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Blackpool - The Golden Mile of disappointment...

Tuesday 8th April 2014
At this present time, it's unclear which division Blackpool will start the 2014/15 season in. Yes, they are six points clear of the dreaded dropzone, but (and it is a big but...) they are in the poorest form out of any of their relegation threatened peers.

Yeovil's visit to Bloomfield Road on Saturday was the chance for the tangerines to put clear daylight between themselves and Gary Johnson's men. Sadly, they rolled over and presented them with a lifeline. It was an abject performance that should have finished up a lot worse than the 2-1 scoreline suggested. The West Country side are no pushovers granted, but they are renowned for being unable to hold onto a lead, they managed it here.

Most seasider's fans had this fixture earmarked as an easy three points and one of only a few remaining fixtures in which we stand a chance of picking up some points. They welcome promotion chasing Derby to Bloomfield today (8th April), who managed to put five past us in December.

So where has it all gone wrong?

Good question...

The blame surely has to lie predominantly with Chairman Karl Oyston, it's easy to point the finger in the direction of his frugal methods, but it seems a series of poor management choices and his dogged resistance to spending any money on transfer fees may be critical to our current position. The businessman claims that 'you don't have to spend money to be successful in football', those words could come back to bite him on the 3rd of May.

Ian Holloway may not be pulling up any trees at Millwall, but he was adored amongst Blackpool fans for his endeavours which resulted in one unforgettable season in the Premier League and two Championship Play-Off finals coupled with some scintillating football along the way.  Yes, he had his flaws, his throw three strikers on when in a losing position policy was frustrating, but life was always entertaining under the maverick Bristolian.

He wasn't backed in the transfer market and made his way to South London. Michael Appleton followed, who after a succession of draws, departed for Blackburn and was sacked soon after. It seemed like an eternity until his successor was appointed, but after multiple knock backs from established managers, Paul Ince came in and kept Blackpool in the division.

The summer quickly descended into a farce, with many of our friendlies spent fielding 11 trialists and the failure of player arrivals had pundits and fans writing off Blackpool's chances.

The best start in 67 years followed and optimism was rife despite the turgid style of football that Ince insisted on. Full backs were instructed not to cross the halfway line and matches often resulted in only one or two chances being created, even at home.

It all comes back to Yeovil...

It all went wrong at Huish Park, Blackpool lost 1-0 and had three players sent off during the 90 minutes (all within about five minutes of each other). Worse followed, the aforementioned 5-1 defeat to Derby occurred and another two players were dismissed in the process.

Blackpool failed to win another game until March and picked up just 3 points during this period. From Play Off contenders to relegation fodder in three months.

During this time, Ince was dismissed amongst farcical reports that he was sacked by text, Barry Ferguson was promoted to player-manager and asked to stop the rot.

The rot hasn't been stopped, despite two wins over Huddersfield and Millwall and a hard earned point against QPR.

Come the summer, Blackpool will have only five players under contract, most loanees and free transfers will be leaving the club and the fans will be glad to see the back of the majority of them.

So wholesale changes needed over the summer, Oyston simply has to spend some money otherwise it will be another season of struggle. Barry Ferguson may or may not be in the managers seat, most fans would agree, he hasn't proven anything yet and an experienced manager arriving would alleviate a lot of the fans worries.

We may cling on to our Championship status, but it will only be because of the incompetencies of the teams around us. 18 points is a lot to play for and it could still all change. At the moment however, we don't like to be beside the seaside...
Jack Critchley
Blackpool fan who enjoys a spot of the football league. I follow Championship through to League Two.

Total articles: 18

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