Blackpool fans have sent a clear message to chairman Karl Oyston as he closes in a new manager – back your man or sell the club.
Pool have lost five managers since Ian Holloway’s resignation 18 months ago – a turbulent period which ended with the club’s humiliating relegation from the Championship with a record-low points total.
With 20 days having passed since Lee Clark quit and only 30 days to go until Pool’s players report for pre-season training supporters know the club must act quickly to avoid a ‘Groundhog Day’ repeat of last summer’s chaos.
Pool went into last July with just seven players and have a similar number confirmed for next season.
Today Blackpool Supporters’ Association chairman Glenn Bowley called on the Seasiders to open up to worried supporters and on Karl Oyston to stand behind the man he appoints or leave the club.
He said: “The club really need to tell the supporters what is happening and how close the club is to making an appointment.
“I know a lot of fans are deeply unhappy with the regime at Blackpool but many fans will want to continue supporting the team.”
This week the Oyston family suggested for the first time they were open to offers to buy the football club – revealing in a club statement on Wednesday that proposals along the lines of those unsuccessfully tabled by a mystery consortium may be welcomed.
Bowley made it clear, given Blackpool’s fall from the Premier League to the third-tier in four years, it was time for the club’s owners to back a manager or walk away.
He said: “If they are willing to back the new manager, to give them the funds and support to have a good go at getting out of League One, it is vital they make the right appointment.
“If they aren’t willing to do that, then it doesn’t matter who is appointed.
“If they aren’t willing to back a manager, it is time for the club’s owners to sell up and walk away.”
Blackpool fans are split over the issue of Clark’s replacement – some keen to see their club bounce straight back from relegation to League One, others unwilling to back a manager appointed by the Oyston family.
Dave White, a member of the Gazette’s fans’ panel made it clear the chaos has to stop.
He said: “This can’t be a rushed decision.
“This is a crucial choice for the future of the club.
“Blackpool need to make sure they get the right man.
“The short-term thinking has to end.
“It seems a long time since we had a manager like Ian Holloway or Steve McMahon, someone who was at the club for three or four years.
“We need that again.”
For another member of The Gazette’s panel, Vicky Sinclair, it’s already too late for a new man to have a team together in time for pre-season – Blackpool are due to face Lancaster City in a friendly on July 11.
She said: “We’ve got seven players, some in the same position and no goalkeeper.
“It’s too late now - we’ve got games scheduled for July and with things as they are, even with the youth team, I can’t see us being able to put a team out.”
Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, who are set to reveal details of their own bid to buy Blackpool next month, insist no manager appointed by the Oyston family will be accepted by fans.
Spokeswoman Christine Seddon told The Gazette: “The simple fact we have to recognise is that Blackpool should be a partnership between the owners, the fans, the players.
“That has broken down.
“The Oystons need to accept their time is up.
“It doesn’t matter who is appointed, if the Oystons are still in place the manager will be seen as a collaborator - he will not have the backing of the fans. The fans will be on their back.”
The current favourite for the Blackpool hotseat is West Ham number two Neil McDonald. Odds have significantly shortened on former Stevenage and Preston boss Graham Westley, who is now second-favourite.