‘It came out of the blue’: Mike Garrity opens up on Neil Critchley’s surprise Blackpool exit

Blackpool’s former assistant head coach Mike Garrity has admitted Neil Critchley’s sudden departure came “out of the blue” to even him.

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His exit left Garrity in the lurch, as he had joined the club in 2020 to work with Critchley for a second time having previously spent time together in Liverpool’s academy.

Following the appointment of Michael Appleton, both Garrity and Iain Brunskill left the club by mutual consent as the new man brought in his own backroom staff in David Kerslake and Richard O’Donnell, who had worked with him at Lincoln.

Ironically, Garrity has now made the move to Sincil Bank to become Mark Kennedy’s new number two.

Reflecting on his Blackpool departure, Garrity told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “I had two fantastic years there.

“We were successful with it and what happened came out of the blue a little bit, if I’m honest with you. But I suppose that’s football, it can happen.

Garrity spent two years working alongside Critchley with Blackpool

“One minute you’re okay and you’re secure and the next minute you can find yourself on uncertain ground.

“I suppose that’s in the past now and I have to look forward and move on with this challenge here at Lincoln.”

Fortunately Garrity wasn’t out of work for long, the coach joining Lincoln six days after his departure from Bloomfield Road was confirmed.

His move to Sincil Bank materialised very quickly following talks with the League One club’s head of football Jez George and chief executive Liam Scully, he revealed.

Garrity added: “At the start of last week I had a phone call with Jez who put his ideas across to me and I have to say, I was extremely impressed in terms of the infrastructure, how they wanted to move forward with the club, the ambitions they had, how they wanted to work and how much they believed in developing the younger players as well as everyone else in the squad.

“I was impressed with Jez and Liam and having a conversation with Mark in terms of his passion and enthusiasm for working and developing players, so I thought it seemed like a good fit and it was a project I wanted to get involved with.”

While Garrity is aware of former Birmingham City assistant Kennedy, having come up against him with Blackpool last season, the two have never worked together before – but the Liverpudlian says that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Kennedy, a Republic of Ireland international as a player who also represented Liverpool, Wolves, Cardiff City and others, was appointed Imps boss last month.

“Maybe it shows you the type of person Mark is that he feels very secure in himself in terms of not having to bring an entourage of people with him,” Garrity added.

“He’s prepared and open minded to work with new people, which I like. I suppose I’ve benefited from that.”