Blackpool SLO column: Things are developing off the field at Bloomfield Road

Simon Sadler has been busy behind the scenes with fresh appointments at Bloomfield Road
Simon Sadler has been busy behind the scenes with fresh appointments at Bloomfield Road
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The new-look Blackpool FC continues to evolve, as we always knew it would.

Starting from the top, since my last monthly piece in the Gazette there have been significant changes at board level.

Simon Sadler said back in July that he would keep the off-field management team in place until September while he considered how to structure his board.

Michael Bolingbroke, Ben Hatton and the consultants they employed performed a role in getting our fractured football club functioning with something approaching normality in the wake of the Oystons’ departure.

We can all be grateful for their devotion to the club, but our new owner recognised that fresh appointments were needed to meet his ambitious vision for how he wants Blackpool FC to be run.

Consequently that interim team has departed and in its place has come, firstly, Linton Brown as chief commercial officer – with previous experience at Barnsley, Bolton and Hull – and acting CEO until a permanent chief executive officer is appointed.

The new arrival – and others to follow – will bring to the Blackpool board a depth of experience at managing community-based football clubs at League One and Championship level.

Linton’s expertise, knowledge of the football industry, networking and 24/7 dedication to furthering the fortunes of Blackpool FC should help take the club to the next level of successful sustainability.

Truth be told, the summer transition from interim board to the new management team has resulted inevitably in some delay in moving projects forward.

I did advise last time around that change at Bloomfield Road and its environs would be gradual; a matter of prioritising and funding.

Many easy-to-make changes have been implemented: upgrading the TV screens, reinstating the reserve team, putting on coaches to away games, holding open days at the stadium – there will be another one in this October half-term.

What is certain and proper is that the new board will revisit some of the proposals that were conceived by its predecessors; for instance regarding East Stand redevelopment, the North-East corner, the location of away supporters, the siting and configuration of the new training ground.

By the way, I’ve just reread a copy of Tangerine News – the club’s official newsletter – from December 2001 which states: “Our next strategy relates to the improvement of the club’s training arrangements.

“A new site has been earmarked and the aim is to create state-of-the-art facilities in order to make them much more attractive to players and amenable to the coaching management.’

I believe that once the new board is fully constituted, decisions will be easier to come by and the rate of change (i.e. improvement) around the club will increase in line with the goal to make Blackpool a model of what a good community football club should be.

In the meantime, a degree of patience is required.

In the meantime, let’s keep focusing on supporting the club and the team in the best way we can.

Anyone who witnessed the first 20 minutes of the game against Lincoln City on Friday night will have seen what this group of players is capable of when they play the right system with confidence and attacking intent.

A top-six finish and a tilt at the play-offs has to be the stretch-target.

The noise and the atmosphere inside Bloomfield Road was amazing.

I know Monday night’s fixture at Bolton Wanderers is being televised, but it would be great to have as many fans as possible making the journey to the University of Bolton Stadium to get behind the team.

Pay on the gate will not be possible but tickets will be on sale until Monday afternoon and the club is once again running coaches to the match; £13 return, leaving Bloomfield Road at 5.30pm.

As always, if you have issues, concerns or suggestions for how to improve the quality of the matchday experience at Bloomfield Road, or just want to start a conversation, contact me.

You can reach me via twitter: @BFCSLO, via email: slo@blackpoolfc.co.uk and on Facebook: Blackpool FC Supporters’ Liaison Officer.