PAUL COOK toasted the best moment of his managerial career after leading Pompey into League One.
The Blues triumphed 3-1 at Notts County yesterday, while closest rivals Luton collected a 1-1 draw at Mansfield.
That was enough for Cook’s men to clinch promotion from League Two with three matches to spare.
Substitute Jamal Lowe’s two goals were decisive – and 4,366 Pompey followers swarmed onto the Meadow Lane pitch at the final whistle.
Cook has become only the sixth post-war Blues boss to win promotion – and it outranks previous successes with Chesterfield and Sligo.
He said: ‘That is the best moment of my managerial career, by far.
‘I’ve had some really low moments at this club and I keep them all to myself, along with Leam (Richardson), Robbie (Blake), the staff.
‘It has been a really difficult club to manage.
‘There have been disappointments, losing for Portsmouth is not an option and the weight of pressure which comes down on you is huge, especially staying with my principles and how I want the game to be played.
‘But managing this club is special, I am lucky to have been here for two years now and have loved every minute of it,
‘It has been painful, it has been tough but I believe I have one of the best jobs in football.
‘Now I am a promoted manager and am certainly going to enjoy it.
‘I love watching us play, I enjoy Portsmouth Football Club, I enjoy my players, I enjoy my team and knowing we’ve got 4,500 fans in Meadow Lane.
‘Yesterday I loved to see them all.’
A run of 22 points from a possible 27 since defeat against Crewe was the inspiration.
It has been a period which lifted Pompey into the top three and they now sit an insurmountable 10 points clear of fourth spot.
Pompey’s players and staff celebrated on the balcony in front of the Derek Pavis Stand with the fans on the pitch below.
Although Cook was conspicuous by his absence.
And Pompey’s boss admitted he was keen to keep out of the limelight.
He added: ‘It’s for players, managers should not take the limelight in my opinion.
‘I sat and had a drink with Iain McInnes, it’s something we had talked about doing.
‘We have a privileged job and the stick comes thick and fast, but we are as good as our players.
‘Now those players are all winners – and that’s great for us as a club.’