Cove Rangers’ journey to the Scottish leagues is the long-desired next step in a journey from amateur to senior football.
Founded in 1922 and joining the Aberdeen Juvenile League, it was 25 years later – in 1947 – when they became one of the original members of the Aberdeen Amateur Football Association (AAFA).
They won their first title the same year and also built Allan Park, named after the farmer who provided the land, and the Granite City’s first ground owned by an amateur side.
Other highlights of Cove’s time in the amateurs included reaching the final of the Scottish Amateur Cup in season 1953-54 and also an invincible, triumphant league campaign in 1964-65.
In 1981, current Scottish FA president Alan McRae took over as Cove chief, with the club stepping up to the juniors in 1985.
They won the second division in 1985-86, before applying for and being accepted to the Highland League for the next campaign.
During more than 30 years in the Highland ranks they won seven league championships, including this season of course.
It wasn’t until 2000-01 where they took the league crown for the first time, under Bob Summers, however, having finished runners-up four times before.
However, five of their Highland titles came under current co-boss John Sheran, over two spells.
Secretary since 1986 Duncan Little says Sheran’s impact on Cove cannot be overstated.
“He’s without a doubt our most successful manager,” Little said.
“We joined the Highland League in 1986 and just progressed.
“We had a super team in the 1990s, but were always pipped by the Huntly team who won five in a row.
“We tailed off for a few years, before coming back under Bob Summers, then tailed off again.
“When John came in, it’s been a rollercoaster since then. We didn’t do too well at the very beginning, but you could see the potential, then it all clicked.
“He has really good experience. He’d been manager at Montrose and has an eye for a good player as well.”
Cove’s other Highland League championship came between Sheran’s spells, under Kevin Tindall in 2012-13.
They also won six Highland League Cups, three Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cups, seven Aberdeenshire Shields and two Scottish Qualifying Cups (North).
Among the playing talent over the years have been Neil Simpson – the European Cup Winners’ Cup winner with Aberdeen and Scotland international who joined in a player-assistant manager role in 1993 – as well as Paul Coutts.
Coutts has starred in England since being sold to Peterborough United, playing for several clubs.
He has just left Sheffield United after helping the Blades back into the English top flight.
Cove also signed Ray Stephen from French side Nancy in 1992 after the ex-Dundee player had been brought to the Continent by none other than legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
The striker scored six goals on his debut.
According to Little, the impact of players like Mike Megginson – current talisman Mitch’s dad – and departing skipper Eric Watson shouldn’t be overlooked.
Little said: “Mike played for 11 or 12 years and got a testimonial as well.
“Graeme Park, Daniel Park’s father, was here for around about the same time, and was a coach when we won the back-to-backs under John Sheran in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
“Eric Watson has more honours than any player Cove’s ever had.”
Cove have now achieved their two main goals as a club, opening their new stadium and winning a place in the Scottish leagues.