Riga hails ‘incredible’ supporter response

Jose Riga with his head held high before Saturday's game
Jose Riga with his head held high before Saturday's game
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Jose Riga thanked Blackpool’s supporters after a reception to remember at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.

The 57-year-old came close to being replaced as Pool manager last week, when chairman Karl Oyston’s pursuit of |Owen Coyle and then Burton boss Gary Rowett became public knowledge, but Riga clearly has huge popular support among the Pool faithful.

It remains to be seen whether Oyston will now stick with the Belgian or continue to seek a successor.

Supporters chanted the manager’s name at the end of the home draw with Wolves, leaving club bosses in no doubt whose side they are on.

Riga said: “The atmosphere was incredible and it helped us a lot.

“The way the team behaved and the commitment between the fans, players and the staff was great.

“Our fans deserve something, so it was great to be able to finally give them something back for what they give us each day.

“I’m very pleased. There is a feeling here which I have known in some clubs but not as strong as this.

“Of course it makes me stronger but I just do my job, and maybe it’s because I’m loyal, honest and tell the truth.”

Even before his problems with Oyston, Riga was highly popular among Pool’s supporters, who voted him their first-choice in a Gazette poll before his appointment in June.

And it’s that support which he says makes him stay at the club.

Riga added: “I’ve said it before, but it’s one of the main reasons why I’m here. I decided to go to Blackpool because I knew we can create this kind of atmosphere.

“It’s good to be able to give back what the supporters deserve.”

It wasn’t just Riga who was full of praise for Pool’s fans after the game – Wolves boss Kenny Jackett was at it too.

He said: “They’ve drawn 0-0 at home and they’ve been applauded off.

“The supporters are right behind the players and the manager, and you could see it in the spirit the players have shown. They showed fantastic spirit in their defending and in their heart.”