MATT Gilks says he could have picked up big money sitting on the bench at a Premier League club next season – but that’s not his style.
The keeper surprised everybody by signing a new deal at Blackpool, when he was widely expected to depart.
Now he’s revealed his reasons why – a desire to play first-team football, and help the Seasiders bounce back up.
“I spoke to the gaffer at length on the phone over a couple of days and he told me what he is looking to do with the club,” said Gilks.
“I met a couple of managers at other clubs as well over the summer and talked about things, but after being out for so many months last season, I felt I needed to play football.
“That’s what I do, it’s what I get paid for, and missing that big part of the season last year wasn’t good for me.
“I could have sat on the bench somewhere and picked up a lot of money, but that’s not what I wanted.
“I want to be playing. I want to be fully fit and in between those sticks. That’s what I am a footballer for.
“I work too hard and care too much about what I do just to be sat on the bench come 3pm on a Saturday. That’s just not me.
“I need to be out on the pitch, and the manager said that to me on the phone.
“He said ‘why go somewhere else and do that?’, and he was right.
“I feel I owe the manager something because he showed a lot of faith in me putting me in when he did, and phoning me over the summer.
“It wasn’t a hard decision in the end.
“It’s why Kevin Phillips is here. People want to play for this manager, and the club.
“I’m no different. I want to play football for Ian Holloway and Blackpool.”
That said, the 29-year-old didn’t seem so keen at the end of last season, when he made comments about the club’s set-up.
In the days after relegation, when he appeared certain to go, Gilks said: “The biggest disappointment is that we didn’t really have a go at staying in the Premier League.
“There are cash restrictions with facilities and staff-wise.We dipped our toe in the water. Maybe if we had put our foot in and had half a go we could have stayed up.
“We don’t have anything at this club. We wanted a kit-man – that got rejected.
“We wanted a sports scientist – one came in part-time and got messed about.”
Gilks, an honest and likable lad, is unrepentant, insisting his remarks were well-meaning and misinterpreted.