Canavan’s column - February 14, 2013

GOOD DAYS: Karl Oyston and old boss Holloway

GOOD DAYS: Karl Oyston and old boss Holloway

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Oyston better get used to wearing his tin hat

WATCHING Blackpool Football Club recently has been like witnessing a dog get run over – gasping for breath, whimpering, looking desperately around for help.

It’s not quite at the point yet where a whack over the head with a shovel would be the kindest thing to do, but if it carries on for a few months more it might be.

As someone who covered the club for 10 years, and therefore grew to care for and love it, it is hard not to despair at the goings-on.

Discontent among the fans, no real new signings, awful pitch, an age to appoint a new manager, and a lack of results which has derailed a promotion charge going like a train at the start of the season. Not good.

I can tell you exactly what the problem is – the club made it to the Premier League.

That was the absolute nightmare scenario for Karl Oyston.

Well maybe nightmare’s too strong, for it made him a fortune – £40m the prize money for playing in the promised land, not to mention another £45m worth of parachute payments for four years afterwards. As nightmares go, that’s not a bad one.

But in terms of where the club is now, Oyston has a problem.

Blackpool are mid-table in the Championship. Five years ago that wouldn’t have caused anyone to grumble. In fact the fans would have been 
delirious.

The Premier League year, though, changed everything. It has sent expectations through the roof. The club has done it once and everyone wants them to do it again. Lumbering along mid-table in the division below, without showing any real desire to get back up, suddenly isn’t enough.

Problem is that for a club of Blackpool’s size, and run the way its run, it requires a brilliant manager, perfectly suited to the place, like Ian Holloway was, to win another promotion.

Are they likely to be so lucky with future managers? Probably not. Which means Oyston, who was given some stick during Saturday’s home win over Millwall, had better get used to wearing a tin hat.

The supporters have every right to be angry. Yes, Oyston has been unfortunate, very unfortunate, to lose not just Holloway but Michael Appleton too. But he hasn’t helped himself by taking way too long to appoint a new boss, while appearing to spend very little of the millions the club has made in recent times.

Unlike some, I personally think Oyston has done a pretty fine job over the last 10 years and more, but this season, things have – for the first time in a long while – gone backwards.

The chairman has, to his credit, admitted as much in recent weeks but words are easy; he must back them up by showing a real determination to sort out this mess and get the club once again moving in the right direction.

Am I going mad? I’m treating my pet cat like a real person

I FEAR I may be going mad. I’ve started conversing with the cat. It’s odd because when we first purchased Percy Canavan (his full title), I was indifferent towards him.

Truth be told I wanted a dog. They’re friendlier, they don’t wreck every piece of furniture in the house, they poo outside as opposed to in the kitchen. But the more Percy and I got to know each other – petting sessions on the couch, drinks down the pub, etc – the closer we became.

However, it’s gone too far.

Arriving home from work, I now walk through the front door, see Percy hurtle down the stairs and say things like ‘there you are, how’s your day been? What have you been up to? Have you been a good boy?’

Now I’m a fairly sensible man and I know the chances of a cat answering my questions is as likely as the next Pope wearing Adidas trainers and handing out free contraceptives during Sunday mass. And yet I still do it.

Things reached a new low on Monday when I left for work and, walking down the path, glanced over my shoulder and saw Percy perched on the windowsill. Without thinking, I stopped, turned, and waved at him.

I then looked slightly to the left and realised my next door neighbour had witnessed this sad, tragic incident. I tried to act nonchalantly and intend, if he ever questions me about it, to say I was being ironic.

The truth is, though, that I wasn’t. I’m beginning to treat my pet like a real person.

Is this insane or normal? I’m inclined to think the former. Anyway, must dash – the postman has just delivered March’s edition of Your Cat magazine.