Pool players and fans salute Ayre's Class of '˜92
Players and supporters came together to reminisce about Blackpool's 1992 promotion triumph 25 years on from that famous win at Wembley.
The Blackpool Former Players’ Association hosted their third legends’ night at Viva Blackpool, just three days before the current squad tasted play-off glory of their own thanks to their 2-1 win over Exeter City.
But the only focus of the night was Billy Ayre’s team, who clinched promotion from Division Four during the 1991/92 season thanks to a penalty shootout win against Scunthorpe United.
That victory was all the sweeter as it came 12 months after the Seasiders had lost on penalties at the national stadium against Torquay United, with star striker Dave Bamber missing from the spot.
Bamber was among those players who attended last week’s event, alongside captain Paul Groves, goalkeeper Steve McIlhargey, Mike Davies, Trevor Sinclair and others.
Derek Spence, chairman of Blackpool’s Former Players’ Association, said: “This particular event is about two things for me. It’s about history – the history of the club and the history of the players – and it’s about the memories too.
“I’m not going to tell you it’s been a bed of roses at Bloomfield Road for the last 20 years – in fact it’s been really tough and it had divided communities – but that’s why we need to get people on board for events like this.”
The night included a three-course meal, before Mike Davies and Sinclair took to the stage to talk about their memories from that day back in 1992.
The night ended with an auction, with Sinclair winning a bidding war for a signed photo of Ayre and his triumphant team before donating it to the family of the former Pool manager – who sadly passed away in 2002.
Sinclair, who started his career with Blackpool before going on to enjoy an illustrious career, said Ayre was an “inspiration” to him during his time at the club.
“I had some fantastic role models for me to look up to and to be around them when I was coming through as a youngster was brilliant,” he said.
“It was a great time for the club and to succeed in 1992 was brilliant. It set me in good stead and helped me go on to have a good career.”