Jimmy Ryan hails the transformation around Blackpool FC
Blackpool captain Jimmy Ryan says the Seasiders finally feel like a “proper club” again.
The 30-year-old missed all but 45 minutes of this season’s campaign with a knee complaint.
He made his long-overdue return in the second half of the final game of the season, almost 12 months to the day since his last taste of the action.
But Ryan has remained in and around the club during his long, drawn-out recovery and has noticed the upsurge in positivity around the club since February.
That was when the club was placed into receivership, something that was celebrated by Blackpool supporters at the time as it spelled the end of Owen Oyston’s hated tenure at the club.
“You’ve got to say it’s been a good season, not just on the pitch but off the pitch with the fans,” Ryan told The Gazette.
“Last time I was playing here there were 2,000 fans, so it was nice to have a crowd in for the Gillingham game.
“This season had a lot to do with the fans getting their club back and fair play to the supporters because they deserve it.
“You only have to look at the gates to see the difference; the noise, the feelgood factor, it feels like a proper club again.
“Playing in front of that many fans, it only lifts the players. I know myself, it felt like a brand new club and it’s just great to see.
“Fair play to the fans, they held out for that long and they got their way and hopefully we can build on that and the club can get back to where it was.”
On the pitch it was another season of progress for the Seasiders, as they finished two places higher than the previous campaign in 10th.
However, several players expressed disappointment that they weren’t able to sustain a play-off challenge.
“On the pitch the lads have done brilliant,” Ryan added. “They were in with a play-off shout until a couple of weeks before the end of the season and what more can you ask of them?
“It’s disappointing the lads didn’t get the play-offs but they’ve had a right go all season despite all the stuff that has gone on.
“So all credit to the lads, they’ve dug in at times, they’ve got great results away from home and stuff like that, so you have to take credit from the season going into next season and build on it.”
Ryan is out of contract this summer but the midfielder has been offered a new deal by the Seasiders.
While the midfielder has yet to commit his future to the club, Ryan previously said he’d love nothing more than to line up in tangerine once again next season.
“I would love to stay here,” he said earlier this month.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer the team when I’m back fit and with a good pre-season under my belt I will be the same player I was.”