Blackpool survive awful season
Blackpool secured their Championship status for next year despite losing 3-0 at home to Charlton Athletic. Goals from Callum Harriott in the 61st, 82nd and 91st minute gave the already safe away side the win.
Thankfully, other results went Blackpool`s way. Birmingham only drew with Bolton but still survived and Doncaster were relegated after suffering a 1-0 defeat away to champions Leicester. Because of Pool`s heavy loss, had results gone against Blackpool they would have been relegated.
Whilst there were bad points, we can at least say that Blackpool are indeed still a Championship side which we can all be very pleased about. Whilst many thought we were certain for relegation, the team proved them wrong and secured survival.
Though, when it really matters, you expect a team to at least put up a fight against whoever they are playing. Clearly they didn`t do this at all against Charlton.
This has also happened far too often this season. Home games against Birmingham, Yeovil, Bournemouth and Burnley are all examples of poor performances where the side`s desire has come into question.
The side may have put in the required performance again Wigan last week, but overall it`s fair to say that Pool haven`t done this anywhere near enough as they should have done this season.
Of course there was the superb spell at the start of the season where the side were set up as hard to beat and had the ability to score enough goals to win games under Paul Ince. Wins against Doncaster, Barnsley, Reading and Watford in the first month of the season are all good examples of how successful the side were. I`m sure at that point many of us fans felt optimistic that the side could achieve something great this season.
When things turned sour after the loss to Yeovil away, the side went on to lose a further 9 games before Ince was sacked as manager. Not only was he sacked, but so were Steve Thompson and Alex Rae. Events such as a ban for pushing an official and his side`s poor disciplinary record overshadowed his Ince`s reign as manager. In what was a fantastic start to the season as manager, his reputation rapidly decreased.
His son Tom`s departure in January meant the loss of a quality player. Even though he didn`t have his best season in a Tangerine shirt, his ability could not be understated. Technically, he was still Blackpool`s top scorer in the league this season with 7 Championship goals.
Barry Ferguson being placed in charge as interim manager was met by a mixed response from fans. Some were hopeful yet some felt the appointment of an experienced manager was needed. After Pool went another 8 games without a win under Ferguson fans feared the worst, the team were slipping further and further down the league.
When the precious win finally came at home against Millwall on the 11th March everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief. A further two wins in the month of March also meant fans finally had something to feel pleased about. Were the team turning a corner?
Sadly not, 4 defeats on the bounce in the month of April plunged Pool into the relegation zone. It was only really the draw at Brighton and the victory at Wigan which kept the team up.
That brings us up until now, a defeat at home to Charlton.
Looking back, we really all have the start of season form and the few decent results in March, April and May to thank for Championship survival.
In what was an awful season for the club, we can at least be thankful that the team will be playing Championship football again next season. Had the team been relegated things would have been far worse, there would have been no guarantees that Pool would have come back up again.
What`s certain though is that big changes are needed for next season…
The club`s recruitment policy has to be far better, investment from Oyston on permanent and longer term signings of quality players must be made, especially considering the amount of players that are out of contract in the summer. The club can`t be in the same position they were in last pre-season.
The appointment of an experienced and proven manager must also be made if the club are to perform better next season, someone who can give the club more stability.
These two requirements at a minimum have to be fulfilled. The club could be facing another tough campaign next season if they`re not.
I for one am glad to see the back of this awful season and like everyone else am hoping Oyston will change his way of running the club to give the team a better chance of succeeding.
We as fans must also thank Barry Ferguson for his efforts. He has worked under difficult circumstances and he cannot be blamed for player`s individual poor performances. He himself was also one of the better players this season.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens next and where the club goes from here, hopefully developments are made over the summer which will enable the club to improve.