LEE Harding says Braintree Town are ready to move back up into the top flight of English non-league football.

The Iron chairman was delighted to see his team's play-off final triumph at Hampton & Richmond Borough on Sunday as they booked their place back in the Vanarama National League.

It meant it would be a rapid return for Braintree just a year after they were relegated from the top flight and, with their home ground already meeting National League standards, Harding knows they are well set to go back up.

“The club is as ready as it has ever been," he said.

“We never pretend to be anything that we’re not – we will not be going full-time and we don’t expect to get crowds of five to six thousand every week next season.

“We are Braintree Town Football Club, but we are also the side that regularly used to beat the likes of Grimsby and Luton when we were in the National League before.

“We are what we are and people won’t look forward to coming to play us next season.

“They know they will be in a game and we have learned an enormous amount over the last two years.

“Let’s now make sure we don’t make the same mistakes we made before."

Harding admitted that it had been a bit of a rollercoaster for his club over the last three years, but following their demise from the National League 12 months ago, he was pleased that they had proved wrong those who had predicted further struggles for them this year.

He added: “We are delighted and pleased to have got ourselves promoted.

“It’s a nail-biting way to do it and I do feel terribly sorry for our friends at Hampton because it’s a horrible way to lose.

“But we were quite open with Brad a year ago when we spoke and said it would take time to turn our fortunes around.

“We knew there were problems that we had to sort, but fair play to him because by October we were top of the league and we finished in the play-offs.

“People say we’ve been lucky, but we’ve had to go away from home three times in 11 days and in two of them, to be man enough to win penalty shootouts.

“In between them we had to go to the home of a club who had been champions for 11 minutes at the end of the season and to win there says a bit about us.

“We did have a wobble either side of Christmas, but we picked ourselves up and we responded magnificently.

“From the ecstasy of making the play-offs in the league above and coming within 20 minutes of Wembley with the dream of a place in the Football League, to the agony of 12 months later despite everything that we tried to do and relegation – we dug in and we have now got ourselves back from whence we came.

“There were so many people who enjoyed our misfortune and relegation from the league above and they felt it was a scenario where we could slip straight through and end up in the third tier (of non-league), but sadly they got that wrong."

The Iron chairman was also quick to thank the backing he had had from members of the Iron board this year.

He said: “I look back at where we were at the start of the season and I know that if we hadn’t had support from people like Jerry Carter and Vic Dixon then we wouldn’t be anywhere near to enjoying days like we had at Hampton and Richmond.

“They have worked very hard and have worked hard in helping me to support the club and as much as this success is for the players who have given 110 per cent, it is for my colleagues who have worked very hard.

“They are unseen heroes in many ways every day of the week."