Marc Bola strongly believes the new-found positivity surrounding Blackpool FC can be converted into a special season for the Seasiders.
The majority of the club’s fanbase made a historic return to Bloomfield Road in March to celebrate the end of Owen Oyston’s deeply unpopular tenure.
Almost 16,000 fans crammed inside the ground for the ‘homecoming’ clash against Southend United, while 12,000 watched the Seasiders defeat Fleetwood Town in April.
Supporters have already been busy snapping up season tickets ahead of next season’s campaign and Bola is confident that show of faith will be rewarded.
“A full season means we have the 12th man and they’ll be edging us on and hopefully we will do them a favour and get better,” he said.
“It meant a lot for the players, that Southend game. I didn’t play because I was injured, but I know the players appreciated it.
“For the fans, some of them were in tears so it meant a lot to both of us. Hopefully next season there will be a lot of emotion and a lot of happiness.
“At the start of the season I think it’s fair to say most people would have thought we would have been relegated.
“Even though we finished 10th, we know we should have done better but we’ve still proven everyone wrong.
“We just knew we had to roll our sleeves up and be accountable for our own mistakes, and we’ve done that.
“It’s very exciting for next year, with new owners, a new regime. Everyone has got to be on the ball.”
Given the off-the-field uncertainty that loomed over the club for much of last season, Bola says they should be delighted with how the season panned out.
“Every day in training we’re all trying to get better and we all put pressure on ourselves,” the left-back added.
“We want to get to the next level and it’s been a joy to play every minute with these lads.
“The experienced lads, we learn off them and we get a template on how they operate.
“We’ve done well, we’ve done really well despite all the off-the-pitch stuff. We’ve hung in there when most clubs would have crumbled.
“The lads we’ve got, we’ve hung in there and stuck together.
“I think it’s more than the squad though, it’s everyone around the club, the staff, the media, everyone. We’ll all hung in there.
“Most people would have fled but we’ve all stuck together and now the club is on a high and on a rebuild. We’re going to get there.”
Bola’s team-mate Jordan Thompson has been named in a 27-man Northern Ireland squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus.
The Blackpool midfielder has made the cut for the double-header having initially been called up for a training camp.
Michael O’Neill’s side sit top of Group C ahead of the two away fixtures, which take place on June 8 and June 11.