Blackpool chief Ben Mansford says: Long-term player contracts prove progress of club

Tying Blackpool’s assets down for the long-term is a sign of the progress the club is making both on and off the pitch.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 8:14 am

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That’s according to Blackpool’s chief executive Ben Mansford, who has been delighted to see Chris Maxwell, Kevin Stewart and Jerry Yates commit their futures to the club by penning new deals.

Jordan Gabriel returned to Bloomfield Road following a successful loan spell by signing a four-year deal, which includes the option to extend by a further 12 months.

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Kenny Dougall is the latest Blackpool player to commit his future to the club

Kenny Dougall became the latest player to agree fresh terms last week, signing a new deal that keeps him on the Fylde coast until June 2023 at the earliest.

The news has been welcomed enthusiastically by the club’s fans, who had become accustomed to seeing the Seasiders losing their best talent for free under the previous owners.

But those days have gone, according to Mansford, who told The Gazette: “Part of the attraction of coming to this club was the security that Simon Sadler would be able to give us and the fantastic support the club would get under his custodianship.

“We’re trying to build something for the long-term and Jordan Gabriel will be a fantastic footballer for this club.

“Maxi has been a wonderful leader in the dressing room and an organiser of men, so that’s what we’re going to try and do.

“We want a lot of people that want to be at this club, both around the football side of the business and the non-football side.

“It’s wonderful that we’re able to secure someone of Jordan’s potential and ability, and to secure him for the long-term.

“It’s not just what that says about the standing of the club compared to the past but also that people want to be here.

“We all know that in times gone by the last club agents would ring in the Premier League, Championship or League One was Blackpool because of the challenge of coming here – would they get paid, the infrastructure, the vision, the ambition?

“Hopefully the fans can see with some of the statements of intent we’ve made with our acquisitions – the contract length and the youthfulness and potential of our signings – that we’re trying to give them a club to be proud of. And not just now – a club that can consistently challenge but we’re doing it on a sustainable basis.”

Now Blackpool’s key first-teamers are tied down, Pool fans want to see head coach Neil Critchley rewarded for the superb start he’s made to his senior management career.

The former Liverpool coach, who guided the Seasiders to promotion from League One in his first season at the club, is currently contracted at Bloomfield Road until the end of the 2022/23 season.

When asked if a new deal could be on the cards for Critchley, Mansford said: “Critch is a wonderful asset to the club and I’m delighted he now is really able to connect with our supporters.

“It’s heartening for them to see how much it means to him, which hopefully enables them to know just how hard he works.

“I don’t want to be talking about things in public because that wouldn’t be right, but I hope Critch is around for a long time.”