

He said: “When we went down, everybody was hurting and the fans were devastated and I personally got a lot of abuse and I am essentially a volunteer like many at the club.

“When things are going badly, it's sometimes easy to get that loser mentality and it is a test to see how you deal with it and turn it round.

“We have brought in new people and there is now strength and optimism and it not only good for the club but also for the town.

“You only have to take a walk around Altrincham to see how important this title is and everybody has been talking about it."

As champions, the club now faces the prospect next season of playing against teams including FC Utd, Blyth Spartans, York City and Chester.

Mr Rowley said: “We have a board meeting coming up at which we will discuss strategy and look at our income streams and as a club we have to capitalise on our fantastic success.

"Equally, it would be great if some of those people in the town could become involved in helping drive the club forward and anybody who would like to volunteer can come and talk to me.”

The leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Sean Anstee, added his congratulations to the team's success saying: “Huge congratulations are due to Altrincham FC on their well-earned promotion and the whole town will be behind them when the new season starts.

"Altrincham is thriving with a revitalised town centre, excellent schools, a planned new leisure centre and was recently voted one of the best places to live in the north.

"This promotion adds to the feelgood factor around the town and will help support its continued renaissance."