Blackpool’s latest tragicomedy

What else is there left to say, really? As in, something actually new that is worth my time and energy writing, and your time and energy worth reading? Very little, I imagine. It’s becoming harder and harder to sustain affection for this football club of ours and I find myself struggling to justify the attention I give it. It’s a thoroughly depressing state of affairs and the bleak reality of it cannot be glossed over.

Once more, the club’s owners have failed the supporters. It really is as simple as that. You can go back to around two years ago when Ian Holloway left the club for my thoughts on why that played out as it did. Similarly, you could read a piece only months later which referred to the common denominator in Michael Appleton’s swift departure from Bloomfield Road. Then perhaps fast forward to this season when the challenge facing José Riga was outlined, or how only weeks into the season chairman Karl Oyston was blundering for someone to blame other than himself.

The recurring theme in the downward spiral of the last couple of years is the Oyston family themselves. Be it the large sums paid to Zabaxe Ltd, the other significant amounts loaned to their failing businesses or the controversial Travelodge land deal; in a number of ways they have ensured that they have personally benefited from the wealth thrown at Blackpool FC, while the football side of things has been left to disintegrate.

We can debate the merits of the various managers that have come and gone since 2012, and it’s true that some have been better than others, but ultimately it is immaterial. Not only have managers been asked to work with ever decreasing budgets, the operational structure they have had to work within has not allowed them to spend what little they have had wisely. It’s possible to succeed with a below average wage bill, but a haphazard make-it-up-as-you-go approach to how you spend your meagre sums is only going to have one outcome.

What of Riga himself then? Some will, and indeed bafflingly already have, tried to seek to justify the decision to sack him based upon a record of only one league win in 14 attempts. Fine, if that’s what they want to do I’m ready and raring with my bucket and spade to assist them burying their heads in the sand of Blackpool beach. Truly, I am here for you in your hour of need. Meanwhile, back in the real world, it’s plain to see he was dealt the duffest of duff hands.

Gone were any remnants of the Premier League squad of 2010/11 and just seven contracted players were left for Riga to inherit. The quality of these leftovers was very much the dregs, and rather than being allowed to quickly supplement these with his targeted players, a summer of trialists and cancelled friendlies was the result.

Not that the chairman placed a high priority on preparation and having got away with a similar, although not quite as bad, pre-season last campaign, he assumed he might get lucky again. This time around, logic was the victor and nobody can say the way this season has panned out is a surprise. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that this bunch of rag-tag misfits have been able to win at all.

None of what has been written here has been particularly revelatory. In fact, quite the opposite. This is a tired and fed up regurgitation of what I’ve known and been writing up for some considerable time. It’s what we’ve all known for a while, if everyone is being honest with themselves. The sad truth is that under the current majority owners, this club is going nowhere. It was going nowhere in 2005/06 before Valeri Belokon and his investment arrived, and now that the Premier League funds have been frittered away with no noticeable legacy for the club, it’s on the long dark road to nowhere again.

Karl Oyston can appoint a new manager, and who knows, this one might even see out a full season. That’d be novel, wouldn’t it? But if we think the club can turn its fortunes around with this lot in charge, we’re only kidding ourselves. It’s too late to talk about “Oyston MUST back the new manager” or “We HAVE to spend in January!”. It’s not going to happen, folks. The die has been cast and the current ownership have shown where their priorities lie. Only with new ownership can this heartbreaking slide be truly arrested.

It’s high time the Oyston family were isolated by all and sundry for good. Trying to get them to change is a lost cause, pissing into the wind. We’ve been down this route too many times by now, and if anyone hasn’t figured out what’s going on by this point then, well, I think they may need to seek help. The future is not bright, and it certainly ain’t tangerine. Shame on the Oyston family, shame on them.

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