4:43:18 PMAnnan gain entry
|Annan voted into SFL's Division 3|
Annan Athletic have gained entry to Division Three after a vote by the 29 clubs in the Scottish Football League.
They will replace Gretna after beating off the challenge of Cove Rangers, Spartans, Preston Athletic and Edinburgh City.
Annan chairman Henry McLelland said: "It's just sunk in, but it's been a long time coming.
"We've been working for this since we played Stranraer in 1979. We have been rewarded for all our work since then."
McLelland was referring to a 3-1 Scottish Cup defeat and Annan will now join their local rivals in the SFL next season.
The vote was forced after Gretna went out of business following relegation from the Scottish Premier League.
Spartans had been bookies' favourites, but the Edinburgh outfit dropped out of the running after the second round, having amassed just six votes.
With a minimum of 15 votes required, three rounds of voting were needed before Annan's place was confirmed.
They polled 17 votes in the final round, with Highland League champions Cove their closest challengers with 12 votes.
Spartans are due to move to a new stadium later this year, which was thought to give the Edinburgh club the advantage, and they also had the slickest media campaign of the five clubs.
But Annan are understood to have won the backing of all eight representatives from the SFL who toured the facilities on offer from the five applicants.
It was felt that Annan were, at present, the most capable of meeting the league's criteria.
And the side from the Dumfries and Galloway town - 16 miles from the home of First Division outfit Queen of the South - were chosen ahead of three clubs who finished ahead of them in this season's East of Scotland League.
Annan finished seventh, 19 points behind third-top Spartans, with Edinburgh City in fourth and Preston in fifth.
Champions Whitehill Welfare and second-placed Edinburgh University did not apply to the SFL.
The 29 SFL clubs met at Hampden on Thursday to hear presentations from the applicant clubs having already received documents from each in support of their bid.
Morning presentations were followed a question and answer session before lunch, with the votes cast in the afternoon.
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