IT isn’t just the league table that shows that Breightmet United have overcome the bitter disappointment of last season’s relegation.

Bar takings at Moss Park have increased in recent weeks — and that’s a sure sign that results are improving and the confidence that was fragile to say the least is slowly but surely being restored.

A four-match unbeaten run, including a draw and three wins — the latest a convincing 3-1 victory over Pennington — has raised expectations and suddenly the traditional post-match inquests in the clubhouse are upbeat with officials and players staying longer and spending more money over the bar as they enjoy analysing performances and prepare for the next match with an optimistic outlook.

The mood at tonight’s sportsman’s dinner should certainly be a lot brighter than last year’s event and the team will travel to bottom club Salford Victoria tomorrow in a positive frame of mind.

It’s a far cry from last season when the de-briefings became more subdued as each morale-sapping result pushed the Bolton side towards the relegation trapdoor of the Manchester League Premier Division.

“The bar takings are up because the spark’s there again,” long-serving club secretary Roy Haslam, pictured, explained.

“We always get the lads together in the clubhouse after games and over the last few weeks you can clearly see a big difference in their demeanour.

“We’ve been struggling as a club for a couple of years and last season it got to the point where they’d just drift in and the mood was all doom and gloom.

“But now we’re much happier club. There’s a much better atmosphere, a better attitude and a better camaraderie.

“The last four games have given the club a real boost and suddenly people are staying that bit longer in the bar - and long may it continue.”

They know full well down Breightmet way that they are going to have to do considerably better than a four-match unbeaten run if they are going to bounce straight back into the Premier Division, but they have seen good times and bad times at Moss Park down the years and there is a feeling that it’s the good times that could be rolling again under joint managers Andy Hicks and Phil Heap.

The pair, both with strong Breightmet connections, took the reins at the start of last season and, although they were unable to halt the slide, they are now reaping the rewards of their efforts — Heap still having a direct influence as a rock-solid central defender.

New players were drafted in — the majority of whom are still around — but the first and second teams now include a good smattering of players promoted from the Under-18s who are not only delivering the goods now but are looking good for the future, provided they aren’t enticed by higher grade clubs.

Breightmet have actually considered applying to play at a higher level themselves in the past but the financial demands proved prohibitive.

“We’ve looked at putting floodlights in and going higher,” says Mr Haslam, who is well-known in local football circles, first playing for Breightmet in 1961 and having a long spell at Bolton Wyresdale where he served on the committee and had a stint as chairman, before returning to Moss Park.

“At one stage we thought of applying for the NW Counties but we could not afford to go down that track. We also considered the West Lancs League but there’s still a lot more travelling involved there.

“The Manchester League is the league for us at present, but our attitude is that if we are in it we want to be in the Premier Division and we’re trying our best to get back up there.

“We’ve had a good start and these last four results suggest that we can at least consolidate.

“We brought in a lot of new players last season but it didn’t work out for us straight away. It’s taken until now to get things really sorted out and back on track again.

“You can see that the lads are playing with a lot more confidence.

“We’ve lost one or two players to the likes of Eagley and Stoneclough but we find that once they’ve played for Breightmet, they usually end up coming back here.

“People care about the club — that’s probably why there was so much disappointment last season.

“If they didn’t care they wouldn’t have been bothered.”