Has Oyston Dropped The Ball Yet Again?
Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston gave an interview to the Blackpool Gazette yesterday following an interview given by former Middlesbrough player Jim Platt on BBC Tees.
During his interview, Platt criticised BFC and specifically Oyston for failing to support Gary Parkinson and his associated charity events - Parkinson of course having suffered a major stroke earlier in the season. Indeed, Platt referred to Oyston as 'a right so and so'!
Oyston used his interview with the Gazette to attempt to justify his position on the Parky situation, as well as speaking about other developments at the club.
The chairman said:
'Gary Parkinson remains an employee of BFC and Deborah (Gary's wife) is to inform me of the situation with Gary and when he is fit to or wishes to return to work.'
Now I know that Karl is no doctor, but surely he must realise the severity of the situation? The chances of Parky ever returning to work are remotely slim; he is suffering from locked-in syndrome and I believe that there has only ever been one case where someone has recovered from it. Our chairman's comments above reek of a lack of sympathy and consideration.
Oyston also added:
'I've said all along to everyone the best people to lead this fundraising are the PFA and I think all these very well-meaning but smaller events mean the main event - the benefit match - will be diluted substantially because people only have so much to give.
'I've said all along I'm happy to host a match here but the best place is a ground with a bigger capacity and where Gary had his glory years.
'He played half a season for us, if that, and they've got one shot to raise funds which really have to look after Gary's care and recuperation.
'I think one or two have gone about it the wrong way.'
Where to start? Whilst at face value the chairman may have a point, his comments infact justify Platt's claims - 'callous' is perhaps the best way to describe Oyston in this instance.
Yes, perhaps it would be best to have one overall body co-ordinating all of the events and fundraising, but rather than the PFA doing this, those that are close to Gary have taken up the baton, and we should be doing all we can to support them.
Karl's point about the ground makes sense at face value, but looking at his offer to host a game more closely, the Gazette point out that 'Mr Oyston said he contacted the family last month to offer Bloomfield Road as the venue for an end-of-season benefit match which would pit Pool against a team of the Parkinson family and the PFA`s choosing. All money raised - aside from the cost of staging the game - would then go to help Mr Parkinson.'
ASIDE FROM THE COST OF STAGING THE GAME?! Some offer that is Karl! Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.
Ok, so he may have only made around 20 appearances for us, but he had been our head of youth for years before the stroke and was a big part of the club... yet Oyston seems to have washed his hands of him, and is coming across as if the whole thing is a mere inconvenience to him! Shameful.
'I think one or two have gone about it the wrong way.' Yes Karl, you're right... YOU!
Sometimes the chairman's resemblance to Scrooge benefits BFC, but this is not one of those instances. Jim Platt (presumably) has no agenda (bar raising as much as he can), so his comments particularly strike home. Once again BFC's name has been dragged through the mud by our inept chairman.
We hope that Karl has a rethink about his stance; this isn't a business deal, this is someone's life, and he and their family need us.
Despite Karl being 'a right so and so', the fundraising efforts for Parky continue and you can read all about them and donate by going to http://www.garyparky.co.uk/.
Shifting focus to footballing matters, Oyston confirmed to the Gazette that plans are afoot to expand the capacity at Bloomfield Road during the summer, regardless of what division the Seasiders find themselves in.
'We've had preliminary discussions with planners about the south-east corner. I don't want to say too much until we put the planning application in but hopefully we`ll be able to fill that corner in.
'It will look the same as the other corners and give us a net 500 gain in capacity. We'll do it regardless of what happens this season.'
Welcome news indeed.
However, the Gazette then adds: 'Undersoil heating remains on the chairman's agenda, though is likely to depend on Pool staying up, while plans for a new training ground are ongoing.'
We'll deal with the undersoil heating first. Unless this is just Gazette speculation, the chairman's comments resemble a backtrack from the winter just gone when club secretary Matt Williams assured this website that undersoil heating would be installed at the ground this summer regardless of Blackpool's divisional status.
Although it is a Premier League requirement to install undersoil heating within two seasons in the top tier, the raft of postponements at Bloomfield Road during the winter convinced the club that undersoil heating needed installing.
Should KO indeed backtrack on this it would not be surprising - he refused to buy frost covers for the pitch when we were in the lower divisions because it was not a Football League requirement!
Moving onto the training ground, last summer in several interviews the club stated that a new training ground would go online in the new year.
We're now in April and despite designs for a new training ground lurking somewhere around BFC, planning permission still has yet to be applied for. This means that any new training ground (what are the odds that it gets shelved if we go down?) is unlikely to be ready for next season.
Why planning permission has not been applied for we're not sure, but it is clear that the club needs better training facilities asap.
As always, Oyston's comments have sparked much debate, and you can have your say on them on our forums - get involved!