IAN Holloway admits that what should be a thrilling week has been tainted by having to tell some of his stars they don’t have a future at the club.
The Seasiders boss would rather be concentrating totally on the preparations for Sunday’s crunch trip to Old Trafford, but instead the manager has had to write a letter to every member of his squad whose contract is up.
Most are being kept on, with the club activating the options written into contracts.
But some are being released and the manager says the timing couldn’t be worse.
Holloway said: “The rules say we have to tell them before this game. That has been a nightmare for me.
“I’m not saying who we’ve released – that will all come out in good time – but you should be able to do it at the end of the season.
“Unfortunately our contracts were worded as if we were still in the Championship, so we had to let the lads know by the third week in May.
“Normally the season is over by this time in the Championship, so it would be OK, but we’ve had to tell them before the final game. There is no leeway, so that was just great for me, absolutely fantastic. It will certainly be a test of my motivational skills.
“In in the midst of all this euphoria from playing so well last weekend and giving ourselves a chance, I’ve had to tell certain people they haven’t got a contract next year.
“Or I’ve had to tell them that I am taking up their option, which might not be as good as they want.
“So we’ll see if I’m any good as a motivator because we have to go to the champions and put up a fantastic fight and try to win.
“That’s the week I’m having – belting, isn’t it?”
Most players have had their 12-month option activated, like Charlie Adam, Ian Evatt, Keith Southern, Neal Eardley and Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
Brett Ormerod, who made history by becoming the first Pool player to score in all four divisions, has been offered a new deal on reduced wages (like Ben Burgess last summer) and has a decision to make.
But others like Paul Rachubka, Richard Kingson, Danny Coid and Rob Edwards may not have been so lucky.
The manager has given his players today off. They will train tomorrow and on Saturday for the season-defining match.
Holloway got his pre-match press conference out of the way yesterday to ensure he can spend as much time as possible on the training ground.
His final meeting of the season with the media was as entertaining as ever, including a pop at the Premier League, who he claimed might be glad to see the back of his club.
Holloway is angry at claims that United could be fined if Sir Alex Ferguson fields an understrength team and Blackpool stay up by becoming the only team all season to win at Old Trafford.
Not only does Holloway feel that undermines his own team, he is also indignant at the suggestion Ferguson is not bothered about finishing the Premier League season on a high note.
And he is coming to the conclusion that the game’s authorities do not want him around.
“They will be relieved if we lose and get relegated,” said Holloway. “Then I am not badgering all these people who don’t do their jobs very well.
“They might be relieved (if we get relegated) because then I wouldn’t be saying what I’m saying in press conferences.
“I think it is a nonsense for them to give a statement to a paper saying that Manchester United might be fined if they lose. I take that bit personally.
“I am so annoyed. Sir Alex Ferguson is a winner. He would never dream of not being interested in winning any match.
“That man deserves to pick whatever team he wants to pick. No-one should question it.
“Look at his record. Those people running the game, what planet are they on? They must have beamed down from planet Zarf. They are not in the right world.
“They think we can only beat Manchester United if they are weak. What a load of baloney. Unfortunately, that is what we are dealing with.
“I know we’ll have to play well but what an exciting, wonderful day it is going to be. So let’s enjoy the climax of what’s been a fantastic season and not have any of this rubbish about someone maybe getting fined.”
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