Blackpool Football Club is delighted to announce that Neil Critchley has agreed to become Head Coach on a contract that runs until the end of the 2022/23 season.
One of only 16 coaches in the country to have gained the highest possible qualification in the game, the 41-year-old joins the Club from reigning UEFA Champions League holders Liverpool, where he has held the position of Under-23s coach.
Having served in that role since 2017, on the back of four years as Under-18s coach, Critchley has helped develop some of Liverpool’s brightest young talents and internationals.
This season, he has also taken charge of the Reds in a Carabao Cup quarter-final and Emirates FA Cup tie, guiding a young side to the fifth round stage of the latter.
Born in Crewe, Critchley was Academy Director at his hometown club for six years between 2007 and 2013.
Owner Simon Sadler said:
“I would like to welcome Neil as he joins us on our journey and thank Liverpool for the way they have handled our approach. The fact that we’ve been able to attract a coach of Neil’s calibre is testament to how this Club is now viewed and is a result of the work that has been done here over recent months.
“Neil is a highly-regarded coach who impressed us with his thorough preparation and analysis of the team. We want this Club to represent the town and community by playing entertaining football, working hard and being organised. We firmly believe that Neil can deliver this and lay down the blueprint for our footballing philosophy.
“Finally, I would like to thank Brett, Linton and, particularly, Ben for their hard work during this process and a special thanks to David Dunn and Tommy Johnson for stepping up on an interim basis to take charge of the team.”
Chief Executive Ben Mansford said:
“I am delighted to welcome Neil to Blackpool FC. Neil is one of the most talented coaches in the country and comes with a wealth of experience. 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.
“On top of his coaching credentials, Neil is also a great person who is regarded as being a man of real integrity. I can’t wait for Neil to get started and I am looking forward to working with him closely.”
Head Coach Neil Critchley added:
“I am absolutely delighted to join Blackpool. The trust and faith that has been shown in me from Simon and Ben 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.
“The time I’ve had at Liverpool has been truly special. 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.”