Blackpool FC’s Championship revival – Neil Critchley and the bounce of Bloomfield

Blackpool FC manager Neil Critchley looks set for a mid-table finish in the Championship this season, as DAN BALDWIN speaks to YouTube channel Lee Charles TV on the fan’s verdict of their boss.

A six-season stay away from the Championship highlighted a turbulent time in the club’s recent history, with a brief drop to League Two having added further misery in the 2016/17 season.

But in March 2020, Neil Critchley arrived in the dug-out– the former Liverpool U18s, U23s and one of only 16 coaches worldwide to have obtained UEFA’s elite badge.

After a curtailed regular season in 2019/20 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his first stint as Blackpool boss would end in 13th position in League One, on a points-per-game ratio.

However, the following campaign marked a monumental return to England’s second division, as the Seasiders finished third and won the Play-Off final 2-1 over Lincoln City at Wembley.

Now 16th in the Championship, with a trip to newly relegated Barnsley on the horizon tomorrow night (7:45pm kick off), Blackpool fan channel Lee Charles TV believes Critchley has shown the signs of building a promotion-pushing squad for next season.

He said: “I totally believe in Neil Critchley; he is constantly trying to improve himself and the players.

“We see evidence every week that he is building a close-knit squad who are enjoying their football, and if they don’t buy into the way we are doing things, they are shipped out.

“I think he has a vision with the academy, and he seems to have a good rapport with Simon Sadler (club owner).

“They appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet and I can only see things improving on and off the pitch from now on.”

Lee Charles TV

Despite defeating fierce rivals Preston North End earlier in October, the trip to Deepdale this month saw North End claim the bragging rights, with on-loan striker Cameron Archer scoring the only goal of the game.

More recently though, the Seasiders hammered Birmingham City 6-1, much to the delight of the Bloomfield crowd.

Inconsistency would be the biggest factor to improve on next season, as Critchley’s side have won 15, drawn 12 and lost 16 games so far.

Only 12 points bridge the gap between Blackpool’s 16th and Sheffield United’s sixth-place play-off spot, highlighting the competitiveness of the Championship when aiming for the Premier League.

While a back-to-back promotion is statistically impossible, the following campaign may bring Critchley and his young squad even closer to the top flight once again, which Blackpool haven’t graced since 2010/11.