The demise of Blackpool Football Club

Photo:

How did it come to this for Blackpool Football Club? Back in 2010-11 the Lancashire side were relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season.

That side included Charlie Adam, who went on to be sold for £7million to Liverpool that summer, money that was not put back into the playing staff.

Alongside transfer fees, Blackpool benefitted from parachute payments as they dropped back into the country’s second tier.

Those stars that came close to keeping them in the Premier League were replaced by cheaper alternatives. David Vaughan and DJ Campbell followed skipper Adam out of the exit door, with the incomings made up mainly of free transfer and loanees.

Charlie Adam
Charlie Adam was sold for £7million. Credit: PA

Experienced campaigners Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips were brought in, but the squad fell short losing in the play-off final to West Ham.

Things really started to go downhill the following year, as Ian Holloway – the man who took them to the Premier League - left in November to become Crystal Palace manager, after becoming frustrated with the Bloomfield Road operation.

Holloway was replaced by the highly-regarded young coach Michael Appleton, but the former Poersmouth manager only survived in the role for two months, before heading for the calmer waters of Blackburn.

After a long search for their next manager chairman Karl Oyston plumped for former England international Paul Ince, who had endured a turbulent career in the dugout. Ince’s son Thomas was Blackpool’s star man at the time, which may have swayed the decision to appoint him.

Blackpool
Blackpool almost went back up to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Credit: PA

Eventually the Tangerines finished 15th in the Championship.

More members of that Premier League squad departed, with Alex Baptiste and Stephen Crainey moving on to Bolton and Wigan respectively, leaving Blackpool to re-build.

Twelve loan players were brought Bloomfield Road in the 2013-14 season, with such a turnover of team members being incredibly unhelpful for the side. On top of the issues on the pitch there was more turmoil in the dugout, as Ince was sacked.

At a loss, Oyston went for the simplest answer, offering a caretaker role to midfielder Ferguson, who had no previous managerial experience, which showed, winning just three of his 20 league games in charge, barely avoiding relegation to League One, finishing 20th.

Blackpool are the only club in the history of the Premier League who didn’t give their manager a chance or spend anything. They just trousered the money and said “sod it we’ll just go straight back down”.

– Ex-Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow
Protest
Fans protest during their game with Burnley last season. Credit: PA

Away from the pitch, things turned ugly, as fans have become angry, showing their frustration towards the club’s majority shareholders, the Oyston family.

Protests were instigated towards the end of last season, including the launching of tennis balls onto the pitch during a loss to Burnley.

Current chairman Karl Oyston and his relations have reportedly taken £26million out of the Championship club since their relegation from the Premier League in 2011.

Blackpool’s training base is Squires Gate, the same venue where club hero Stanley Matthews prepared for games 60 years ago.

Jose Riga
Jose Riga doesn't know what to think. Credit: PA

Now that training ground is currently being utilised by eight permanent players, coaches without contracts and a collection of trailists.

New boss Jose Riga has landed only one transfer target, Estonian striker Sergei Zenjov, and has been forced to cancel to club’s pre-season tour to Spain due to a lack of players, with the club not even possessing a goalkeeper.

The club’s only playing asset of note, Thomas Ince, departed for Hull - forcing Blackpool to wait on a tribunal - along with another 26 other players at the end of the season.

Their first friendly is due to take place this Saturday against non-league Penrith, but whether Riga and his staff will feel confident enough to take on the minnows is another question.

Blackpool
The Blackpool fans are not pleased. Credit: PA

Karl Oyston has no worries about the current situation, telling BBC: “There is no panic. In fact, I see it as a benefit rather than a downside. It allows the manager to bring in his own team, as opposed to a manager picking up a squad that is already overloaded and he doesn't think is good enough.”

The supporters don’t share the chairman’s laid back attitude, as forums and pubs become a hotbed of vitriol towards the Oystons.

Club President Valeri Belokon, who has pumped more than £7million into the Tangerines has become annoyed by the fact he hasn’t seen any return for his money, while the Oyston seems to gaining millions, report the Daily Mail. It’s a sad demise for a team who were offered the glory of the Premier League, but the riches got the better of it, who now can’t even put a team out.