Date:Thursday July 21 2011
The Football League today announced that they would be reducing the amount of substitutes from seven back to five. But how does this affect Blackpool's plans for the upcoming Championship season?
A statement from the FL said: 'This was felt to be a sensible and prudent step given the financial challenges facing many football clubs and the commitment made earlier this summer to adopt UEFA's Financial Fair Play framework.'
Citing financial reasons for the change is not an altogether unexpected move given the slump in monetary weight of the 72 clubs in the past decade.
In real terms it means that a team chasing promotion to the Premier League might need a squad of a quality 20 rather than the magical 22 stated on blogs, websites and papers in the past - not loan inclusive.
And at this stage (even after an incredibly frustrating number of days in the transfer market), the Seasiders have to see promotion as the goal. With the transfer deadline six weeks away, these changes give Karl Oyston a chance to slightly deviate from his original tack when bringing new faces to Bloomfield Road.
"Why?" I hear you whisper judgementally under your breath.
Well, this suddenly means that more money has now become available to Ian Holloway. I could throw figures around and speculate X amount of thousands are freed up and another X can be spent here, but there is little point in that. We know that with two less players needed in a match day squad, there are now 16 players vying for the top money rather than 18.
Given that BFC are financially sound, the reason behind the sub change won't affect the amount of money we spend on players - unlike many other teams.
Using last season as an example, having just 16 in a match day squad might have seen January's transfer plan pan out dramatically different. Only one of Kornilenko and Beattie needed to be signed to provide back up for DJ Campbell, which then in turn means there is more money to spend on an Andy Reid type - but obviously hopefully picking the right player!
With this in mind, and coupled with the fact that Pool haven't done much business so far, could it be that slightly new targets are now identified?
There is currently a squad of around 23, which includes a couple of youngsters. Many supporters believe Pool need to capture another six. Whilst this is still probably close to the figure due to be brought in, the interesting debate arises when talking about loan players.
The Seasiders have utilised the loan market brilliantly (ignoring 2011!) in the past and moving substitutes from seven to five now gives the manager greater freedom on who he wants to pick from the Premier League teams. I say freedom in the fact that there is now more bargaining power both physically and financial.
Financially I've alluded to above, but the physical argument is perhaps a stronger one when bringing in players for shorter periods.
As a Premier League manager, being asked to loan out one of your better youngsters to a FL team is perhaps now seen as a more viable option, given that most will have smaller squads and the knowledge of first team football is safe, given the player is good enough.
If Blackpool launch a bid to sign, for example, Nile Ranger from Newcastle, Alan Pardew knows it's because of his footballing ability and now to simply make up an over-inflated squad.
The shocking part of the loan market could now be abolished as well. In previous years, with the frankly ludicrous (for Football League clubs anyway) seven substitute system, some loan players coming to any football club within the 92 and not just Blackpool are required to play a certain amount of minutes, otherwise the parent club doesn't release him. With two less subs now to fill, perhaps clubs won't be as desperate to land youngsters from bigger clubs on loan to beef up their squads and then saddled with a player who flatters to deceive. *Blackburn fans might tell you about Franco Di Santo from Chelsea as proof of this.*
There are a lot of coulds, mights and the likes surrounding this news, but there is of no doubt that Blackpool - thanks to their financial prudence and Premier League money - are in a stronger position now than they were when seven substitutes were needed.
Although everyone gains - apart from maybe the top division - it is clear to me that relatively-speaking the Seasiders' player stock has risen slightly more than most.
Date:Thursday July 21 2011
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