D-day for new man at Blackpool helm

New man at Bloomfield Road
New man at Bloomfield Road
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New club secretary Nick Alford is likely to be the man tasked with keeping Blackpool ticking when chairman Karl Oyston’s six week ban kicks in on July 8.

The former Cardiff City man will find himself walking into a club in crisis when he takes up his post on Monday - replacing controversial figure Chris Hough whose departure was revealed by The Gazette on Thursday.

The first matter on Alford’s mind is likely to be how to fill the void left by Oyston’s ban - imposed by the FA for the sending of ‘abusive’ text messages to supporter Stephen Smith.

Today is Hough’s final day at Bloomfield Road – marking the end of a manic 13 months with the Seasiders.

He arrived in the wake of Matt Williams’ departure to become chief executive at Shrewsbury Town - thrust into the middle of a stand-off between Oyston and manager Jose Riga.

He was heavily criticised by fans for an administrative bungle which meant only 15 of the 21 man squad sent to Nottingham Forest in August were registered and eligible to play.

Oyston then jumped to his defence when the club was fined £30,000 for fielding an ineligible player after Donervan Daniels appeared against Millwall a day after his loan spell had expired.

Hough was later to step in as kitman following the departure of Alan Bent – bringing more criticism Blackpool’s way when it was revealed Joe Lewis had been forced to play in a signed shirt, intended for an auction.

In a brief email, circulated to Football League clubs and seen by The Gazette, Hough admits he’s had a tough time at Pool.

He wrote: “After and incredibly difficult season resulting in relegation I would like to thank everyone I have come across for all their help and support.

“I have learnt and experienced an awful lot which can only help aid my development and knowledge.”

Hough’s replacement, Alford was club secretary at Cardiff City during their Premier League campaign – leaving the club last summer.

He knows there’s plenty of work to be done, with Blackpool’s squad consisting of just 19 senior players - including want-away stars and a number of young professionals yet to pen new deals.

“I’m really pleased to be back working at a football club, and Blackpool represents a real opportunity for me,” said Alford.

“It’s exciting times ahead for the club and I hope my experience can only be beneficial during the course of the season.

“Obviously this is a busy period behind the scenes, with plenty of work to be done between now and August, and I can’t wait to get started,” he added.

Alford, along with new boss Neil McDonald will be one of the key men in the coming weeks – club legend Jimmy Armfield insisting the pair can keep Blackpool running.

“The club will have had to have had a contingency plan in place, “ said Armfield.

“It is up to them what they do.

“But I should think it’s fairly obvious.

“The manager is there, the secretary is there.

“That is enough for them to continue doing business.

“But of course we are all concerned, the fans are concerned, about what is going to happen.”

Blackpool’s players return for pre-season training on Monday.

A friendly at Accrington Stanley will conclude Blackpool’s pre-season schedule.

The Seasiders will travel to The Crown Ground on Friday July 31 at 7.45pm

Ticket prices will be announced in due course.