Despairing fans rocked by Burton bombshell

Gary Rowett
Gary Rowett
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Blackpool FC descended into total chaos last night as it emerged that Gary Rowett had been offered the manager’s job while current boss Jose Riga was taking training yesterday.

Riga’s relationship with chairman Karl Oyston had already collapsed following the failure to sign anyone ahead of last week’s transfer deadline.

Jose Riga

Jose Riga

Then came last night’s bombshell from Burton Albion, who chose to announce publicly that their manager Rowett had rejected the chance to replace Riga after talks with Pool.Oyston and Rowett met yesterday morning, while Riga was putting the players through their paces at Squires Gate.

The Gazette understands Oyston offered the 40-year-old the job with the intention of sacking Riga once a deal with Rowett was agreed.

However, the League Two club stunned Pool by releasing astatement in which Rowett said: “Following discussions with Blackpool, I have decided that I will remain at Burton Albion for the foreseeable future. I feel it is not the right job for me at the present time.”

Riga knew nothing of the move for Rowett and The Gazette understands he has not spoken to Oyston for over a week.

The chairman criticised Riga in yesterday’s Gazette and revealed the pair were set for talks to determine his future that afternoon.

The proposed meeting did not take place – Oyston was not on the Fylde coast yesterday and Riga oversaw a double training session.

Although Blackpool haven’t broken any rules by approaching Rowett while already having a manager in place, the latest episode has met with universal disapproval.

Tim Fielding, chairman of Blackpool’s Supporters Trust, said: “Blackpool are on the record as saying they do things properly. Well, how about treating the manager properly?

“Every day we think we’ve reached a new low but Karl is surprising us all by coming up with more novel ways.

“It’s flabbergasting that they are interviewing other managers. It’s almost like he’s taunting Riga.”

Former striker Ben Burgess, who was part of Ian Holloway’s promotion-winning side of 2010, said: “It’s another sorry twist in the horrible story which is Blackpool Football Club at the moment. It’s awful.

“It’s a strange one as Karl Oyston usually takes the moral high ground about this sort of thing.

“It’s the fans I feel sorry for. Every day there’s something new.”

Oyston and Riga were again unavailable for comment last night, while the fans took to social media to question the future of both.

Blackpool Supporters Association chairman Glenn Bowley told The Gazette: “I don’t know what to say any more. I’m speechless.

“It’s time the chairman acted like a proper football chairman by making decisive decisions about the club.

“He needs to clear up the uncertainty immediately by either backing Riga publicly or sacking him. In any other business his position would be untenable.

“The fanbase has very little confidence in Oyston now, if any. He needs to act quickly.”

The drama unfolded on the day Oyston accused Riga of acting unprofessionally by spending last week with his family in Belgium.

Oyston also blasted former assistant manager Bart De Roover, who walked out last week branding the club the “most unprofessional” he had ever seen.

Oyston in turn accused him of belonging in “the lower leagues in Belgium” and De Roover said of last night’s revelation: “It’s unbelievable. This is getting ridiculous now. Disrespectful is too nice a word. It’s beyond a joke.

“Oyston promised everything would be improved but we saw nothing in two months.

You should work with your team and players, not against them.”