STEPHEN Crainey has revealed he never wanted to leave Bloomfield Road ... even though he came very close to an exit.
The Seasiders left-back’s contract expired at the end of last season and he attracted interest from a number of Premier League clubs.
The 30-year-old Scot finally put pen to paper after a series of discussions with Pool chairman Karl Oyston but he revealed: “It did look at one point that I’d have to go elsewhere.
“But I am settled in the area, I’ve just had another little one and one of my kids is just starting school. I never wanted to leave.
“I had to get the right deal, though. In the end I was delighted but it was close to breaking down at one point. One night I was in the chairman’s office until about 1am and we still didn’t get a deal done. We got there in the end and hopefully we can give it a good go this year.”
Crainey, who joined from Leeds in 2007, is a firmly-established fans’ favourite. He was one of the club’s top performers in the Premier League and hopes Pool can bounce back at the first time of asking.
He added: “We need to move on from the players we’ve lost in the summer. Fair play to them – they’ve moved on to maybe bigger and better things – but we need to move on as a club.
“We have brought in some quality players to replace them and we just need to build on what we’ve done in the past couple of years. At the end of the season, we hopefully won’t be far away.”
Crainey has played in all three pre-season games, and he thinks Tuesday’s win against Hibernian shows the preparations are taking shape.
He said: “We didn’t do too well in the first two games but Tuesday was more like us. We were on the front foot all night and it was a great workout. The lads needed the 90 minutes under our belts and hopefully we can build on it ahead of the Hull game.
“Barry Ferguson did great in the middle, just ticking things over, and everything seems to be clicking into place.
“Barry has always been quality, ever since he broke through at Rangers as a kid.
“I’m sure he’ll bring a calmness and great passing qualities to our midfield. He reads the game and hopefully he can help kick us on a bit.”
Boss Ian Holloway has brought in two left-backs this summer as well as securing Crainey on a long-term deal.
The Scotland international added: “It’s important to have competition and we seem to have that now throughout the squad. The gaffer has brought a few players in and it can only be healthy for the club.”