Blackpool Inch Forwards

Posted by on Aug 11, 2010 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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We haven’t heard from friend of the two unfortunates Liz Broughton since April when Blackpool were on the cusp of a play-off spot. Three months and a few weeks later, she’s been in touch again to give us an insight into how things are looking for the Seasiders three days ahead of their Premiership debut.

I don’t think I’m alone on the Fylde Coast in saying that I’ll be glad to see the back of this close season. For a while, the feel-good factor of Blackpool’s epic play-off win seemed to have been lost, caught up in transfer wrangles, quitting rumours and downright discontentment.

Bizarre things happen at Blackpool on a regular basis, but these last few weeks have been up there with the best.

Sky Sports News encapsulated the mood perfectly on Monday when, within hours of each other, they managed to both create and rebuff a rumour that manager Ian Holloway had walked out on the club. The ground shenanigans have been well-documented, with the Seasiders forced to play away at Wigan this Saturday instead of at home because of stadium hold-ups (we need somewhere to feed the press. I say, what’s wrong with a pie and Bovril?).

And last week saw a half-hearted offer by Karl Oyston to resign as chairman if someone else thought they could do a better job.

Oyston’s comments — made in an interview with the BBC — followed on from discussions about the prolonged transfer saga that had plagued Bloomfield Road this summer.

Surprisingly to some, Oyston’s insistence that the club will not break their wage structure to pander to players has been met with support from fans. Despite disquiet about the total lack of signings — after all the squad as it stood on Monday night was arguably weaker than that predicted for Championship relegation last time out — there was support for the chairman’s stance of not bowing to the demands of journeymen mercenaries.

So Rob Hulse and transfer-listed and Premiership-has-been Jon Stead refused to sign on the dotted line because of our £10,000 per week salary limit. Likewise, club-less Marlon Harewood only signed on today after the cap was (presumably) breached following a short battle with Huddersfield for his services.

Bids for DJ Campbell — rumoured to have exceeded £1m — were rejected by Leicester, who, under Paulo Sousa, seem to have finally realised his talent, while there’s still no sign of Angel Rangel at the seaside despite him being pulled out of Swansea’s weekend line-up.

“Do they think I don’t want to sign anyone?” quipped manager Ian Holloway. To be honest, I was beginning to wonder.

But today five — yes, five — signings were paraded at Bloomfield Road. For a lot of fans, the names lack the wow factor they’d been hoping for. But nevertheless, they’re a young bunch with some pedigree.

Besides Harewood, former Plymouth loanee Craig Cathcart has arrived from Manchester Utd for a rumoured half a million — which, if true, would match the record amount shelled out for club hero Charlie Adam — and at just 21 appears a decent prospect to bolster a (slightly) suspect backline.

He’s joined by three Frenchmen: former Barcelona midfielder Ludovic Sylvestre — who could start Saturday given the troubling injury to Keith Southern; 22-year-old winger Elliot Grandin, who arrives from CSKA Sofia (and, good man as he is, has already noted that we have an “Eiffel Tower re-make”); and Malaury Martin who has been offered a contract following a successful trial spell during the ‘victorious’ Joma South West Challenge Cup win in Devon.

Many — including myself — would however still argue that more is needed before we take on Wigan at the DW on Saturday. Preferably another striker.

The pundits might be right; it might be a long season. But I’ll be there on Saturday, and again at Arsenal in a week’s time. And whatever happens, we’re in the Premier League. After the antics of this summer, I now intend to sit back and enjoy the experience.

The Two Unfortunates
The non-partisan website with an eye on the Football League


  1. Lanterne Rouge
    August 11, 2010

    Too right. 38 matches to enjoy before there is any need to worry. Still, if I were Holloway, I'd keep the team as close as possible to the one that took the club up. These newcomers don't immediately appear to be of the calibre to displace the heroes of May – although Harewood will likely replace Campbell by necessity.

    Blackpool seem to be afflicted by the problems my club Reading faced on being promoted – that players with Premier League experience are already earning way in excess of what the Tangerines could ever afford to pay – and nor should they “do a Hull” and start forking out 40,000 a week.

  2. Liz
    August 12, 2010

    I think the problem is that DJ Campbell was seen as a key figure in getting us promoted – as was Seamus Coleman. Them leaving and the lack of immediate replacements – plus the injury to Southern which keeps him out of the first month of the season, sapped the club a bit.

    A lot depends on whether we persevere with 4-3-3 or revert back to 4-4-2. To be honest, I'd like to see us invest in a team (and we do still need to invest) that can put up a dignified fight inthe Premier League and, if we do go down, be a force in the Championship. That's more than any of us have ever hoped for before.

    August 12, 2010

    I hope Blackpool's fans manage to enjoy the season even if they do get tubbed by a few teams along the way.

    As a Leicester fan, it was galling to see DJ win at Wembley so it would have been doubly so to see him scoring in the Premiership.

    The way Leicester have played Blackpool in the transfer market has to be admired, although it must be tough to take if you're on the other side and the man who got you promoted playing as a lone striker ends up playing left wing for a Championship team.


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