Neil Critchley picks out his highlight of Blackpool's season - and it’s not what you might think

Neil Critchley has revealed one of the major highlights of Blackpool’s return to the Championship actually came in defeat.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 7:00 am

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The Seasiders enjoyed a fine season back in the second tier following their promotion via the League One play-offs, finishing in 16th and 23 points clear of the bottom three.

There were some standout wins along the way, such as the home victory against rivals Preston North End, the 1-0 triumph over eventual title winners Fulham and the 6-1 thrashing of Birmingham City.

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But the first thing that springs to mind for Blackpool’s head coach is the inspirational reaction he and his players were given by the supporters at full-time after the game away to West Brom in April.

Despite seeing the home side score an injury-time winner to win 2-1 at The Hawthorns, it was only the Blackpool fans you could hear singing as they serenaded their dispirited players from the away end.

In what transpired to be quite a touching moment, the standing ovation lasted for a few minutes with Critchley almost looking at awe at the tangerine faithful.

“There have been quite a few highlights,” Critchley told Blackpool’s review of the season show.

Neil Critchley applauds the supporters after Blackpool's defeat at West Bromwich Albion

“The first goal of the season away at Bristol City was important for us, especially with the timing of it. To get a point away from home was really important.

“Beating Fulham at home and some of our local rivals in Preston and Blackburn, they were really memorable days, as was Birmingham at home, the 6-1, on Billy Ayre’s anniversary. That was a really great day. A few away results too, Sheffield United, Stoke.

“The biggest memory I would take away though is having the supporters back in the ground. Last season we pretty much played the whole season other than the odd game with no-one in the ground.

“This season we’ve had the supporters back in the ground and they’ve thoroughly enjoyed themselves and rightly so. We’ve really enjoyed having him here.

“The first home game against Cardiff, even though we lost, to feel that atmosphere was special.

“But one thing that will always remain in my memory is when we lost away to West Brom, because that went beyond football.

“I think the supporters know here that win, lose or draw, and we have to be realistic and know we might lose a few games in this division, the supporters know the club is pushing forward and it’s in good hands with Simon Sadler’s hands.

“Even though we might lose the odd game here or there, there’s something a bit more important which is the club and the future of the club.

“The supporters definitely know we’re doing everything we can to make the club better on and off the pitch.”

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