SHARON Brittan reckons the disappointment of play-off final defeat last month has made her doubly determined to succeed in League One next season.

Coming up to a fifth anniversary in charge of the club, the Football Ventures consortium have pledged to back manager Ian Evatt to be competitive in the transfer market as he looks to get the club into the Championship for the first time since 2019.

Though proud of the work the club has done to rebuild and improve its image after those dark days, Ms Brittan admits she now feels behind schedule after missing out on promotion with defeat against Oxford United.

“People ask me about the positives and the negatives in the time we have been at the football club, and there are so many positives as to where we thought we might be,” she told The Bolton News. “In lots of ways I think we have more than ticked boxes as to where we are as a town, a community and a football club.

“But as I enter year six here, would I want to find myself in League One? No, I wouldn’t.

“I am disappointed in myself. I lead this, so I take responsibility. I would have very happily given myself a five-year target to be in the Championship and I think that is why there was such a huge, huge sense of disappointment because I thought we were going to be promoted last season.”

Asked whether the pain at Wembley was worse for a football club owner, knowing that a jackpot of £10million had been lost in 90 minutes, Ms Brittan said her first thought was of the supporters who had travelled to the capital.

“Initially I would say it is worse for fans,” she said. “The first initial, gut-wrenching, feel sick moment was as a fan.

“And then it is as an owner when you think of our fans. It makes me cry.

“It wasn’t thinking ‘we’re not in the Championship’ or about finances, it was thinking about all those people who had come to Wembley.

“It was short notice, it was very expensive to buy tickets and travel, it humbled me that so many people made that journey. And I know how much they wanted it.

“It can be a cruel sport. I probably didn’t speak for three days. I had to process everything.

“We all love the highs and lows but doing a play-off final and losing in that manner was really upsetting.”

Wanderers raised £4.5million last summer through a bond issue, and those who invested would have qualified for a 10 per cent bonus had the club got promotion.

Money raised contributed towards capital projects including LED advertising and screens at the stadium and an overhaul of the hospitality rooms, alongside improvements at the training ground and to the playing squad.

Money will continue to be spent on a new pitch and gym extension at Lostock this summer but will primarily be channelled towards improving Ian Evatt’s squad.

Ms Brittan said she regretted not being able to offer the bond investors their bonus.

“They would have got a fabulous return,” she said. “I meet with many of the bond holders, there were 980 of them in the end, and the fact we raised £4.5million was utterly extraordinary.

“I have said it before and I’ll say it again, every single penny has gone into this football club in a very measured, thought through, considered way, to make sure the fans have got the best possible experience.”