Oyston: Riga signals fresh start for Blackpool

Jose Riga
Jose Riga
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Karl Oyston says the appointment of Jose Riga as Blackpool manager is the start of a new era at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders finalised a deal with the 56-year-old yesterday which will see him become the club’s 35th manager.

Riga, who saved Charlton from relegation in a successful two-month stint in London, is currently on a family holiday in Italy and is due to fly back into this country on Sunday to sign a deal with the club.

After weeks of departures and turmoil at the club, chairman Oyston is delighted to open new chapter. He told The Gazette: “It’s a new, fresh start for everyone at the club.

“We have a new coaching staff, a new team and it means we can start afresh.

“There have been big changes this summer but change can be a good thing.

“It’s important we reinvigorate the club now and get the correct people and players in place to move the club forward.”

Oyston had hoped to make a quick appointment following stand-in boss Barry Ferguson’s exit and didn’t expect his search to take a month.

But after talking to numerous candidates and travelling around Europe in his quest, Oyston insists he was right to take his time.

He added: “With what has gone before, we felt it was very important this time to do some real work to get the right man.

“We decided to see and speak to plenty of people and get as much advice as we possibly could. That’s what we’ve done.

“It was important that we took our time.

“There’s a bit of a fallacy that you should always do things quickly but we decided to try to do things properly.

“It was important we ended up happy with who we were going to be working with.”

Oyston, who flies to Portugal today for a Football League conference, revealed that Riga is set to bring in two assistants.

The Belgian will prove a popular choice, having topped a supporters’ poll conducted by The Gazette a week ago.

After successful spells as a manager in his homeland, including a stint at Standard Liege, Riga led Charlton to Championship safety with a fantastic run of results, capped by an impressive 3-0 victory at Bloomfield Road on the final day.

He also enjoyed a spell at AC Milan in charge of the club’s youth set-up.

Riga is back in Milan on holiday and is expected to begin work in Blackpool early next week, when a press conference will be arranged to mark his arrival.

Oyston added: “I’ll fly back from the conference on Sunday and Jose will arrive from Milan.

“We have a verbal agreement in place and on Sunday we’ll get everything signed up and get to work.”