It has been a disastrous season to say the least at Blackpool, with League One football all but certain for next season.
After escaping relegation by just two points last term, this time round has been a disaster right from the start. The Seasiders are rooted firmly to the foot of the Championship with just 22 points from their 33 matches played. It means they are 12 points from safety with just 13 games left to play, and need more than a miracle to somehow survive the drop.
With just four league wins all season, this is very unlikely, but the team need to put in encouraging and positive performances for the rest of the season to give their fans just a glimmer or hope and something to cheer about. Lee Clark was given a near impossible job when he took over as manager in October and has only been able to register three wins as boss. He has had to sign players regularly throughout his time at the club due to the extremely sparse numbers that were available when he arrived.
Clark has signed upwards of 20 players since taking the job, either on short-term deals or loans, which has given the team no stability whatsoever. The constant chopping and changing hasn’t helped but, then again, he hasn’t had much quality to work with and obviously cannot be blamed for Blackpool’s predicament.
Although the Pool were beaten heavily 4-0 by high-flying Brentford mid-week, the two previous results showed some sort of resilience in the side. The club earned a credible 1-1 draw away to Blackburn and showed that fighting spirit that was evident under Ian Holloway as they drew 4-4 to Nottingham Forest. This result at least sent the fans home with something to encourage them as the nine men of Blackpool salvaged an equaliser with 97 minutes on the clock.
Unfortunately this is one of the few examples of the old Holloway fighting spirit, as the Tangerines have seen quite a few hidings already this season. Other than the Brentford heavy beating, in recent months Blackpool have lost 4-0 to Norwich, shipped seven away to Watford and were dismantled 6-1 at home to Bournemouth. The fans have had very little to shout about and signs were apparent of a long season ahead way back in the summer.
It was well documented how just under 30 players left the club before the start of the season, the majority being regular first team players. Just two weeks before the season, Blackpool had only eight players and no goalkeeper, which gave then manager Jose Riga a manic last few days of the transfer window to just about assemble a starting XI. Only unwanted free players were signed and the season was only going to go one way.
Chairman Karl Oyston reportedly has money available – the club received around £48million in parachute payments following relegation from the Premier League in 2011 – but refuses to spend it for reasons no one is quite sure about. Along with that, the text scandal where he sent obscene text messages to Blackpool fans has supporters protesting against his reign in their droves. It is fair to say that Blackpool are one of the worst run clubs in the country with a chairman seemingly unwilling to help keep the club’s head above water.
Manager Lee Clark is in an extremely tough situation, with relegation set to leave the club in League One. This could potentially be the start of a plunge down the Football League for Blackpool but Karl Oyston is the only man that can stop it with resources at his disposal to do so.