Gary Bowyer’s shock Blackpool exit has rocked the Fylde coast, and just up the road at Fleetwood Town ex-Seasider Bobby Grant says their League One rivals will not find a better manager.
Grant, 28, had swapped Bloomfield Road for Fleetwood’s Highbury base a year before Bowyer arrived at Blackpool in the sum mer of 2016.
Bowyer took over a Blackpool side that had just been relegated to League Two and went on to guide them back to the third tier at the first time of asking.
After that play-off victory Bowyer steered Blackpool to a 12th-placed finish, two places above Fleetwood.
Grant was part of a Fleetwood side that drew 0-0 and lost 2-1 to the Tangerines last term.
And given his knowledge of the club and having seen the work that Bowyer did to steady the ship, Grant says he is a huge loss for their near neighbours and doubts they will find anyone better than the 47-year-old ex-Blackburn Rovers boss.
Grant told The Gazette: “To be fair I could not believe the news. They have just lost a fantastic manager.
“What he has done for that club, how he has steadied their ship ... only he will be able to give you the reasons why he has walked away from it.
“Knowing Gary Bowyer, he would not have walked away from that for no reason.
“It is a real shame because I do not think Blackpool will replace him with anyone better than him. That just shows you the ambitions of that club.”
While Fleetwood have invested in players, Grant knows that Bowyer has been forced to scrimp and save, and to scour the transfer market for bargains to fill his squad.
The Pool boss’ recruitment was hindered by the club’s well documented off-the-field issues and it is a credit to Bowyer that his loans and free transfers, such as Grant’s ex-Fleetwood team- mate Jimmy Ryan, helped his side to secure a respectable mid-table finish.
But now after just one game of the season, and with the transfer window about to slam shut, Bowyer has handed in his resignation.
And Grant says following in his footsteps and getting out it is the best thing for the boss to do given those restrictions.
He said: “If they are not prepared to back him in the transfer market, then I really don’t know what chance he has got.
“If he is not getting the backing, then I think the best thing for him is to do what he has done.”