Gary Bowyer is not the type to demand adulation, but that’s exactly what he deserves for what he did for Blackpool.
Cast your minds back to the summer of 2016, when Blackpool had suffered the second of their back-to-back relegations – unceremoniously dumped into the fourth tier for the first time in 15 years.
The club was on its knees and mired by off-the-field strife. Some were even predicting the club would fall straight through League Two and into non-league, which would have been the ultimate embarrassment.
But Bowyer changed all that. He steadied the ship, made the team competitive for the first time in years and got them winning football matches again – culminating in the play-off triumph at Wembley.
His recruitment was impressive from the start, bringing in the likes of Kyle Vassell, Kelvin Mellor and Armand Gnanduillet. That continued this summer, recruiting Mark Howard, Jordan Thompson and Marc Bola among others.
Not enough was made of Bowyer’s sterling work last season, as he guided Pool to 12th place despite being among the bookies’ favourites to go down at the start of the season.
It’s a huge shame Bowyer was never given the opportunity to manage the Seasiders with the full backing of the fanbase, never mind getting a bit of investment and backing from those above him.
The 47-year-old has a huge task on his hands to keep Bradford City up, with the Bantams six points adrift of safety with eight games to play. The last thing Bowyer deserves is a relegation on his CV, especially one that he will have had very little to do with should it transpire.
But if he does somehow manage to keep Bradford up, let’s hope their revival begins after tomorrow’s game. I hope the fans give Bowyer the reception he deserves.