Departing Blackpool midfielder Jack Payne says Gary Bowyer’s promotion-winning team is one of the best he’s ever been involved with.
The 25-year-old, who only signed for the club at the start of the season, is among 10 players to have been released after Pool’s League Two play-off final triumph.
The Kent-born player had an option of a further year on his deal but it is understood the former Peterborough United man is keen on a return to the south.
Payne played a leading role in Blackpool’s success this season, making 44 appearances with one of those coming in the Seasiders’ 2-1 win against Exeter City at Wembley on Sunday.
Speaking after the Seasiders’ win at the national stadium, Payne said Bowyer deserves all the credit for assembling such a good side that clinched promotion at the first attempt.
“The gaffer has got the squad together and, to be fair, it’s probably been one of the best I’ve been involved with,” he said.
“So a lot of credit goes to him for that. He picks the team and obviously we go out and do the business, so he’s been good this year and hopefully it continues next season.
“We’ve got a great group of players here with a great team spirit and I think that showed. We had a couple of injuries but the boys that came on saw us through.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, we’re still celebrating it.
“When the final whistle goes you just go mad, don’t you? I don’t think anyone really knows what to do. You just run towards whoever is near you.
“But we’ll never forget this moment, it’ll be with us for the rest of our life.”
Payne was visibly upset when he was brought off in the second half at Wembley after suffering a slight knock.
The midfielder insisted he could play on but his manager opted to bring him off to replace him with the experienced Ian Black.
Payne added: “My leg went a bit straight after one of the Exeter players caught me on my knee. There was a bit of swelling but it’s not too bad.
“I didn’t want to come off to be fair but the gaffer took it into his own hands. I was limping around but I thought I could carry on.
“It is what it is but we won so it didn’t really matter.”