Billy Grant catches up with Chris Walker (@onedavebamber) from Blackpool Blog Measured Progress about Oyston and co, a disappearing Nile Ranger and Blackpool’s chances of survival.
There has been a lot of water by the sea since we last met in August. On the pitch your season hasn’t really got any better has it?
Well, it’s a bit generous to even be calling it a pitch these days, at least as far as our home games go. Our approach to running a football club is pretty well reflected in our allotment-style playing surface and it’s just been a complete lack of planning which has led us to where we are.
The chairman and Jose Riga never saw eye-to-eye over transfer targets and it’s a surprise he lasted as long as he did really. It’s daft that he was sacked though, because once he was actually able to build a squad, he then got virtually no time with it.
Since then, Lee Clark has come in and decided he wanted a virtual clearout of the players he inherited and thus we had to start all over again. At this point we’ve had around 50 different players that have appeared in our matchday 18 man squads which is just ridiculous.
As well as using way too many players, the quality of them has left a lot to be desired too and it doesn’t take a genius to realise that running a football club in this way isn’t going to get you promotion.
I gave up on survival in December, but to be honest it was clear before a ball had even been kicked in August. If ever a club deserved to be relegated, it’s us. We’ve only won four games all season, all of them scrappy 1-0 wins, and of the remaining 14 matches we probably need to win eight of them. That’s not happening, is it?
To be honest, we didn’t think Blackpool were that bad when we played you back then. It was a tough match. We’ve played much worse teams this season.
At the start of the season I think Jose Riga knew he didn’t have the quality in the side to really attack teams and so tried to make us as solid as possible instead. It kind of worked in that it meant we never got hammered, but neither did we really look like winning any of those early games. I felt that you easily deserved the three points on the night at Bloomfield Road and I really liked the look of your lot and Alex Pritchard in particular who scored for you against Bournemouth at the weekend. I wasn’t sure you’d be challenging at the top but definitely felt you had enough to be a top half side.
As for us, I’m not sure I can really say we’ve outplayed anyone all season. Away from home we’ve been utterly dismal and still not won, so that’s maybe a jinx we can break at Griffin Park, although I highly doubt it! The highlight on the road was probably Charlton away when we played alright and got a last minute equaliser. When playing the other teams near the bottom at Bloomfield Road we’ve brought them down to our level, and aided by the terrible pitch, been able to scrap out some ugly wins. It’s not been enough though.
Oyston has been up to his old tricks again – now he’s suing fans on the Blackpool Forum for hundreds of thousands of pounds forum saying they have cost the club money in lost revenue telling people not to attend games. Can you see a happy end to this affair?
Not really. It’s a thoroughly depressing situation and one where you’re almost loathed to speak out too much for fear of being on the receiving end of similar legal action. It’s fairly clear that we’re going down this season, and it’ll be interesting to see how the owners react if they struggle to break even financially at a lower level and the club starts eating into their wealth. Many fans have vowed to turn their backs on the club until the Oyston family have left, which means attendances will plummet next season.
To be honest, I think we’ll be fighting relegation next season in League One and we’re in danger of a Stockport-esque downward spiral. In the background the Blackpool Supporters Trust are doing some excellent work in raising fans’ concerns, including fielding a candidate in the general election in May, but ultimately they are powerless and we’re all at the whim of the owners. The fans have just got to keep standing up for what they believe in and hope that at some point down the line, whether it be weeks, months or years, we will get our club back.
The rumour was it was allegedly an Oyston family member who appeared in our infamous ‘twats’ video (below) such was the resemblance. Did Blackpool fans manage to track down who the culprit actually was?
Naturally I couldn’t comment on any such rumour, but there is something of a doppelganger effect going on there, isn’t there? I’m not sure if anyone has been able to establish who he is yet, but I’d certainly like to. After all, when you consider the runaway success of the Wealdstone Raider in the last few months it seems there’s definitely a public appetite for these hard men of English football. There’s got to be a Number 1 single in it for the Blackpool Raider you’d have thought. Mind the lampost, though…
Brentford have also had their minor off-field shenanigans the last few weeks. You have been dealing with shenanigans all season. Do you think this may give Blackpool the advantage on the pitch???
I don’t think anything could give Blackpool an advantage on the pitch unless you decide to play blindfolded! It’s hard to put over in words just how bad we can be on our travels, but the recent 7-2 and 4-0 defeats to Watford and Norwich respectively should give you some idea. Like pretty much everyone, I was very surprised by the Warburton news and above all the timing just seems reckless. You’ve been up there all season but it’s still going to be a fair old scrap for a play-off place so to unsettle the ship now doesn’t seem wise. Unlike our owners though, Benham does seem to be meticulous in his planning so maybe he’ll be proven right given enough time?
Our off-field shenanigans have continued and the latest this week is that Jeffrey Rentmeister, brought in by Riga and ignored by Clark, has a warrant out for his arrest for a drink-driving charge. He’s obviously not the first Blackpool player to go on the run this season and Nile Ranger has been AWOL from training since early December. We do know how to pick them!
I’m really worried that we could be on the end of a right tonking in West London. Clark has admitted himself that our players sometimes get “over-excited” when they see actual grass so assuming your pitch is even half decent you could walk all over us. An early goal for you lot and we’re liable to collapse.
No real dangermen to speak of but hopes will be pinned on recent loan signing Gary Madine who has scored once in his opening three games. I’d also like to think that one of Riga’s original signings, Jose Miguel Cubero, might get back into the team after a long injury. Cubero played in the World Cup and looked a very tidy midfield player in his couple of appearances back in September, but hasn’t featured since.
If I had to go for a score prediction it’s hard to see past a comfortable Brentford win. I’ll go 3-0 to the Bees.