The jubilant scenes that greeted Blackpool’s FA Youth cup win against Southampton proves the sense of togetherness at Bloomfield Road.
That’s according to first-team manager Gary Bowyer, who was there to watch the young Seasiders see off the Saints on penalties on Tuesday night, having drawn 1-1 after extra time.
Goalkeeper Craig Thordarson was the hero as he saved two spot-kicks, allowing skipper Ben Jacobson to score the winning penalty to send Blackpool through.
Every member of the first-team squad was present for the tie and celebrated with the youngsters in the dressing room after the game after they made it through to the fifth round of the competition.
“It was outstanding and I have to say, it was probably one of the best things I’ve seen in football for a long time because of the odds that were stacked against our lads,” Bowyer said.
“Going 1-0 down at half-time and then coming back to produce a second-half performance like they did was fantastic.
“To go and win it on the penalties and the scenes at the end were brilliant.
“The fact the first-team lads were there to watch and at the end of the game says it all – I would have thought they would have left.
“But they didn’t, they stayed until the end and were in the tunnel cheering and clapping them as they came off.
“They then went in the dressing room and it was wonderful scenes. It just showed the real sense of spirit and togetherness we have here amongst the playing staff, youth team and first team.
“I was absolutely delighted for (John) Murphy and (Ian) Dawes because of the amount of work they put in and the conditions they have to train under with the weather at Squires Gate.
“But they just get on with it like we all do here and there’s a real sense of togetherness.”
Blackpool now face a long trip to Ipswich Town for a place in the last eight after the Tractor Boys saw off Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1.
The tie must be played by Saturday, February 10.
“I think they better set off now because that’s a trek for them,” Bowyer added.
“But in all seriousness, it’s a tie again where Ipswich are the favourites and no one will give them much of a chance.
“But they will go there with all the confidence and spirit in the world.”