Over the last few years Blackpool Football Club have certainly attracted the headlines, but unfortunately for the supporters of the seaside outfit, they have been for all of the wrong reasons. The club is in a complete mess and once again, the fans’ protests have been in vain as they attempt to dislodge Karl Oyston from his position of almighty power.
If you rewind to the 2010/11 campaign, you’ll rightly recall that The Tangerines were competing against the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League. Fast forward a few years and they are now fighting for survival in League One, the third tier of English football. Where has it all gone wrong?
It has been a real travesty to see a club spiral uncontrollably down the football pyramid under such circumstances. Blackpool are yet another club that has fallen victim of being unable to compete financially with fellow teams. Following promotion to the top flight, the Oystons reportedly had a dispute with club president Valeri Belokon which has led to ongoing legal wrangles that continue today.
Despite Ian Holloway and his players battling bravely during the Premier League season, Blackpool succumbed to relegation back to the Championship. The 2011/12 campaign then saw The Tangerines almost make an immediate return to the top tier. After finishing 5th to qualify for the play-offs, they progressed to the final where they eventually lost 2-1 to West Ham United at Wembley Stadium.
At this point, supporters would have been optimistic that advances would then be made to allow for another promotion charge. However, things didn’t quite go to plan. The next two seasons in the second tier saw Pool finish 15th and 20th before they were relegated to League One at the end of the 2014/15 campaign. Being the bottom placed side in the division was hard for supporters to fathom but their total of 26 points was the joint lowest ever recorded in the division.
Prior to the current season getting underway, Blackpool had only 8 players contracted to the club and that list included no goalkeeper. However, after managing to scrap together a squad, The Tangerines have struggled to adapt to life in the third tier. Now managed by Neil McDonald, the Bloomfield Road club occupy a position in the relegation zone, currently 2 points from safety.
As a consequence, attendances have continually dropped throughout the season. The main reason for fans staying away, however, is that they are protesting against the ongoing troubles at the club. Supporters have been urging for change at their beloved team for some time now and you may remember their demonstration on the pitch that led to their Championship fixture with Huddersfield Town to be abandoned.
I and the rest of the Coventry City faithful know what it feels like to be in such circumstances. We have endured endless periods of disappointment and I’m sure that when we play Pool on Saturday, we will be respectively sympathetic towards them. Fingers crossed that both of our clubs can get back to where they belong in the coming years.