Ben Burgess column: Are Blackpool out of miracles post-Easter?

Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer
Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer
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I always loved the Easter break when I was a player and not just because of all the chocolate I ate!

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I always happened to be playing in a team that was fighting either for promotion or to avoid relegation, so this time of year was always extra-important as the possibility of six points could make a huge difference in league positions.

If you look at all four divisions in England at the moment, you can see that the promotion and relegation situations are starting to take shape.

There are always the usual teams who crumble under the pressure of expectation when it comes to the end of the season.

In my time at Blackpool, that tended to be the likes of Nottingham Forest, who started every season like a house on fire and finished like Theresa May in a general election.

In League 1 at the moment there are some teams at the bottom who are having a real resurgence, like Blackpool’s latest opponents Oldham, Rochdale and near rivals Fleetwood.

This is looking slightly ominous for a Blackpool team who are crawling towards the finish line.

Two defeats over the Easter period against teams below them (Doncaster and Oldham) has led to Gary Bowyer publicly declaring that his side must stick together, stay calm and follow his plans (which a few didn’t do over the weekend).

Blackpool’s form is certainly worrying as we approach the last six games of the season.

The team started the season fantastically and were comfortably inside the top 10, with plenty of reason to be optimistic.

That would have been an opportune moment to make a small investment in the playing squad to make sure the team stayed in the top half.

Predictably, that did not happen and the miracles that Gary Bowyer had been performing up to that point were wasted as other teams strengthened and Blackpool stagnated.

The lack of investment became apparent when the amount each club has spent on agents’ fees was made public this week. Blackpool had the fourth-lowest in the division.

Regardless of what you think about agents, they have the power and they have the players.

The only way to obtain the players you require is to pay the agents’ fees.

To put it into perspective, Fleetwood paid more than four times the amount the Seasiders have.

The top payers in the division are Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic. It’s no coincidence that they currently occupy two of the top three places in the league.

The disappointment on the pitch is reflected off it at Blackpool as the ownership saga rumbles on.

At this stage of the season, players will be thinking about their contracts. Do they deserve a new one? Will they be released? Will they have to uproot their family again and sell their house?

All questions that Bowyer is unlikely to be able to answer and automatically the best players will instruct their agent to find a more secure and attractive offer. In turn, this makes Bowyer’s already impossible job even more difficult.

Many clubs will already be making contact with players from other clubs who are approaching the end of their deals in a bid to get their business done early in the summer.

If the ownership of Blackpool Football Club is not resolved soon, then next season promises to be another one of firefighting and stalled progress.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if other clubs start to enquire about Gary Bowyer’s availability.

That could well leave the Seasiders with another string of terrible managers, like we suffered previously.