Writer: Simon Heaney
Date:Thursday January 10 2013
There is a certain irony in the oft quoted adage that as idiosyncratic as Karl Oyston, Chairman of Blackpool Football Club is, that we would never 'do a Portsmouth'. Well, the former manager of Portsmouth, who had something like thre players on the books before the season started, who had to deal with the nightmare of sending out a team of players not knowing if they would be getting paid and if it was possibly their last game each week, has it is reported said he is 'shocked' at how Blackpool is run.
Michael Appleton's press conference demeanour has taken just weeks to change. The pitch has been slated more than once. Not in a way that it is beyond anyones control, but in a way that it is and it needs sorting. The latest description referring to it as 'our cabbage patch'.
And then the transfer window. Appleton clearly and publicly said what he needed and by when. 4 or 5 before Charlton. Yet an ostracised, out of favour right back from the bottom of the league team has, as is usual form with Blackpool, refused terms and headed back to Oakwell.
It is clear to all outside Bloomfield Road that the manager has already had enough. This morning Radio Lancashire's Sports Editor, Gary Higson, summed it up, 'if he goes to Blackburn, he will having a decent pitch and a training ground. He would probably have to wait at least two years to get that at Blackpool'. The only possible point of debate there being the two years. Are we ever going to get these things?
In July 2009 - in print - in a rare interview in the Gazette, Karl Oyston said two things. 1. Blackpool would not train at Squires Gate ever again. 2. We would have a new training facility in a couple of years.
£90 million and 40 odd months later, no delivery on this commitment. And if not, why not? In a modern age, a modern game, in an entertainment industry when the options for communication are extensive, the information from the Club has become less and less. Karl Oyston increasingly isolating himself from that crucial canon of any football club. Its fans.
Gone are the days of fans forums. Gone seemingly is any form of communication other than the odd knee jerk comment such as Blackburn had approached last night. A short, pointless statement following Blackburn's announcement.
And so it is the case that many, many people are going to vote with their feet. Despite a recession, tightening of belts, job insecurity and the like, thousands of fans each week, from a catchment area of one of the poorest areas of the country turn up to Bloomfield Road.
Tickets are expensive, yet many, many families commit a large part of their income to come and watch. They are dedicated and love it. What is more many travel - Scotland, Suffolk, Lincoln and the like. Once a fortnight, sometimes more, spending hours and hours in all kinds of weather, to come to the ground and support the team.
Many are now questioning that. And who can blame them? Where is the reciprocation? Does the club give them the courtesy of dialogue, information, delivery on promises? Or does it treat that loyalty and commitment with contempt?
This is a defining moment. Everyone makes mistakes. The best people acknowledge them and act. It is probably too late with Michael Appleton, but a new start must include, outlining the clubs plans on the pitch and training facilities, better communication and creating a better relationship with its lifeblood. The loyalty of our colouful, vibrant crowd should be inspiring and humbling. It is a wonderful resource. Mr Chairman, do not squander it. Harness it and nurture it. We do not want to see numbers dwindle and a return to the dark days.
We have a wonderful club - please - we urge you, make the changes that are desperately needed to make us proud again.
Date:Thursday January 10 2013
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