When football teams make a plan to get to a certain level within a certain time frame – it normally comes back to bite them on the behind.

But Epsom Athletic broke the mould last week when they won promotion to the Combined Counties League as champions of the Surrey Elite Intermediate League.

It fulfiled the declaration they made exactly a decade ago when they stated their aim for Combined Counties football in 10 years.

“We’ve had a bit of luck on occasions where an extra team have been promoted but we’ve pretty much earned our right to get up there,” said club chairman and former manager Paul Burstow, who has been involved from the start.

“We’re going into the Combined Counties for the first time at the club so we’re excited – it’s going to be much harder as it’s a big step.

“We’re going to go in for the first year, dip our toes in the water and see how it goes.

“No one really knows if the higher level is going to be a big step up or how we are going to cope.”

Epsom, who were founded 16 years ago, have been promoted at least once every two seasons consistently over the past decade.

“When we started our aim was Combined Counties football,” added Burstow.

“We’ve achieved that and it’s a new world now, it’s got more serious.

“The team we’ve got is really strong and we still get lots of players wanting to play for us. I’m more anxious about the other side of it – off the pitch.

“We’re all passionate and believe what we’re doing but we have to juggle the club with our personal lives.

“But we love it, we’re ambitious, passionate and we’ve got that drive to go onwards and upwards.

“We want to keep going and I think we can.”