Blackpool matchwinner Chris Long puts Joey Barton row behind him

Chris Long insists he needed no extra motivation from former boss Joey Barton to realise his dream of scoring a match-winning goal on his Blackpool debut.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 5:00 am
Chris Long celebrates scoring Blackpools winning goal on his debut for the Seasiders

The striker came off the bench to score the decisive goal 15 minutes from time to hand the Seasiders a priceless win at league leaders Portsmouth on Saturday.

It was the perfect way to cap off his first appearance for Blackpool having only signed for the club four days previously.

“There’s nothing better than scoring on your debut, it’s what every striker dreams of,” Long said.

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“I’m absolutely buzzing, especially for the lads to get the win and take the three points back home.”

Long’s signing and his exit from former club Fleetwood Town was surrounded in controversy and bad blood, with his ex-manager Barton saying the striker would be given a “dose of reality” playing for Blackpool.

Barton also questioned the 23-year-old’s attitude during his shortlived spell at Highbury, where he made just 13 appearances despite signing a two-year contract during the summer.

When asked if Barton’s comments had given him extra motivation to prove him wrong, Long replied: “No, to be honest. He’s gone now, that’s in the past.

“I’ve played for other clubs in the past too but I’m at Blackpool now and my main focus is to play games and score goals. He’s irrelevant to me now.”

One particular comment from Barton that attracted attention was how Long will need to get used to washing his own clothes at Blackpool.

But Long gave that short shrift, instead opting to make a joke out of it.

“My girlfriend has already got the kit on, it’s cleaned and ironed ready for training on Monday,” he joked. “She loves it.”

Long opened his account for Blackpool with a clinical low finish having been set up by Armand Gnanduillet’s knockdown.

It was yet another goal for Long against Portsmouth, a side he scored against on three occasions last season for former club Northampton.

“My family were telling me I would come on and score the winner and I was dreaming about it the night before,” Long added. “Thankfully it came true.

“Terry (McPhillips, Blackpool manager) just said to go and enjoy myself and work hard, and that’s exactly what I did.

“For the goal, Armand flicked it on, which he is very good at, and I just stayed calm and slotted it nicely.

“Portsmouth is an amazing club with a lot of fans, especially at League One level, and I obviously just like scoring against them.

“I thought the lads were outstanding, every single one of them. They worked so hard, they were unbelievable.”