Fans in uproar over Blackpool turmoil

Jose Riga
Jose Riga
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Blackpool FC supporters’ groups are united in their dismay over the situation at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders have gone into the international break bottom of the Championship and have lost all six matches this season – the worst start in the club’s history.

Blackpool FC new manager Michael Appleton (left) with chairman Karl Oyston.

Blackpool FC new manager Michael Appleton (left) with chairman Karl Oyston.

Despite constant demands from manager Jose Riga to improve the squad, chairman Karl Oyston failed to sign anyone before the transfer window closed on Monday.

And while the club’s main two fans’ groups may not quite see eye to eye, they are singing from the same hymnsheet over the club’s disarray.

Blackpool Supporters Association chairman Glenn Bowley complained that “the way fans are being treated is absolutely appalling”, while Tim Fielding of Blackpool’s Supporters Trust said the mess left him “almost speechless”.

Bowley said: “The situation is totally and utterly unacceptable. When you’ve lost six matches on the trot there is no excuse for us not improving the squad.

“To say the loan market opens next week is a pathetic excuse. Everyone is sick and tired of what’s going on at Bloomfield Road. We all just want to see the club perform well and flourish, and that just isn’t happening.”

Although Pool tabled bids for a number of players, including Huddersfield’s Danny Ward, much has been made of the fact that Riga and Oyston both stayed away from Bloomfield Road on deadline day.

Fielding found that baffling and told The Gazette: “It’s astonishing there was no activity in the last week. It alarms me no-one was at the club on Monday.

“I read Riga’s comments over the weekend about what he expected before the deadline and he seemed to almost acknowledge that he wasn’t going to get what he wanted.

“There was almost an element of resignation that nothing was going to happen.

“You would think the club would be a hive of activity on transfer deadline day, particularly with the situation our club is in. For neither Riga nor Oyston to be there is almost beyond comprehension.

“It’s almost getting to the point where the last person out of Bloomfield Road should turn the lights off.

“For there to be no concerted effort to improve the squad needs an explanation from the manager and the chairman. We need to know why nothing has been done.”

Pool’s next game is at home to Wolves on Saturday week and Fielding believes the club is in real danger of losing supporters unless big changes are made.

He added: “There are a lot of diehard fans, people who have been season ticket holders for many years, who now don’t want to go. In many cases they can’t stomach what’s going on.

“A lot of members are telling me their children don’t want to come to games any more.

“One of the big positives of the Ian Holloway era was seeing all the kids with Blackpool kits, excited to be going to games. Now parents are struggling to get these kids to go and they are the future of the club.

“Football has to be about enjoyment and at the moment it’s not enjoyable.

“The situation between Karl and Jose has to be resolved. It looks like Riga hasn’t been supported and only those two can really say why.

“If you bring a manager in you should trust his judgment, but if what Riga is saying is correct that’s not happening. If that is the case, I don’t think that relationship can continue.

“They need to meet and decide what they are doing. If they can’t resolve their differences, something has to give.”

BSA plan to question the chairman at a fans’ forum this month and Bowley added: “It’s frustrating that solving short-term problems is all we ever seem to do. The club needs to be looking longer term.

“We seem to go around in circles and it’s becoming tiresome. I think fans are becoming sick and tired of all this, maybe even bored by it.

“I think we can all understand Riga’s frustration but he’s no use to anyone in Belgium on transfer deadline day.

“The chairman also being away, isn’t good enough. He and Riga should have been in an office working as hard as they can. Maybe Riga thought, ‘If the chairman isn’t there, why should I bother.’”