Gary Bowyer admits there will be a bad taste in his mouth all summer following Blackpool’s defeat on the final day of the season, but there is an overriding sense of pride at his side’s campaign.
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The Seasiders’ season closed with a 1-0 defeat at Rotherham United but their 12th-placed finish was an impressive achievement for a team that had been favourites for relegation following promotion via the League Two play-offs.
Bowyer spoke of his frustration at having to take the Rotherham defeat with him into the off-season.
Blackpool really ought to have won at the New York Stadium and would have finished in the top 10 had they done so.
Despite finishing the season on a loss, Bowyer was left to reflect on a second satisfying campaign with the club.
He said: “I think the overriding feeling is one of pride in terms of remaining in this league having been promoted last year so late on. Budget wise, just look at what we were competing against at Rotherham. But we’ve more than held our own in this league in terms of our performances.
“Talk about a ‘what if?’ What if Mark Cullen had been fit all season? What if Kyle Vassell had been fit? So that’s something for us to work on over the summer.
“There’s disappointment in terms of the last 20 minutes at Rotherham because we missed a great deal of chances. We’ve had loads of games like that.
“We said to the players we have to take that result away with us for the rest of the summer.
“That doesn’t sit well with me, so I feel sorry for my poor wife.
“I wanted ninth place if we could have got it, so I go away disappointed after the Rotherham defeat.
“But if you’d offered me this position at the start of the season, we’d have taken your right arm off and your left arm off. So I’m pleased with the efforts of the players.”
Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal means Bowyer is now 30th on the list of longest- serving managers in England’s top four divisions.
The former Blackburn Rovers boss, who took the reins at Bloomfield Road in June 2016, is one spot behind Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho.
Paul Tisdale is now the longest-serving manager, having been in charge of Exeter City for 11 years.