Many goings-on at Bloomfield Road so far this season have baffled me and the club’s stance on its young players is the latest.
I’ve been a big supporter of Blackpool’s youth team set-up in the past 18 months and readers of The Gazette will be more than familiar with Richie Kyle’s work with the U18 side.
Therefore it’s been brilliant to see the likes of Harrison McGahey, Dom Telford and most recently Mark Waddington burst into the first team and make their mark.
There’s something special about a young lad playing for a club he’s grown up with, in Waddington and Telford’s cases since the age of eight, and finally pulling on the shirt.
Not only does it mean more to the players, supporters are much more willing to get behind them, knowing they are one of their own.
The success of Pool’s academy, bringing three players through to the senior squad in six months, should be making the headlines, but they are for the wrong reasons.
After chairman Karl Oyston blamed Jose Riga (and Riga blamed Oyston) for McGahey’s departure to Sheffield United in the summer, you’d think Pool would have learned their lesson.
Telford and Waddington could be set to turn down contracts at Bloomfield Road and head elsewhere at the end of the season.
Now I’m not often one to back players when it comes to battling for money and improved contracts – in many cases footballers are a vastly overpaid bunch.
But in Waddington and Telford’s case it isn’t greed which could see them head elsewhere.
Pool have a structure in place which sees their young players earn a set wage and an appearance fee if and when they break into the first team.
It’s a system which most clubs have and is often quite sensible, but there has to be exceptions.
The problem the Seasiders have in this case is that this promising duo, who are now classed as first-team players, are expected to sign a deal which could see them earn as much as £9,000 a week less than some of their team- mates.
And it’s that which makes their request for an extra couple of hundred quid seem reasonable.
We aren’t talking about breaking the bank – signing Waddington on a two-year deal would probably cost the same as having Ishmael Miller or Steven Davies for a month and a half.
Looking at it that way, is this really a gamble?
What’s the alternative. Well, this season Pool opted for John Lundstram, whose weekly cost to the club in wages was more than Telford and Waddington combined.
If Blackpool were cash- strapped, I could understand the desire to sell youngsters to keep the club alive, but we are constantly told how cash rich the Seasiders are.
If that is the case, letting these two go would make no sense at all. If anything it’s simply another example of the crazy short-sighted tactics being employed by Oyston at present.
If they do, Pool may as well close the academy down.