Ian Holloway has told The Gazette about his pleasure at seeing Blackpool’s supporters loving their football club again.
The 56-year-old recently returned to Bloomfield Road to interview Simon Grayson, the man he succeeded as Blackpool boss in 2009.
Holloway, who masterminded Blackpool’s best trip with their promotion to the Premier League, has repeatedly refused to criticise the club’s despised former owners, the Oyston family.
But having spoken to Grayson and seen at first-hand the changes that have occurred under Simon Sadler’s ownership, Holloway is predicting a bright future for the Seasiders.
“It was absolutely brilliant to go back and interview Simon. What a wonderful man he is,” he said.
“I’m delighted the place is buzzing and I’m delighted for the supporters. They thought I was an Oystonite but I’m never going to bite the hand that fed me.
“I’d just like to thank the fans for all their support and I’m just delighted they’re really enjoying their football club again. In fact, I didn’t realise how much I still loved the club.
“To beat the Cod Army last weekend was a magnificent win, which put us right back in the frame and gives us a chance. There’s a long way to go but it’s good times back at Blackpool.
“It was great to see Simon go back into a familiar club and he told me all about how much better it is, which was great to hear.
“It was great to learn more about him and his family.
“I liked him in the past and I like him even more now.”
Holloway did the interview, which is yet to be broadcast, for EFL sponsors Sky Bet and even had time for a quick game of darts on his visit.
“I beat Michael Nottingham,” he said. “I practise every day and I absolutely whooped him, with his own darts and on his own board.
“But in all seriousness, the atmosphere was really good. I spoke to a couple of the players who I have worked with before and they were really, really enjoying it. They are very optimistic.
“The only thing I was surprised at was the training ground – it looked worse! There’s no buildings.
“It means the players have to get changed at the ground and drive over, but I suppose they still get to eat at that lovely restaurant in the hotel.
“But I was delighted with it all. I know the fans think Simon Sadler is a massive improvement and that’s all that matters. That gives him half a start.
“I still look back at how it was going and it was very difficult for me from afar to say anything. But at the end of the day I’m delighted for the supporters.
“It’s a magnificent football club with a fantastic history and I hope their future is as bright as their history is.”
Holloway was speaking at an event hosted by TheSackRace.com