IT was a year in which Altrincham made history by becoming the first team to be promoted back to the National League North after being relegated the previous season.

And nobody can argue they don’t deserve to.

The Robins took top spot in the Northern Premier League’s Premier Division table for the first time in mid-October following a 3-0 win at home to Halesowen.

And they stayed there too.

Phil Parkinson’s side posted their club’s highest points total for a season since three were awarded for a win, and scored more than 100 goals.

Not just worthy champions, they were stylish ones as well.

Ashton United will join them in non-league football’s second tier as a reward for comfortably seeing off Grantham Town in the play-offs final last weekend.

The runners-up don’t always prevail that way, and the Premier Division’s ‘other’ Robins had fallen short in three previous attempts.

Their display in stifling conditions at Hurst Cross on Saturday gave no indication that recent history weighed heavy on them.

I’ve watched more games than I’ve kept count of this season involving Northern Premier League Premier Division clubs – usually playing against Witton – and have picked Simmo’s Select XI from the players I’ve seen.

I was going to exclude Albion players to avoid allegations of outlandish bias, but I just couldn’t leave out Steve Tames.

Have a look, and tweet me why I’m wrong or to ask why I didn’t pick him or the other.

Most likely answer – they must have been rubbish against the Albs!

Team of the year

GK: James Wren (Hednesford); RB: Dom Smalley (Ashton Utd); CB: Aaron Chalmers (Ashton Utd); CB: Liam Goulding (Warrington); LB: Isaac Baldwin (Farsley); CM: Liam Tomsett (Ashton Utd); CM: Leon Broadhurst (Stourbridge); CM: Sean Williams (Warrington); F: Steve Tames (Witton); F: Jordan Hulme (Altrincham); F: Nathan Watson (Coalville).

Subs: Kieran Preston (Grantham); Ben Harrison (Altrincham); Pablo Mills (Mickleover); James Foley (Witton); Matt Stenson (Barwell); Liam Hardy (Buxton); Shaun Harrad (Matlock)

Manager of the year

Adam Lakeland (Farsley Celtic)

His side were highest-placed of the newly-promoted teams – with considerable competition from Shaw Lane and Witton – and were the only one to reach the play-offs.

However a strong finish to the season, during which the Celts lost only one of their last nine games, saw off their rivals’ challenge.

The former Northwich Victoria boss deserves credit too for refreshing a side that lost James Walshaw, their leading goal-scorer, in November.

If I’m honest, Jody Banim (Ashton United) is a just as deserving candidate after steering the Robins to promotion via the play-offs, including a semi-finals success against Farsley.

After three previous attempts to reach the National League North by the same path, it represents an extraordinary achievement.

There should be honourable mention here too for Liam McDonald (Rushall Olympic), who was appointed as Pics boss in October with the team second-bottom in the table on 13 points. They recovered to finish eighth after hammering Coalville on the final day of the campaign.

Player of the year

How I voted in the NPL Show player of the season poll:

Fifth: James Foley (Witton Albion)

Fourth: James Poole (Altrincham)

Third: Matt Stenson (Barwell)

Second: Liam Goulding (Warrington Town)

First: Nathan Watson (Coalville Town)