Blackpool head coach enjoyed sharing Fulham win with the fans

Striking up a bond with Blackpool’s supporters means everything to Neil Critchley.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 8:00 am

After playing the majority of games behind closed doors for 15 months, the head coach has finally been able to experience a full Bloomfield Road this season – and it’s fair to say he hasn’t been disappointed.

He was visibly animated after Saturday’s 1-0 win against Fulham, heading over to the North Stand where he fist-pumped to celebrate his side’s first league win of the campaign.

“It means everything to me. Those moments are why you’re in football, it’s a special feeling,” Critchley told The Gazette.

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Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley

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Neil Critchley keeping a close eye on Blackpool's players out on loan at MK Dons...

“All I’ve wanted to do in my life is be involved in football. When I was younger I desperately wanted to be a footballer, then I got into coaching early.

“I’ve never experienced something like I’m experiencing at the moment, so it’s different for me and I massively appreciate it.

“I see myself as a football supporter. I’m a normal person, and if I wasn’t involved in managing or coaching, then I’d be watching and supporting a team like the Blackpool supporters are.

“It’s incredible, there’s no better feeling of sharing a passion together and having success. I love what I do, absolutely love it.

“So to go on the pitch at the end of the game and share that moment with the supporters, it’s absolutely incredible.”

Critchley will be hoping for another special atmosphere at Bloomfield Road tonight as Blackpool take on Huddersfield Town.

While Pool fans create unrivalled noise when they’re winning, they’re equally as boisterous when they rally behind the team during tough moments in games – and that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Everyone sees it, everyone is there,” Critchley said.

“Sometimes I get asked about the atmosphere by members of the press who maybe don’t see it every week, so they’re surprised by it because it’s a unique atmosphere – it is different.

“The supporters are incessant, regardless of the scoreline. They back the team and it makes a massive difference.

“When we’re 1-0 up against Fulham and we’re under pressure, their voice gives you that extra one or two per cent.

“When your heart is pumping through your chest and you’ve got nothing left, they help get you over the line. They definitely helped us to do that on Saturday.

“There’s no better feeling at the end of the game when you know you’ve given everything and you’ve won to make our great support so happy.

“It’s so special to have football back to what it was, because the game of football is just not the same without supporters.

“It’s the emotion, the frustration, the happiness, the sadness, it’s everything. It’s all heightened and it’s a special feeling.

“I’m very privileged to be able to stand on the touchline, look around and see the support that we get. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

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