Blackpool captain Jay Spearing had one simple message for the club’s fans on Saturday: this win was for you.
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A bumper crowd of 11,359 crammed inside Bloomfield Road to see the Seasiders make the perfect start to the Simon Sadler era with a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers.
The three points capped off a memorable day for the fans and Spearing says their support certainly hasn’t got unnoticed.
“The fans deserve this. They’ve waited long enough to support their team, so this was for them,” the skipper said. “The gaffer had a few words about how this club has been through a lot of hell but it’s a new era.
“The fans deserve to see loyalty and hard work from the team and that win was for them as a thank you for supporting us again.
“There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes that a lot of people haven’t seen but we felt the excitement in the town in the lead-up to this game.
“The buzz is back and we’ve had a good few community events, when the fans have turned out in their numbers.
“We want to get that connection back and they deserve it. They’ve waited too long to come back to this football club. As you heard, they were singing from first whistle to the last.”
It was a great day on a personal note for Spearing, who opened the scoring from the penalty spot and bagged an assist as Armand Gnanduillet headed home the second.
The 30-year-old added:“I thought it was a good performance all round from start to finish.
“We were solid throughout, created a lot of chances and got the ball wide. The shape we’ve been working on all week worked well and caused them a lot of problems.
“We knew they would come here and work hard in the first game. I wouldn’t say we were nervous, but it was a big occasion with it being a new era and the lads were excited.
“We didn’t want to give anything stupid away and I don’t think we did.
“The referee has called the penalty and it was a penalty in my opinion. Thankfully I was able to put it in the back of the net.
“No-one was taking me off penalties as I had a good success rate last season. I wanted to keep that going. I believe in myself and I felt I had the right to get that ball and take the spot-kick.
“I took my time, made sure I concentrated and picked my spot.
“Overall the team worked hard and defended well, and the shape was outstanding.”