IAN Evatt says Blackpool fans will only realise how good this team is in years to come.
The Seasiders defender knows the last five years have been the best in the club’s recent history.
But he says no-one will realise just what a purple patch it has been until it’s all over.
“I just don’t think this group of players get the credit they deserve,” said the 30-year-old.
“Our assistant boss Steve Thompson made a comment the other day that people will only realise how good we are when we are gone, and he is absolutely right.
“To get to three Wembley finals in five years is an incredible achievement and for this club to be fighting for the Premier League – and to have played in the Premier League – is incredible with the budget we have.
“It is an unbelievable achievement, and I just hope and wish that people do appreciate us as players because I have never played with a better group of boys.
“The players give 120 per cent for this football club and they deserve the very best off everybody.“They are a credit to themselves, a credit to the football club and a credit to the whole town of Blackpool.”
Evatt is the second-longest serving Seasider, behind Keith Southern.
He joined the club in August 2006, a replacement for Peter Clarke, the club skipper, who departed for Southend on the eve of the new season and left then manager Simon Grayson scrabbling around for a replacement.
Grayson bought in Shaun Barker and Evatt. It proved a nifty piece of business, with Barker serving the club well for a couple of seasons and Evatt still going strong six years on.
And the centre-half, who has settled in St Annes with his wife and newborn twins, believes he will end his career at Blackpool – especially after the club turned down £1.5m from Southampton.
The Saints bid came in last summer. Portsmouth and Celtic were also reported to be interested in the centre-back, who, at the time, had just suffered the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League.
Chairman Karl Oyston dismissed the bid as insulting and in the end Evatt signed a new long-term contract with the Seasiders.
“I can see myself being here for the rest of my career – mainly because I don’t think the chairman will ever sell me,” smiled Evatt. “I know he turned down a very big bid from Southampton last summer. There was a £1.5m bid and if he sees that as not enough money then I take that as a positive.
“He said to me that he couldn’t replace me for the same money and that’s a massive compliment.”
Next season will be Evatt’s seventh at Pool, and he is hoping to get out of the traps faster than he did last campaign.
He added: “People will probably write us off again next season but I think we will bounce back and be a force again. I want the success story to continue.”
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