I slept like a baby the night before the playoff final against Cardiff.
The form we were in made me believe that they believed they could do it. I’d never really felt like that in my life before. There was almost a sort of calmness about it – as if there was a storm going on outside, but I was in a quiet little area just watching it rage.
I felt it. This lot can do this. They really can.
That was the message I gave to the players. I talked them up. I talked about how big the club was, and how great it could be.
I reminded them that Stanley Matthews was all over the walls at Bloomfield Road. Morty, Stan Mortensen, was all over the walls. I said: “I want you to be famous, lads. Why can’t you be famous? Why can’t this group of Blackpool supporters remember you for the next 40, 50 years? Why can’t you do something special?”
I think that was the biggest thing I got them to understand.
“Let’s do something. Let’s make a difference”
When I first started coaching, it was all about me. I wanted to be a good coach. I wanted to be a good manager.
It was all I was thinking about: me, me, me, me, me.
But the truth is, at that time, it wasn’t about me. It was about them. I wanted to make a difference to them. I wanted their lives to change. I wanted them to get a promotion. I wanted them to be better players and better people.
I wanted them to understand what being a true teammate meant, and that it didn’t matter what facilities they had to train on. It didn’t matter what we didn’t have.
Stop moaning about all of that. Let’s do something. Let’s make a difference.
And that’s what they did.
At Wembley that day, there was one moment, after the final whistle blew, when Rob Edwards – a wonderful lad who hadn’t played on the day – ran out on the pitch. I watched him grab hold of two or three of his mates, and they were all crying.
All I can remember is him saying: “We did it. We did it. We did it.”
And that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Because I believed they could. And, in the end, they did.