Someone must be cataloging these headlines, surely? I’m beginning to lose count.
Blackpool have been handed a suspended three points deduction from the FA in consequence of their pitch invasion against Huddersfield Town in May. So, Blackpool won’t begin the season on Saturday with -3 points, but if Blackpool fans intervene on the pitch during play again, the deduction will come in to play.
What this story doesn’t highlight as much as the possible points deduction, is should an invasion reoccur, the next home fixture Blackpool play, they will be be forced to play it behind closed doors. As far as Blackpool fans are concerned, this behind closed doors game will result in a loss of income for the Oystons – who need no introduction – thus resulting as an incentive to repeat the protest, regardless of the eventual end result on the pitch.
This possibility will hang over Bloomfield Road like a dark cloud and despite ‘Pool fans will do anything to raise further awareness of their club’s dreadful plight, a word of caution is echoed among each other. Why? Primarily, they want to keep fans of other clubs and the football community in general onside. There’s no question the majority of the football community back the fan’s protests, however, neutrals are also aware of the implications invasions can have on the support of the away team. As hated as any football owners can be, there is always room for sympathy concerning supporters who make long journeys up and down the country to follow their side.
Once again, it seems Blackpool’s season will be over-shadowed by off the pitch issues. If there was an award for most comical club, Blackpool would have been handed the honour months ago. It’s incredibly sad that Blackpool fans can barely converse about football in general with any real conviction, as the Seasiders are tipped to slide straight through the division, with or without a points deduction, with a squad that looks very under-prepared. A combination of off the field issues and on the field catastrophes can only be tamed by a good sense of humour, and boy, are ‘Pool fans going to need that.
Lately, an issue that has reared its ugly head multiple times in the past, does so again. It doesn’t help when you’re squad is hugely inexperienced, but when the surface they ply their trade keeps on attempting to imitate a backdrop on Countryfile, it offers the side no chance at all. The geniuses at Bloomfield Road thought that hosting a concert for Neil Diamond in July was a bright idea, clearly having not learnt from the Rod Stewart concert a year earlier which affected the pitch. A little over a week away and only as recently as Wednesday were rolls of grass being relayed in place of where the stage was located for the concert. Blackpool fans have clung on to this with a plenty of irony as the commercial Blackpool Twitter account told one fan to “stop talking drivel” concerning the pitch’s state subsequently after the Neil Diamond concert. This tweet has since been deleted. There are many terms to describe Blackpool these days, a club in the Premier League as recently as 2011, but ‘unprofessional’ is up there with the most relevant.
Aside pitch invasions, fines, points deductions, poor pitches, a poor squad and pure non professionalism, there is also the issue of communication, or lack of, between the club and the world in general. Lately, there seems to be an unpopular trend of clubs only keeping their ‘media partners’ in the loop, for example, for press conferences. Newcastle and Swindon Town are other clubs who are initiating this isolation, but for Blackpool, surely communication is a temporary saving grace for the owners who are on borrowed time any way? Of course not. The Blackpool Gazette’s Will Watt has been regularly keeping in check with Seasiders on Twitter and on Thursday tweeted the Gazette was not welcome at Bloomfield Road for the morning’s press conference.
“Blackpool hold their pre-match press conference at 9:30am this morning. The Gazette have been told we aren’t welcome.”
The impression seems to be that the Oystons have thrown in the towel concerning making any sort of subtle reconciliations with Blackpool’s fan base and the Gazette. It’s almost as if this unprofessionalism is deliberate. There’s no element within recent events to suggest the owners are merely incompetent rather than deliberately making the club look bad. Over the course of the last year, when events such as these and many others beforehand have arisen, the club have made no effort to address the fans and ensure measures are being taken to resolve issues and install solidity. They are simply swept under the carpet.
To conclude this rather depressing article, a second coach in under a week has walked out on the club. On Tuesday, goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms left for neighbours Bolton and his replacement, Fred Barber, arrived almost immediately after. Now, the latter has also quit his role, on Thursday, lasting a mere two days. Barber had arrived at Blackpool from fellow League One side Crewe but Alexandra boss Steve Davis said Barber “had a change of heart” after the two endured a lengthy conversation and returned to Cheshire two days later.
So far, no reasons have been stated as to why Fred Barber made this sudden U-turn.
Blackpool kick off their League One campaign away at Colchester and the game will be an early indicator on whether both of these sides, who are tipped for relegation, will indeed struggle this season.
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