Ben Burgess column: A tale of two clubs

Blackpool's game with Scunthorpe United highlighted the differing approaches of both clubs
Blackpool's game with Scunthorpe United highlighted the differing approaches of both clubs

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

It’s no secret that Blackpool fans will be wishing for a change of ownership and your club back in the New Year.

Those fans at Charlton Athletic last week, actually received their very own present from Gary Bowyer and his team.

In the world of football, where fans feel an ever growing disenfranchisement from their heroes on the pitch, it was a lovely touch to see Bowyer handing out Tangerine Santa hats to all those travelling supporters.

It was even better for some of the youngsters, as the players rewarded their dedication with signed shirts.

All of this generosity stems, not from the club but from Gary Bowyer and once again goes to show the kind of man he is.

The players carried that good feeling into the game and snatched a very creditable draw at the Valley in the very last minute.

I always loved playing in the Christmas fixtures and I love attending games at this period as well.

It’s often a mix of my two favourite things, family and football.

Everyone is generally in a good mood and a bit more relaxed than the rest of the season.

Even Christmas Day training was always quite fun, with Santa hats on display and the excitement of getting back home to spend it with your family.

Many clubs opt to train early in the morning so the rest of the day can be spent relaxing.

The majority of managers realise that whilst game preparation is important, so is ‘down’ time for players to keep them happy.

I remember Stephen Crainey was always the ultimate professional and kept to his chicken and pasta with no sauce meal, instead of turkey with all the trimmings.

The Seasiders’ Boxing Day fixture against high-flying Scunthorpe United highlighted the different directions that both clubs are heading.

Blackpool, through sheer great management and little investment have forced their way back into League One; conversely Scunthorpe have amassed a squad of real quality that was highlighted by their bench of Paddy Madden, Lee Novak and Simon Church.

All of those strikers have played at higher levels and would get into the majority of League One sides, whereas, if Blackpool have no Kyle Vassell, then they really struggle.

Unfortunately, Bowyer’s men started the game extremely slowly in the first 10 minutes and were 2-0 down before they could respond.

They did make a fist of things later on in the game, but the 3-2 defeat indicated that Bloomfield Road is no longer the fortress it was at the beginning of the season.

That’s now five defeats from the last six home games and just one victory in the last 11.

The squad desperately needs investment and fresh faces to enable Bowyer to continue working his miracles.

Sadly, due to the state of limbo with the ownership, there appears little chance of any sort of squad strengthening at all.

If Jose Mourinho thinks that spending around £286m at Manchester United is not enough to build a successful team then we certainly shouldn’t expect too much from Bowyer and his meagre budget.

The next two games, against Plymouth Argyle and Rochdale, will provide an opportunity for the threadbare squad to keep those two sides below Blackpool in the table and give the Seasiders some breathing space from the relegation places.

We can all keep our fingers crossed that the New Year will be a great one that unites this club with their fans.