Clarke so sorry for Pool fans

Peter Clarke
Peter Clarke
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Defender Peter Clarke described Blackpool as a “tough” and “challenging” place to play but he has nothing but sympathy for the fans.

The former Pool captain left Bloomfield Road for the second time in his career last week after the club decided against extending his contract by a further year.

The 33-year-old centre-half played in 41 of Pool’s 48 games last season, so understands only too well the problems which resulted in their relegation with the lowest points total in Championship history.

And Clarke, a huge fans’ favourite during his first stint at the club (2004-06), says he understands just how the supporters feel.

He said: “Of course you have sympathy with them. It’s a tough environment to be in, challenging.

“And you perhaps learn more about yourself, and about others too, in times of adversity than you do when things are going well.”

Life at Bloomfield Road became even trickier for the players after kitman Alan Bent quit in February and – in typical Pool fashion – wasn’t replaced.

Clarke explained: “I brought my kit home and I washed it. I brought my boots home, and I cleaned and polished them up to make sure they were ready for training and for games.

“If you wanted a base layer under your training kit, you brought it from home. If you wanted gloves or a hat, you took them from home. If you didn’t, you ended up cold.”

Clarke rejoined the club last summer but his final appearance in a Pool shirt ended in farce, a pitch invasion halting the home game against Huddersfield on May 2.

But the defender wasn’t prepared to criticise the supporters for their actions.

He added: “You probably see more of the fans than you do of the money people behind the scenes.

“So you certainly have a feeling and an understanding of what the fans are thinking, and of how they are frustrated by the goings on at the football club.”