What football professionals think of Blackpool FC

At the weekend the current manager of Blackpool FC, Neil McDonald, criticised the fans of Blackpool FC saying:

the support needs to be better. They shouldn’t be shouting about their issues throughout the whole game. That’s all I’m hearing.
Excerpt of league table (c) BBC

His criticism came after Blackpool lost 1–0 against a team that was down to 10-men for the entire second half. The defeat took Blackpool back into the relegation zone from the third division. Blackpool had the second worst record in the football league in 2015.

Neil McDonald has previously said “the fans had every right to boo“ poor performances so the issues he refers to seem be different.

Video of Derby fans chanting Oyston Out in support of Blackpool fans at a game in 2015, footage taken by Will Watt

It was probably the performance of the club as a whole that the fans were protesting. Many Blackpool fans are boycotting the club until the owners, the Oyston family, have gone. Others go and protest.

Neil McDonald has never spoken up about the issues that affect the fans. Perhaps he doesn’t understand them. Lee Clark explained this phenomenon after he quit as Blackpool manager:

Nowadays players are often in a bubble, they don’t know the man in the street, they don’t understand how football affects supporters’ lives. Knowing all that is why Blackpool hurt so much.
I’ve always tried to have a relationship with supporters but I got labelled as a good friend of the Blackpool chairman, who was backing what he was doing, when I wasn’t.

Former Blackpool player and England international Trevor Sinclair, who’s clearly been keeping a closer eye on the issues at Blackpool than the manager, recently expressed his sympathy for the fans’ #napm (not a penny more) campaign.

Perhaps Neil doesn’t sympathise with the fan’s protests and issues though. Perhaps he only cares about the views of his fellow football professionals? If so, then to help Neil out I thought it would be useful to collect a few quotes and stories from the last few years.

The Oystons take legal action against football professionals, just as they do with fans, so most quotes are similarly carefully worded.

Christian Purslow, the ex-chief executive of Liverpool said:

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”

The owners even tried to get out of paying players a bonus for their promotion to the Premier League. In 2010 Charlie Adam took the club to court to get the bonus that he was owed.

In May 2015 Ian Evatt said:

It is so disappointing looking into the club from the outside,” Evatt said. “There was always a chance it could self-destruct. It was a ticking bomb that has seriously now gone off. It’s so frustrating to see that our hard work has just disappeared now.

Chris Basham said:

It was heartbreaking to leave but we could see what was going to happen. You could just see everything falling apart around us.

The secret footballer, whoever that may be, said:

Oyston has damaged Blackpool in a way that the club will do well to recover from any time soon but he has made a lot of money in the process

Paul Ince had nice words to say about the chairman who sacked him as manager by text message:

It was deeply disappointing to have been notified that my contract was to be terminated via text message after a lengthy meeting with the chairman on Sunday where no indication was given that any of the coaching staff, myself included, were going to lose their jobs. Neither I nor my coaching staff received a telephone call from the chairman at any stage after this meeting.

In the same round of text messages the chairman, Karl Oyston, sacked Steve Thompson. Steve Thompson had been with the club for 10 years helping the club to get promoted twice and standing in as caretaker manager twice.

Jose Riga who was sacked as manager after just 4 difficult months was asked whether clubs would loan players to Blackpool:

Could he imagine a top Premier League club loaning players to Blackpool in their current state? “I don’t think it is difficult to find the answer,” he says. “Of course they are going to think twice.”

Neil McDonald has recently discovered this for himself:

Being truthful it’s been difficult to recruit.
I’ve had one Premier League club who wouldn’t loan us a player because of the problems we have here.

Neil clearly didn’t do his research before he joined Blackpool but rather than the fans or a fellow football professional perhaps Neil McDonald or anyone else thinking of joining the club should have been listening to someone who has actually worked at Blackpool all along.

Bart de Roover resigned as assistant manager in 2014 claiming that he had worked unpaid and without a contract for two months. The chairman of Blackpool football club Karl Oyston responded to Bart’s complaints by saying:

He knew exactly what he was coming to when he came and if he didn’t, more fool him

For once I agree with Karl Oyston.

More fool Neil McDonald and more fool anyone else who attends a match or takes a job at Blackpool whilst the Oystons remain in charge.

If they had done their research and thought about the issues before joining the club perhaps they would have found themselves putting football first and joining the Blackpool Supporters Trust instead.

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