Neil Critchley: Blackpool appoint former Liverpool U23 boss as head coach
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 02/03/20 10:30am
Blackpool have appointed former Liverpool U23 boss Neil Critchley as head coach on a deal until the end of the 2022-23 season.
Critchley replaces Simon Grayson, who was sacked as manager in February after a run of one win in 12 games.
"I am absolutely delighted to join Blackpool," said Critchley, who will take charge of his first game on Saturday against local rivals Fleetwood.
"The trust and faith that has been shown in me from [owner] Simon [Sadler] and [chief executive] Ben Mansford gives me a very special feeling inside.
"I can't wait to get started, I'm really looking forward to the weeks and months ahead, meeting the players, working on the grass, developing the team and meeting some of the supporters."
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Critchley spent six years with Liverpool and was placed in charge of the first-team twice this season, when Jurgen Klopp opted to play the U23 side in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
"The time I've had at Liverpool has been truly special," added Critchley. "I've been incredibly well supported there from Alex Inglethorpe, the Academy Manager, and all the staff.
"It's a truly special football club and it's the people that make the football club the place that it is. It would have had to have taken something equally as special, if not more, for me to even think about leaving.
"But from the conversations I've had here, I got a really good feeling about the people, where they want the Club to go and how they want it to grow."
Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford says he is "delighted" to have appointed Critchley, after failing in an approach for Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson and QPR assistant manager John Eustace.
"Neil is one of the most talented coaches in the country and comes with a wealth of experience," he said.
"From starting his coaching journey, to taking the Liverpool team this season, Neil has committed his professional life to becoming the best.
"When you combine his time spent at Crewe, which ultimately saw him become Academy Director and where the target was to develop individuals, with his seven years at Liverpool, the last three of which were spent with their highly regarded Under-23s, where the team was supreme, I feel we have a stand out person to lead Blackpool forwards with our own aims of returning to the Championship and beyond."