Ben Burgess column: Harsh lessons during football ‘education’

Blackpool's David Ferguson   during the game against Walsall
Blackpool's David Ferguson during the game against Walsall
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I spent last Saturday morning watching an exhilarating athletics World Championships and in particular the imperious Mo Farah.

He toyed, teased and terrorised the opposition in his 5000m final, even doing the athletics equivalent of a Cristiano Ronaldo showboat when he popped to the outside lane for a drink.

With all that admiration inside me, I packed my two children, aged six and three into the car and broke it to them that we were going to Bloomfield Road to watch the mighty Blackpool.

“Did you play for them, Daddy?” Seb enquired.

I wasn’t sure how to sell this trip to them both. Is it a treat or an education? I opted to play it cool and let them decide later.

The first part of our excursion (I am a teacher after all) started with me answering the question of who ‘Morty’ was. The second part was due to the fact my boy was intrigued to see so many police being around.

I started with a simple explanation, which slowly turned into a brief history of the ‘civil war’ that continues between the club and its fans and how the supporters, try to voice their opinion outside the ground as they strive to be heard.

After five minutes of my passionate speech, Seb turned, looked at me, and in a serious voice informed me that a horse had just stepped in it’s own poo!

The pool starting 11 held no surprises, as the protracted recruitment drive slowed to a grinding halt.

As we took our seats, Daisy asked, “Where is everyone?” Her last visit to Bloomfield Road saw her stroll around the pitch atop my shoulders after we secured a Play-off place with a 1-1 draw against Bristol City.

Streams of Tangerine enveloped the stands back then, as songs were sung and everyone cheered and smiled (honestly, that did happen).

Back to reality and the Seasiders started the game really well.

I was impressed how they passed the ball and created chances (as they had against Burton), but as soon as the first goal was scored by a very impressive Romaine Sawyers, Blackpool lost their rhythm and struggled to get a foothold in the game.

In fact, Sawyers strolled around the pitch controlling everything as though he was Farah racing around the track.

As the second and third goals went in, I turned to my two little footy fans beside me to discuss the defensive collapse.

Daisy had pulled some colouring out of nowhere and Seb was on the floor pushing his cars back and forwards with another fan who had seen enough.

Whilst it was nice to show my children where Daddy played/sat on the bench and to see some of the great people who work inside the club, I can’t help but coming away from Bloomfield Road every time with such sadness and a horrible feeling in my stomach that things are going to get worse before they get better.

Neil McDonald pulled no punches when he described the game as ‘men against boys’ and said:“We are just not good enough.’

Now the extremely worrying thing is that unless there is a mass influx of loan stars in a week’s time, this will be by and large what he has to work with for the near future.

I would normally say that even Jose Mourinho would struggle to succeed here, but he’s got his own problems at the moment!