Ian Evatt has ranked automatic promotion with Bolton Wanderers as the best moment of his football career and has insisted that it's only the 'start of the journey'.
Saturday’s 4-1 victory at Crawley Town saw his Wanderers pull off a modern-day miracle by achieving automatic promotion to Sky Bet League One on the final day of the season.
Finding themselves in 19th position at the end of January, even the play-offs were a distant pipe dream.
But a sensational run of form combined with an unwavering self-belief, saw his troops end the season on in style by finishing in third spot with their best performance of the season reserved for the final day and in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
And the man who last season guided Barrow to the Football League for the first time in 40 years as well as enjoy a lengthy and successful career as a defender in the Premier League believes guiding Wanderers to Sky Bet League One is his greatest professional moment.
He said: “This is number one and I’ve said this many times and I don’t mean to disrespect the other clubs that I’ve played for and had success with, but no one really knows what I’ve had to go through this season.
"Only the people really closest to me know and it’s been a big old ship to turn around. It really has and we’ve slowly but surely built trust in the town.
"I’ve had good people around me and good people at the football club and all of a sudden we’ve reconnected with the club, the community, the town again. We’ve made everybody happy, but this is just the start for us.
"We’re really going to enjoy tonight and enjoy the summer, but we have a vision for this football club and this is just the start of what’s going to be a very good journey.”
Goals from Antoni Sarcevic, Dapo Afolayan, Eoin Doyle and Lloyd Isgrove saw them comfortably overcome the potentially tricky threat of Crawley Town to record their best win of the campaign.
The Wanderers boss also believes it was their best performance of the campaign.
He added: “It certainly feels the best. I just think the way we were so aggressive with our play, we passed it when we had to pass it but we mixed it as well.
"We ran forwards, we got bodies in the box, I’ve been moaning at Dapo and Isgrove for the last four or five weeks about getting in the back post.
"You see the top teams, the wide players are always in at the back post, and today Dapo’s got his rewards. Sarce’s was a huge, huge performance and it was great to have him back.
"But the lads deserve it, they’ve been absolutely incredible since January. The ones that have been here from the very start, we’ve been through tough times together but, boy does this feel good.”
And you can be part of the journey by renewing your season tickets for the 2021/22 Sky Bet League One campaign. Renew during the Early Purchase Period and you will pay less than you did for the current season. Click here for more information and renew today.