Matt Williams column: Cod and Rod deals done

Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie
Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie
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In his weekly Gazette column, the Seasiders secretary finds his popularity soaring as ‘Rod-mania’ breaks out, and he finds time for plenty of football business as well.


The week begins by circulating the various scouting reports we have received from the weekend.

Owing to the international break, these reports are all player assessments, with many being the second or third report on potential targets.

The reports are passed to Alex Rae and our analyst Adam Dixon, who adds them to the player database system.

The first meeting of the week is with Ticketmaster and their business development manager Chris Belt.

Chris and I worked very closely ahead of the Premier League season, when the current ticket office system was installed, and he brings me up to speed with all the various developments within Ticketmaster.

One of our frustrations with Ticketmaster is that our functions and fixtures are not listed within their main site, which means that if someone was to search ‘Blackpool’ on the main Ticketmaster site, Blackpool FC would not be found which is unhelpful.

Chris agrees to rectify this and we arrange to meet again in January. The team’s travel arrangements for Birmingham are passed to the team coach company.

They inform me that the hotel we have booked does not have provision for car parking and that their driver will not need a room at the hotel as he will be staying closer to the coach park. Alex Rae and I discuss the midweek fixtures and he asks for a ticket to be arranged for him at Carlisle v Boreham Wood.

The day draws to a close with an e-mail from the youth department regarding our Academy goalkeeper coach, who has been offered a full- time position at Manchester City.

The e-mail prompts discussion on the impact of his departure on the Academy, his notice period and possible replacements.


After weeks of negotiation and several meetings with both the Chairman and myself, our newly appointed business development manager John Woodman has an agreement and contract signed with event management company Cuffe and Taylor for Bloomfield Road to play host to Rod Stewart in June 2014.

John must have sent over a hundred e-mails to the promoters and has done a fantastic job in bringing the concert to the club.

With the date of the concert being right in the middle of the close season, the groundsman and I discuss the impact on the pitch the concert will have.

As a precaution, I formally ask the Football League for an away game on the opening day of the 2014/15 season.

The date of the FA Youth Cup tie is finally agreed with Liverpool and the game will take place on Wednesday, December 18.

Season ticket holders will be able to gain entry to the game for free and we hope that supporters will turn out in force to watch our youngsters, who are currently having a fantastic season under Richie Kyle, Ciaran Donnelly and John Murphy.


The news that Bloomfield Road is to host Rod Stewart is announced at 8am.

People who I haven’t spoken to in years suddenly get in touch, with the majority wanting either complimentary tickets or front row seats.

Some are a little offended when I refer them to Ticketline or our ticket office!

Mid-morning I meet with David Gore, who until recently was the marketing manager for the Winter Gardens.

David brings me up to speed with a number of projects he is now involved in and we discuss ways of working together.

During the afternoon, I take a call from Steve Curwood, the chief executive of Fleetwood Town, expressing their interest in Nathan Tyson.

We discuss and agree the financial terms and we put our respective managers in touch to discuss the player in more depth.


‘Rod-mania’ continues, with my first call of the day being from the manager of a Conference club who expects me to arrange six seats at the concert for him!

The second call on my journey into work is from Steve at Fleetwood Town.

Fortunately, Steve has no interest in Rod Stewart and he tells me that everything is agreed with Nathan and he is happy with the loan deal.

I draft our standard loan agreement and various other bits of paperwork and send them across to Steve.

The player duly signs and becomes a Cod head for six weeks.

I receive a note from the Canadian FA that they have returned the international transfer certificate for Daniel Milton, which means we are now in the hands of the FA and their registrations department.

This hopefully signifies that Daniel will be eligible for the youth team’s game with Bury at the weekend.

Our scouts this week are given their assignments.

With so many fixtures in December, their focus is on team assessments, with Sheff ield Wednesday, QPR, Burnley and Derby all coming under the microscope.

Alex Rae once again wants to swap the comfort of his hotel on Friday night for a ticket at Doncaster v Yeovil ahead of our trip to Huish Park on December 3.

Prior to heading off to Birmingham, Steve Thompson pops his head in and informs me he has arranged a behind closed doors game with Blackburn Rovers at their training ground for the following Tuesday.

I make the necessary arrangements for a coach, inform the kit man and amend our training schedule with the FA.


The paperwork for Stephen Dobbie’s last 37 days with the club is submitted to the Football League and the FA.

‘Dobs’ will be with us on Sunday, December 29, when we play Brighton, and has already expressed his desire to stay with us for the remainder of the season.

We finally receive confirmation from the FA that Daniel Milton is eligible to play.

Despite having a British passport, both his and Connor Thurston’s registrations have been difficult due to FIFA and the protection of minors policy they have in place.

Daniel will push Connor Hunt for the no.1 spot in the Youth team and has a bright future ahead of him.

An scout who used to work for Watford makes contact expressing an interest in working for the club.

He is based in Italy and would work from there on a recommendation only basis.

It is obviously something of interest and I promise to discuss his proposal with the manager and chairman after the weekend.

One of the final e-mails I receive of the week is from our community trust, wanting to discuss the club’s possible involvement with Blackpool Council’s ‘Give a Little Helps a Lot” campaign to provide a better Christmas for under-privileged children.

For me it’s a no-brainer and is something that will work well with our annual visit to Brian House and, hopefully this Christmas, to the children’s ward at Victoria Hospital as well.

Just before I leave for the day, I take a look at the refurbished sponsors’ lounge in the West Stand.

Ahead of the busy Christmas period, the club has made some impressive improvements to the lounge and I am confident there aren’t many better function rooms on the Fylde.


The Youth Team continue their excellent run with a 3-1 win at Bury.

The first team, meanwhile, return from the Midlands with a point after a game against Birmingham that could have gone either way.

The new-look sponsors’ lounge hosts its first event – a ball in aid of Rick Clement’s Solider’s Journey charity.

The event raises over £50,000 ,which is an outstanding effort for a worthwhile cause.

For those who don’t know about Rick, his story or his charity, I would urge you to visit his website http://a-