Boss delighted with side's character following terrific comeback and penalty victory at Wembley.
Southend United boss Phil Brown added another Wembley play-off Final victory to his CV as Blues came back to defeat Wycombe Wanderers on penalties at the national stadium.
Joe Pigott equalised for Southend with just 21 seconds of the game remaining, after Joe Jacobson's fortuitous free kick gave opponents Wycombe the lead in the first half of extra time.
And the boss felt the team showed their never-say-die attitude once again on the big stage to earn promotion to the third tier of English football.
“The last time I was here in a play-off Final was with Hull City. Winning that day was special, but this feels even better,” the boss said after the game.
“I feel desperately sorry for all at Wycombe Wanderers and Gareth especially. They've had a fabulous season. There's a lot of things that happen in football and it was left in the lap of the Gods. The young lads and the old lads did themselves proud.
“I think our equaliser in the 120th minute showed what we were all about. The players were first class, never gave in, dug deep and got the reward for their efforts.
“You have to keep believing in your players. We all believed up until the last kick of the 49th game and we've done it.”
Good spot kicks and a couple of fantastic Dan Bentley saves earned Blues their promotion, and Brown praised his players for the superb win in front of just under 40,000 – with over half the attendance being Blues fans.
“Dan's a match-winner and has done brilliant all season. He'll go to the very top and he's kept clean sheets at vital times this season. Full credit to him and all the lads for not just the efforts in the Final, but over the course of the season.
“We'll dust ourselves down in the summer, enjoy the break and come back raring to go for League One next season. It's something we set out to achieve last summer and it feels fantastic to have achieved what we wanted.”