Riga: I can’t do this alone

Blackpool manager Jose Riga
Blackpool manager Jose Riga
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Fans’ first-choice Jose Riga is aiming to repay their faith as Blackpool manager – and he pleaded with supporters for their help.

The Belgian, who topped The Gazette’s poll when we asked supporters to name their preferred Pool boss, was unveiled as the club’s 35th manager yesterday after a search which lasted over five weeks.

And after signing a one-year-rolling contract, the 56-year-old said our poll helped make his decision easy.

Riga told The Gazette: “I’m happy and proud the fans wanted me. It’s a big motivation for me to pay back their faith in me.

“The reality will be seen on the pitch. I can assure them they have found someone who will give everything for this football club.”

Riga arrives at a very difficult time for Pool, with only six senior players contracted at present.

The former Charlton and Standard Liege boss held meetings at Bloomfield Road yesterday to discuss his plans and set the wheels in motion to add players to his squad.

But it’s the support of the fans he said he’ll need most.

Riga stressed: “We need the supporters. They know, as I do, how difficult a job this is. Without the fans I can do nothing.

“They will understand that I’m here to work hard and find a way to give them the pleasure they want from games. I hope they give me time and stick with me. I can’t do this alone.

“I have the ideas on football but I’ll need everyone’s support to make this happen.

“I’m sure the chairman wants the same as me. The only way we’ll achieve what we want is if the chairman gets behind me.”

With so many leaving the club this summer, on and off the field, Riga is under no illusions about the size of the task he faces.

But while many sees the upheaval as a negative, Riga is excited by the prospect of building a whole club.

“It’s a fresh start here for everyone,” he said. “We need a commitment from everyone from the chairman to the supporters. We all want the same thing – the best for Blackpool – and that’s why I’m here.

“It’s a very difficult job, I’m not stupid. I need to build a new team of staff around me and a team of players. But with the support of the chairman I can do it. If I didn’t think I could I wouldn’t be here.”

Riga has already identified a host of targets in the transfer market and has already set the wheels in motion with a couple of deals.