Pic: Andy Nunn
TOOTING & MITCHAM may have won only their second league title since 1960, but manager Frank Wilson has no plans to stop there.
The Terrors were worthy Ryman South champions – winning the league with defeat against eventual runners up Dorking Wanderers on the final day of the season took none of the gloss off their achievement.
Tooting knew they had to avoid a five-goal loss to take the crown and were delighted they kept their rivals down to a 1-0 defeat.
It may not have been an everyday experience for a club to celebrate losing to the side who are fighting them for the championship, but the south west Londoners knew goal difference was on their side.
“I still had some nerves going into the Dorking game because there is always that feeling of ‘what if they score early’ in the back of your mind,” said Wilson, who watched the Ryman South play-off final between Wanderers and Corinthian-Casuals from the comfort of the press box and not the dug out.
“But I must be honest and admit that without sounding overly-confident, I just felt the task for Dorking was too great and so I felt confident that we would get over the line.
“Huge respect must go to to Dorking, they have had a brilliant season and have kept on our coat-tails the whole way – it has been a champion race to the finish line and I admire the way they kept us under pressure right up until the last day.”
It’s the Ryman Premier for the first time in eight years for a club with a ground that could support football at a much higher level.
And Wilson added: “We have the facilities at Imperial Fields to keep going up the leagues.
“We are now planning for life in the Ryman Premier and as exciting as that is, no doubt there will be a spotlight on us as one of the new entries.
“I have the confidence of knowing that the people around me are the right people and they work incredibly hard and that gives me confidence.
“I am delighted about securing promotion as champions and just incredibly pleased for the club and supporters because it has been an ambition of theirs to get back to the Ryman Premier League.”