Gilks: I was right to stay put
Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks is thankful he opted against joining last summer's exodus from Bloomfield Road.
The Seasiders' last-day relegation from the Premier League prompted key figures such as Charlie Adam, DJ Campbell and David Vaughan to seek pastures new.
Scotland international Gilks also had offers on the table despite enduring a campaign significantly interrupted by a knee injury.
But with the Lancashire outfit chasing a second Championship play-off triumph in three years when they take on West Ham at Wembley in Saturday's final, the 29-year-old is happy he succumbed to boss Ian Holloway's powers of persuasion.
"I was very close to leaving," said Gilks. "There were a couple of clubs speaking to my agent and we were waiting on answers.
"Fortunately they took their time and Blackpool didn't. Ian Holloway was on the phone to me non-stop, I was going to turn it off at one point!
"But he persuaded me to come back and, for myself, it was a footballing decision.
"I'd missed five or six months through injury in the Premier League and I needed to play football again
"Thankfully it was the right decision because of where we are, plus it's possibly been one of the best seasons I've had."
Constant telephone bombardment aside, Gilks acknowledges his relationship with Holloway is not always harmonious, but insists he and his team-mates are full of admiration for a manager who has steered them to the play-off final on a nine-match unbeaten run.
"He's a good manager," Gilks said. "He's a great coach and he's wants people to be honest.
"Me and the gaffer had a few words and a bit of a row a few weeks back. I told him a few things that perhaps he didn't want to hear, but that's the honesty that he wants from players. It was all out in the open and the next day it was put to bed.
"It shows in this squad with how well we've done this year that that's the policy we have.
"I can't fault the guy. And it's not like you're sucking up to the manager, he's a good bloke.
"We're all honest people at this football club and that's what he's instilled in us.
"As players, we have total belief and trust in what he tells us to do. If we go up again, we owe massive, massive credit to him."
As the hype surrounding a game often branded the richest in football grows louder, Gilks will happily back away from the noise before enjoying a summer away from the game.
"I just completely switch off from it," he added. "You could almost say I'm not that into football really.
"That's a stupid thing to say, but when you go home you've got to switch off because otherwise it's too much.
"You need a break from football. I won't be watching the Euros, no way."