Crewe boss Steve Davis was in a relegation battle six months ago but on Sunday he celebrated promotion to npower League One.
The club were languishing in 18th place when former Alex, Stoke and Burnley defender Davis took over in November. But a 19-match unbeaten end to the season culminated in a 2-0 play-off final victory over Cheltenham at Wembley.
"When I came the chairman told me to get us safe," Davis revealed. "If we were to drop out of this league the Academy could suffer, so it was important we stayed in the division initially. But with results came confidence, the team got better."
"The players started playing closer to their potential and 19 games unbeaten is a fantastic achievement for a young group," he added.
Crewe had nine Academy graduates in their starting line-up including Nick Powell, the 18-year-old forward who lit up Wembley with a wonder strike. Powell looks destined for the top flight this summer with Manchester United believed to be leading the race for his signature.
And he showed why Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to splash around £4million on him with a sublime turn and stunning shot from the edge of the area to give his side the lead.
Powell was modest about his cracker, claiming: "I just whacked it to be honest." He added: "I just want to enjoy this with the boys and celebrate, I'm not concentrating on the future."
Cheltenham will look back on a host of missed chances to equalise, with Jeff Goulding rattling the bar moments after Powell struck.
They were also denied by goal-line clearances from Powell and Ashley Westwood and goalkeeper Steve Phillips kept Kaid Mohamed at bay after the break. Crewe made sure of victory eight minutes from time when Byron Moore exchanged passes with AJ Leitch-Smith before slotting in number two.
Cheltenham manager Mark Yates said: "We created chance after chance, but when we had two in 10 seconds cleared off the line it probably wasn't going to be our day."