Ex-Blackpool defender Tom Aldred reveals 'devastation' at limping off Wembley pitch injured during play-off triumph in 2017

Tom Aldred has opened up on the “devastation” he felt at being forced to limp off the Wembley pitch during Blackpool’s League Two play-off final triumph in 2017.

By Matt Scrafton
Monday, 25th May 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 25th May 2020, 12:36 pm

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The defender, who was Blackpool’s stand-in captain on the day in the absence of Andy Taylor, lasted just half an hour, departing the field in tears as he held his injured Achilles.

The Seasiders would go on to beat Exeter City 2-1 thanks to goals from Brad Potts and Mark Cullen to seal an instant return to the third tier.

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Aldred leaves the Wembley field in tears during Blackpool's play-off final against Exeter City in 2017

Recalling his mixed emotions from the day, Aldred told Sky Sports: “I was frustrated and devastated. I knew early on I had an Achilles problem and that I wasn't going to last the 90 minutes.

“I remember the opposition manager from Exeter [Paul Tisdale] was very consoling.

“As soon as I got in the changing room, I remember thinking 'just get the job done lads' and fortunately we managed to get it over the line."

The day still ended in elation for Blackpool’s captain, who led his side up the famous Wembley steps to lift the play-off final trophy.

“The whole emotions came out in the day,” Aldred added.

“We had a really good manager in Gary Bowyer who galvanised the squad and we had some good players in there, players who've had really good careers.

“You see many clubs dropping to League Two and it takes them years to get out of it, but we bounced back straight away and put Blackpool in a position where they're on the up.

“It was an amazing day, to get promoted at Wembley, as captain, and lift the trophy at Wembley is a proud moment and one that I will look back on.

“I can't believe it was three years ago, it seems like yesterday.”

Having left Bloomfield Road in 2017 to join Bury, the centre back then moved north of the border to link up with SPL side Motherwell.

He then decided to make the big decision to up sticks last year, travelling across the world to join Australian side Brisbane Roar.

There he is managed by legendary former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, who is assisted by former Blackpool number two Tony Grant.

On working with Fowler, Aldred said: “He's always in the ears of the strikers. His finishing is as good as I've seen, to be fair. He's very, very good.

“When he does like to get involved with the lads up front, he can finish that's for sure.

“He joins in little boxes and the little rondos and he's brilliant with his feet. He does his bit of fitness work now and again. His ability is there for all to see.

“I always give him a bit of banter because, when he's on my team, he never tracks any runners, but he ends up putting the ball in the net.”

Aldred, a Manchester United fan, has joked with Fowler how the Premier League campaign should be declared null and void to deny his beloved Liverpool the league title.

“I've said they should knock it on the head and finish it,” the 29-year-old said.

“I was giving him a bit of banter before this all broke out and he just couldn't wait to get the games done so Liverpool can be crowned champions which, obviously, they do, as much as it pains me to say, deserve it.”