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Aston Villa replace Michael Beale with manager of Championship club

Aston Villa have quickly took to replace Michael Beale with Neil Critchley, who had been manager of Championship club Blackpool.

Critchley came into Blackpool as their boss in March 2020, and in his first full season at Bloomfield Road won promotion for the Tangerines.

They were back to the Championship having defeated Lincoln City in the League One playoff final at Wembley.

Despite a small budget, Blackpool were able to finish the 2021-22 season by finishing in 16th position, and impressed within his stay at the club before leaving.


Blackpool Football Club can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Aston Villa for Head Coach Neil Critchley to join Steven Gerrard’s coaching staff.

The 43-year-old, who knows Gerrard from his previous role at Liverpool, has accepted the position of Assistant Head Coach at Villa Park, which was recently vacated by Michael Beale.

Appointed at Blackpool in March 2020, Neil Critchley leaves the Club following a successful period in charge, having guided the Seasiders to a Championship promotion, via the play-offs, in his first, full season at Bloomfield Road.

Awarded the North-West Football Awards’ Manager of the Season accolade in November 2021 for that achievement, he went on to lead Blackpool to a 16th place finish in the division last season with a tally of 60 points.

Placing a strong emphasis on developing talent throughout his time on the Fylde Coast, Critchley’s decision to take up the opportunity in the Premier League comes after managing Blackpool in 109 competitive fixtures.

Owner Simon Sadler said:

“Neil has been a consummate professional ever since arriving at Blackpool and really bought into what this Club and Town are all about. He has built up strong relationships with the staff, players and supporters and made some special memories for us all.

“Naturally, we are disappointed to lose him, but thank him for all that he has achieved during his time at Bloomfield Road and wish him well in the Premier League with Aston Villa.

“Our primary focus now turns to succession planning and making the best possible appointment to continue taking this great Club of ours forward.”


Aston Villa is pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Critchley as Assistant Head Coach.

Critchley leaves his post as manager of Championship club Blackpool with immediate effect to become part of Steven Gerrard’s coaching staff.

The 43-year-old led Blackpool to promotion from League One during his first full season at the helm via the play-offs and managed them successfully to a mid-table position last term.

Critchley joined the Liverpool Academy in 2013, coaching the Under-18s and Under-23s, and took charge of the senior Liverpool side twice during the 2019/20 season. One of those occasions was against Villa for a Carabao Cup tie with the Reds’ first team away at the Club World Cup.

Fans reacted as Aston Villa replace Michael Beale with Neil Critchley, who had been manager of Championship club Blackpool…


@waymorr10: To become an assistant I don’t get it…

@darrenjrobbins: Absolutely gutted, did not see that coming at all

@thomas_timson: What the actual fuck.

@AlanSanderson12: Absolutely gutted. Can’t see anyone getting better out our squad than him. Good luck at Villa Critch

@mjm201187: Wow manager leaving to become an assistant 😂😂😂😂😂 relegation bound these boys

@PnefcCharlie: Hahahhahaha where’s ya fist bumps now

@ChrisBFC1996: Wtf… I’m lost for words

@IainTarpey: Let’s get Sean Dyche. #utmp

@glynnsho: Don’t get why you would leave a role as manager to become a number 2. Especially when you are doing a good job at you’re current team.

@joeyrex: Beyond shocked by this, why would anyone with ambition go from being a Number 1 to Number 2 anywhere. Out of the blue as well. Difficult job for anyone coming in. Pretty gutting news.

@stephen_dimmock: Bit odd really, I thought he was building something decent there. Why leave it to become an assistant coach? Unless the salary was better

@CBR994: He was so loved by us all at Blackpool, he could have been a legend, can’t help feeling betrayed at the moment, I thought he had more loyalty to the club than this. Pool gave him his first chance in management. Massive blow for our club.

@Ezzmundo: Its a fucking shambles. Its another fucking rebuild again. Start all over again. He’s done us dirty massivly especially the things he would say to us. Money talks but he’s sold us out massive time. Hope he fails.

@Clifton_jfc: Gutted, really changed the mood of the town and was such a likeable man to get behind

@SammyFid: Wow, very surprised to see this. Can only thank NC for the work he’s done and wish him the best. Would loved to have seen him at the club for another few years after what he built

@BramTheBpoolFan: absolutely gobsmacked. Yes it’s important to get more structure at the club and forward planning, so why is this happening, and why did we get him in, get promoted, then build a team around his ethics, to then say Training ground is priority and we have no money. Baffling. 🍊

@paulmolloy100: Doesn’t say much for his ambition in football coaching/management. Backward step imho.

@53BFC53: Leaving to become an assistant is a shock, he was always going to move on eventually but this is a real kick in the spuds.

@C99Cole: Neil Critchley’s Tangerine Army is no more 🙁

@Zacrobins: What the fuck 😭

@andyash34: Fucks sake, what the fuck is he doing!!!!!

@Sleet_Thomas: Wow did not see that coming at all! Thanks for for the memories Critch! 😔 💔 “Neil Critchley’s tangerine army” 🍊

@LFCLaurie: Neil Critchley is an unreal appointment for Villa but I have no idea why anyone would want to leave a managerial job in the Championship just to work as an assistant at a mid table Premier League side. Money talks but just weird to me.

@LewisPa52080956: How small are you even if he’s leaving to be stevies assistant 🤣🤣🤣

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