Goran Lozanovski had planned and envisaged the day he would lead his beloved Altona Magic back to the top flight.
The coach was not so sure that day would come as soon as last Saturday.
Only 12 months after guiding the Magic out of the state leagues and into NPL 2, the 44-year-old has achieved consecutive promotions to pave the way for the club’s return back to the Victorian soccer’s top flight for the first time since 2010.
Lozanovski, who grew up supporting the Magic, can look forward to taking his team on the road to places such as Melbourne Knights, Bentleigh Greens, Heidelberg United and even one of his former clubs South Melbourne in 2019.
“We probably achieved it a little bit quicker than we thought we’d achieve it,” Lozanovski said. “It’s been an amazing ride.
I’m over the moon at the moment, it almost feels surreal.
“I’m just letting it sink in.”
Altona Magic is one of the proudest and most respected soccer clubs in the state. In 1967, a group of Macedonian immigrants with a passion for soccer got together to discuss the possibility of starting a club.
A year later, the club was born, and in 2018, the Magic is celebrating its 50th anniversary season in style.
“Next weekend we’re having our 50th birthday party,” Lozanovski said.
“We couldn’t have planned it like this, that we’ve already completed our assignment.
“We’ll get to celebrate not just the club’s birthday party, but promotion and getting back into the top flight.”
Taking Altona Magic back to the top means a lot to Lozanovski. His passion for the Magic was passed down by his dad Bill, who was a foundation member of the club.
Before Lozanovski took over as coach, the Magic had some rough times and made the tough decision not to join the NPL for its inaugural season.
“I grew up watching Altona Magic in the top flight for decades,” Lozanovski said.
“For them to be missing as a club in the top flight for the last six of seven years has been disheartening. That was part of my challenge to build a team and get ourselves promoted.”
Altona Magic secured the title with a 2-0 win over Brunswick City at Dunstan Reserve on Saturday.
Mid-season signings Daniel Kuczynski and Robert Stambolziev scored the goals to seal the win. The full-time whistle did not signify the title however.
The Magic had a little wait until they could pop the champagne.
“We had to wait until the other game between North Geelong and Moreland Zebras finished because the promotion was not official yet,” Lozanovski said.
“Everyone was watching their phones and hoping full-time in that game would hurry up.
“Once it happened, it was an amazing feeling.
“Players went crazy, the supporters went nuts and we celebrated with some champagne and sang the song with our supporters and went to the changerooms and sang it again.
“It was just a sigh of relief with all the hard work the players and the club has done in the last two or three years to get itself back to where it is.”