Season Review - August
Pre SeasonWell, at the time, I was impressed with the three signings (how naïve of me!) but did feel we needed more than Colin Hendry had recruited (now I was correct that time!), along with nearly all Blackpool fans. The strange choice of pre season tour was much talked about, and so was the managements decision making skills. The tour consisted of the squad going to Hendry’s homeland of Scotland, more specfically in the highlands. They lived the life of luxury in army barracks where the team bonding was to “significantly improve”. It wasn’t all dissimilar to the season before in the Isle of Man. ’Pool, along with their three new recruits, played thee games, consisting of two defeats at the hands of Ross County and Inverness and one win, an ego trip for Colin Hendy to his home town of Keith (where he even played!!). This trip didn’t prove successful, as several high profile players moaned about the facilities!!
The end of pre season also saw an alarming run of results. A 1-0 defeat at the hands of footballing giants Lancaster City, and a 1-1 draw with Morecambe didn’t fill me, along with everybody else with the greatest amount of confidence. That was followed by a 6-0 mauling of Chester which did boost morale a bit between fans.
Usual Start...So, 6th August was upon us. More hope than expectation really. But I was looking forward to another season at Bloomers to see what Mr Hendry was made of. Chesterfield. Home win. Surely? Well, if only football was a 15 minute game! Rory (Rent that Ghost!) Prendergast drilled in a corner after 5 minutes towards Hendry’s best signing yet, Keigan Parker, who smashed home the opening goal of the campaign. Perfect start. Good football. We did not see this the previous season. Then it all started to disintegrate into another bog standard opening Seasiders performance. QPR and Doncaster had beaten us previously on the opening day, so why expect any more? Before the break “Cheaterfield” (why do we still hold a grudge?!?!) took a hold on the game as we sat back. Negativity from Miller and Hendry. So, after 15 minutes of bliss, it was back to normal. 2-1 down. The second half was no better. No passion. No belief. 3-1 it finished.
The 3 Draws...That shoddy performance then was followed up with three competitive draws against teams, in hindsight (what a wonderful thing!) we should have beaten. Yeovil, Tranmere and Swindon. All in and amongst the basement at some time. The continuous system of Parker playing on the right looked to be hindering us at the back, although we looked like we could score goals. The inability to learn from mistakes eventually lead to the managers downfall. Take Keigan as a prime example of that. Playing right midfield against Keith is slightly different to playing right midfield against Tranmere Rovers! Hendry did finally take the hint against Hull in the League Cup, but then didn’t play Scott Vernon, who rapidly lost confidence. Scott’s link up play I remember was superb, but didn’t find that goal, apart from Tranmere away where he did find the net. To me, Murphy and Vernon were not given enough of a chance, because of the stature Keigan Parker had risen too. Shame really for Vernon. But that’s football.
Hull...That night. Hull City at home in the Cup first round. One nil down inside 5. I do actually recall saying that we would get battered that night. Especially after Jason Price rose highest at the back stick, above Mark McGregor, to nod home. Then came that murmur you always get at Bloomers. When we aren’t playing good stuff and nothing looks like happening, people tend to only half watch the game, with the irritating buzz mainly coming from the kop. Then, from nowhere, Peter Clarke grabbed one back from the spot. Then, even more bizarrely, a certain gaffer to be, Simon Grayson curled a left footed pearler crisply into the corner of the South Stand goal. Unbelievable. That’s what I expected from Hendry’s team though. One week, absolute garbage. The next, beating teams of stature like Hull City.
Chuckle Vision...As I was saying, that is what I expected from A Blackpool team back then. The result in the week buoyed me up for the trip to Millmorr. First away game of the season. Bad choice. I will still never forget Clarke and Pogs. Their chuckle vision sketch was quite astonishing. “From me to you” inside the penalty box. As the two “chuckle brothers” are massive Rotherham fans, it seemed quite appropriate to the day. Deon Burton was basically reduced to tears of joy as he gleefully slotted in one of his three goals on the day. I will also never forget the woman with black hair, sitting right next to the divide in the stand. I was sure the easy chant originated from the midlands? Surely not from Yorkshire? Anyway, she was singing and dancing away with the old “Easy Easy Easy” - aren’t I hard look and tune. She must have been mid 20’s. Disgraceful. The 4-0 hammering left a bad taste in the mouth and didn’t see me return on the coach for a while…
Contradiction...This then left one game in August. A total contradiction again. A fantastic resolute performance with ten men, after Edwards was sent off for two silly fouls, highlighting the managements shocking decision of giving him the left back role against tricky and quick winger Ben Muirhead, which goes to prove the management did not learn their lesson from the previous season. A 1-0 win was a great result considering, with Simon Wiles nicking it with six minutes remaining.
Toronto's School Report...So that left an average first month in the British sunshine. Good results individually, but not collectively. Too many draws. Should have stuck with Vernon and Murphy.
Could have done better. Spoilt a good month with bad defeats against poor teams. But that was their own fault. Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes next month…