Blackpool head coach feels privileged to work at Bloomfield Road
Neil Critchley insists he didn’t need to win promotion with Blackpool in his first season to prove he made the right decision in leaving his role at Liverpool.
The 42-year-old previously admitted it would have to take something special for him to leave Merseyside, where he had been working as the club’s Under-23s coach.
In March 2020, Critchley opted to make the leap into senior management to take the reins at Bloomfield Road – a decision that has paid off for all involved.
“I was asked after the play-off final whether this day justifies me leaving Liverpool to come to Blackpool but I didn’t need a day like that to justify it,” Critchley told Blackpool’s end-of-season show.
“I don’t need justification. The reason I came here was to challenge myself, to improve and work in senior football, men’s football, where you’re working under pressure for results.
“I was a firm believer that we could replicate the environment we had at Liverpool in a senior environment and I was given that opportunity at Blackpool.
“I’m so grateful for that because I’m privileged to work at a fantastic club with great support, both in the stands and from Simon (Sadler) and Brett (Gerrity).
“I’m just honoured to be able to sit here, speak to the supporters and the media, I’m just the front guy if you like.
“There are so many people who could quite rightly sit here and be sharing in what we’ve achieved this season, because there are so many people I’m thankful and grateful to.”
As a coach first and foremost, Critchley’s main responsibility is to work on the training pitch and get the most out of his players.
Seeing a number of players develop through the season has been a source of pride for Blackpool’s head coach.
“As a coach, that’s the biggest satisfaction you can get,” Critchley said.
“When you envisage something in your head and you know where the end point is, it’s the journey along the way which is the most exciting part.
“That’s what myself and the staff enjoy doing, that’s helping the players improve both individually but also knowing what their roles are within the team – therefore the team improves.
“The consistency, the humility and the togetherness has just grown, and through that, the confidence has improved.
“The way we’ve played throughout the course of the season and how we’ve represented this fantastic football club, I couldn’t be more proud of the players.”
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