Date:Tuesday April 29 2008
Director, Normunds Malnacs talks to us about on and off the field matters, coupled with Blackpool fans being the most sceptical group he's ever met!
Are you enjoying life in England?
Yes, I am enjoying my time in England. Last season I was in Blackpool full-time, this season I am making regular visits to Blackpool since my family chose to stay in Latvia. This is interesting time of my life and I don't regret coming here.
Many sceptical Blackpool fans have said that your role at the club is to watch over Mr. Belokon's investment. This is clearly wrong, but can you define job, and the tasks you carry out at Bloomfield Road?
For some strange reason, Blackpool fans seem to me to be one of the most sceptical group of people I've ever met: the club has been having two great seasons and still there are moans all around and about every possible reason. In a nutshell, I am Mr. Belokon's representative at the club - keeping an eye on the developments of all aspects of the football club. Football industry is new for Mr. Belokon and me and, of course, it takes time to understand it, especially taking into account England's specifics. I am also getting involved in separate projects, mostly related to my home country. Last year when I was in Blackpool full-time, I was more involved in day-to-day operations.
How has the football club developed off the pitch recently, for example with regards to the club shop and the ticket office?
Again, I see grain of scepticism in your question. Over the past two years, shop's profit has almost tripled, hence something must be right. Some people might want a wider or different selection of goods, but for me it is quite good for the club of our level and I am a frequent visitor of the shop myself. What we really lack are constructive suggestions on what other goods supporters would be happy to buy.
As for the ticket office, I understand that we had difficulties last year before the playoffs are we simply were not well prepared for the occasion. I think we are working much better now and number of complaints has decreased substantially.
Having all said that I agree that there is room for growth for a better services to our supporters.
Do you know of any developments in the discussion surrounding the un-built South Stand?
The club has made many statements regarding the South Stand and I will not tell anything new. Building stand is a serious financial decision and we don't want that to have any impact on playing side. There are continuous discussions on various options to build the South Stand and, hopefully, it will be built sooner rather than later. But I can tell with great degree of confidence that stadium's capacity will increase the next season.
Is the temporary East Stand going to remain as it is now for the next three years, or are the club planning on extending it?
It will depend of South Stand solution. Again, there are many options to increase the capacity of the stadium, and at this stage we don't know which one will be taken. East Stand will definitely be extended in the longer run.
Is Blackpool's long term future at Bloomfield Road, given the lack of movement on the third and fourth stands?
At given stage there are no serious discussions about moving anywhere. Personally, I like the location of the stadium very much.
Moving onto the team, are you proud of how well Simon Grayson and his team have done in the past 18 months?
This is easy one! Undoubtedly, we are very glad and proud of Simon and his team's progress over the past two seasons! As for a young manager, getting promotion in the first season and consolidating in the Championship in the second is enormous result! I am wandering how far he will go some day!
However, how disastrous would relegation be for the Seasiders?
One of the beauties of the football is unpredictability. Before the season, we knew that we were considered to be one of the top relegation candidates. Hence we were prepared for the worst, but hoped for the better. Our confidence grew as season progressed and I think few could argue we don't deserve to stay in Championship.
Is VB planning to substantially increase the playing budget next season?
There are two major shareholders at the club and its budget is already being discussed at the club. And yes, we are planning to substantially increase the playing budget next season.
Is VB seriously considering increasing his stake in the club from the well documented 20%?
Yes, I think he is definitely still interested.
And finally, what does the future hold for Normunds Malnacs?
We'll see when the season finishes and we'll have a talk on next season plans.
Blackpool Vital would like to thank Mr Malnacs for his time and effort.
Date:Tuesday April 29 2008
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