New Blackpool head coach Mick McCarthy admits he did wonder whether football had “retired” him after being out of work for more than 14 months.
The 63-year-old, whose last job ended at Cardiff in October 2021, was appointed by the Seasiders last week to replace Michael Appleton with the club second-bottom in the Championship table and seeking to avoid relegation.
But McCarthy, who has managed at five other clubs as well as two spells with the Republic of Ireland, feared his time had come to an end.
“Did I ever say I was happily retired? I’ve enjoyed it more this week, being back this week, that’s for sure,” he said ahead of his first match, an FA Cup trip to Premier League strugglers Southampton after last weekend’s home league game against Huddersfield was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
“I’ve been out for 14 months and I didn’t know if I would get back and wondered if the game had retired me and (it was) not me retiring.
“I’m officially the oldest one in the league and I’m absolutely thrilled by that because I think I was probably the youngest one at one stage, at Millwall at 33.
“Maybe that’s a sign I’ve had a bit of success in the leagues. I am better able to handle it, with a clearer head than I was when I was 33, and we’ll find out (how much better I am) as I don’t gauge myself.
“I’ve got the bit between my teeth. It’s my first game and I’m absolutely buzzing: whether it was the Carabao Cup, FA Cup or a league game I’m really looking forward to it.”
McCarthy will be able to play on-loan Brentford defender Charlie Goode, who joined earlier this week.