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Ollie The Magician?

Alex Baptiste: 'I think this is going to be the most important summer in this club's history, replacing the group of players that move on is going to be massive.'

Matt Gilks: 'We dipped our toe in the water. Maybe if we had put our foot in and had half a go we could have stayed up. The boss will probably build a new team and get the right characters. Hopefully they can go onwards and upwards.'

Gary Taylor-Fletcher: 'The gaffer has a massive job this summer to get the squad right... [he's] given us assurances that, as long as everything is done right by the chairman, he will be here. It is not what we say, it is all on what the chairman does. And if he does the right things, then the manager will be here and a lot of the players will be here.

'When it comes to new players, we will wait and see whether we have the players in come the first day of pre-season or whether it will be a week before the start of the season. Hopefully, it will be the former, and the chairman will have learned from last year and we'll get all the players in early enough and get to know them.'

Ian Holloway: 'This group is the best I've had. If we keep them, we have a great chance of getting straight back to the Premier League. If not, we've got problems. I had a meeting with chairman Karl Oyston and told him how I feel.

'This is about Karl now, and what he wants to do with this club. He has run it superbly but we need to plan very carefully and make sure we do the right thing. We all want to get back in the Premier League but that will be extremely hard to do, maybe too hard, if we lose half our players.'

The battle lines could not be clearer: it's Karl Oyston versus the world. Or is it?

Not only does Oyston have a reputation for having a ridiculously tight grasp on his and the club's pounds and pennies, but he's also got a reputation for reacting badly when backed into a corner; he does not take criticism well at all, and has the attitude of 'It's my way or the highway'.

Whilst both reputations have worked well for BFC at times (i.e. not going the way the likes of Portsmouth have financially, and not putting up with Colin Hendry's nonsense about 'Buttygate'), there are times when his stingyness and stubborness work against the Seasiders.

However (and I hope I'm not speaking prematurely), something magical seems to have happened to Karl this summer - he appears to be willing to spend money after being backed into a corner (by Ollie and the players) to do so.

Of course there's still a long way to go transfer wise this summer, and Karl still has the capacity to shoot himself in the foot (take his comments about Matt Gilks in this week's Gazette; damn stupid when Gilks is still mulling over an offer from BFC), but the indications are that KO is willing to back Ollie financially (despite no one arriving yet).

But why? Because Ollie is effectively a magician, that's why. He's cast a spell over everyone connected with the club, and Oyston seemingly seems to have woken up to the fact that unless he backs Ollie and gives him the neccessary funds to rebuild his side, that Ollie will walk away from the club, and then he really would be up against the world.

The bid for Jack Cork (we don't believe BFC's line that they haven't had an offer accepted!) gives real hope for the summer (even if he doesn't sign for us); it's a good offer for a good young player, and that's what our transfer policy should all be about.

Indeed, Karl even said as much in The Gazette this week... actually, the more I think about it, the more I think that Ollie may have brainwashed KO rather than cast him under a spell!

Karl said recently that he only likes to be judged by what he actually delivers, and the emphasis is really on for him to deliver in the transfer market this summer; if he does, he'll go a long way to appeasing a lot of people (including most importantly of all, his manager)... but if he doesn't, then Ollie's spell may just become a curse.

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The journalist

Writer: Eamonn Moore  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday June 4 2011

Time: 6:15AM

 

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