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Ben Burgess column: Blackpool’s direction needs addressing

Blackpool's players deserve applause for taking the club to 12th place in League One this season
Blackpool's players deserve applause for taking the club to 12th place in League One this season

The final weekend of the Football League season certainly provided some excitement.

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In the Championship, Bolton Wanderers stayed up thanks to two goals in a minute and Preston North End were kept out of the play-offs by Derby County.

Morecambe pulled off the performance of the day to scrape a 0-0 draw at the Ricoh Arena against Coventry City and subsequently retain their spot in League Two.

Excitement certainly isn’t a word that you would use to describe Blackpool’s season but the players and manager deserve a lot of credit for their 12th-placed finish.

The real excitement that the fans want to see is off the pitch.

Gary Bowyer, who will be as frustrated as anyone with the situation, is beginning to be linked with other jobs and rightly so.

After working at Blackburn Rovers and at Bloomfield Road he has proved he could work for any owners in the world, however difficult.

In fact, he may even have played a part in negotiating the peace treaty between North and South Korea!

The fact that Bowyer is unsure of his own future, as he stated in this week’s Gazette, means that player recruitment and retention will be even more difficult.

The only out of contract player to re-sign thus far for Blackpool has been Mark Cullen.

Cullen was fantastic in driving the club to promotion from League Two but has spent the majority of this season recovering from injury.

Unlike a few of the other, soon to-be out of contract, player he wouldn’t have had as many alternative options.

The end of season brings with it the annual ‘Player of the Year’ awards.

Some of these awards nights can be particularly tedious but the ones at Blackpool were always a good laugh.

There were always plenty of fans in the room and it was always enjoyable to chat to the supporters and have a bit of ‘banter’.

The video montages were always good and I recall that one year Matt Williams had stitched us all up with little theme tunes to go along with the announcement of our names.

I predictably had ‘Big Ben’ chimes, Scott Vernon had the Postman Pat theme tune and if I remember correctly Ian Evatt had something about loving himself!

The awards themselves were rarely a surprise and it would always be between just two or three players, as they always stood out.

This got me thinking about my best Blackpool XI from my playing days (obviously, you have to put yourself in the starting line-up!):

GK: Matt Gilks/Joe Hart
RB: Alex Baptiste
CB: Ian Evatt
CB: Kaspars Gorkss
LB: Stephen Crainey
CM: David Vaughan
CM: Keith Southern
CM: Charlie Adam
LW: Wes Hoolahan
RW: Gary Taylor-Fletcher
CF: Me

I must also add that I would have DJ Campbell on the bench for when I injure my knee and have to come off!

While most professional footballers will be enjoying a relaxing break over the next few weeks, I have signed up for a quite ridiculous 12-hour night swim, in a lake, in Lincoln.

I’m not completely mad as I will be completing it with my swim buddy, Mark Walker, and we will be raising money for a great charity that is close to both of us, the British Heart Foundation.

If anyone would like to donate a few pounds then it would be hugely appreciated. Thanks and enjoy your summer.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-walkerbenburgess