Blackpool boss thanks club bosses for their vote of confidence
Neil Critchley admits the plaudits he received for winning promotion wouldn’t have been possible without the “unwavering support” of Blackpool’s hierarchy.
The 42-year-old arrived on the Fylde coast in March 2020, but took charge of only two games last season before the campaign was derailed by the pandemic.
After a summer of huge turnover, with 17 players being brought in and a further 21 departing, the Seasiders got off to a slow start in League One, losing six of their opening nine games.
However, the turnaround after the end of October was remarkable, Critchley’s men picking up more points than any other side in the third tier.
It resulted in Pool finishing the season in third place before overcoming Oxford United in their two-legged play-off semi-final.
That was followed by victory against Lincoln City at Wembley, securing the Seasiders’ return to the Championship – six years on from their acrimonious relegation.
The club is in a far better position now than it was back in 2015, when Blackpool’s final game of the season against Huddersfield Town was abandoned due to fan protests against the Oystons.
However, the fanbase is now united behind Simon Sadler and the Seasiders look to have an exciting future ahead.
When asked by The Gazette how proud he was of winning promotion, Critchley said: “It wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support that I’ve had from above, especially earlier on in the season during our tough start. Whatever I wanted, whatever I needed, they were there for me.
“The staff, my staff, have been fantastic. It’s a real team effort with the players and the supporters.
“A special mention to Simon Sadler. He came onto the pitch with us and this is for him.
“He’s from Blackpool, he’s a Blackpool fan and the club and the town and the people mean everything to him.
“You could see what it meant to him on the pitch afterwards, it was fantastic for him. They’ve made it an incredible season for everyone.
“Blackpool are back in the Championship and that sounds really good.
“I’m looking forward to our first home game at Bloomfield Road in the Championship, because it will be tangerine, it will be bouncing, it will be rocking. I’ve not experienced that yet with a full house.
“We’ve been planning, we’ve been preparing for two scenarios and, thankfully, we’ve got the better one to look forward to.
“To go to the Championship, we’re under no illusions how tough it will be but we are progressing on and off the pitch and it’s up to us to go there and give it a right good go.”
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