DOWN right shameful, former heroes react to Pool’s relegation

Ian Evatt and Keith Southern celebrate in much happier times, after Blackpool's win at Anfield in 2010
Ian Evatt and Keith Southern celebrate in much happier times, after Blackpool's win at Anfield in 2010
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Fans today labelled Blackpool FC’s relegation from the Championship “shameful” – as former Bloomfield Road greats accused the club of “being without leadership”.

And many have joined the growing calls for under-fire chairman Karl Oyston to quit.

Rotherham’s 1-0 win over Brighton yesterday confirmed rock-bottom Pool’s fall into League One with a month of the season still to go.

Fans described the situation as “an all-time low for our once proud club”.

Former players – heroes of Pool’s promotion to the Premier League less than five years ago – joined the condemnation from the terraces.

Keith Southern is demanding Oyston does everything he can do turn the club around or step down as chairman.

The midfielder, who spent 10 years at the club and played in every division for the Seasiders, says he is devastated to see Pool become what he’s described as “a laughing stock”.

The 33-year-old said: “Karl needs to be honest with himself and most importantly with the fans.

“He needs to ask himself if he’s now going to do everything in his power to get this fantastic club back up the leagues.

“If not, then maybe it’s time to step aside. The fans deserve to know how the club has descended into a laughing stock

“Blackpool appear to be without leadership, direction, structure and proper investment. Where does it go from here? Unless things change, it’s only going one way and that’s down again.”

Southern made more than 350 appearances for Blackpool between 2002 and 2012 and is fondly remembered by the club’s supporters.

And yesterday’s relegation has hit him harder than most.

He added: “I’m absolutely devastated. I had 10 fantastic years at Blackpool and it’s a club which remains close to my heart.

“I had some of the most amazing experiences a footballer could ever experience.

“Relegation has been on the cards for a while now but it hadn’t hit home until it was confirmed.

“The club and the people involved need to stand up and explain to the fans the truth about what’s gone wrong in the last 18 months or so.”

Ian Evatt described Blackpool’s relegation to League One as a “travesty” as former players lined-up to express their disappointment.

“I’m absolutely gutted to see Blackpool relegated. The fans don’t deserve that,” said the centre-half, who spent six years at Bloomfield Road.

“All the hard work the previous players and staff put in has gone to waste. It’s a travesty.”

Blackpool face Reading this evening 19 points adrift in the relegation zone with just six games to play.

And former skipper Charlie Adam, who led the side to promotion to the Premier League in 2010, said: “It’s sad to hear of Blackpool’s relegation. It’s a special club with unbelievable supporters.

“I know Blackpool will be back and hopefully it can be sooner rather than later.”

Many feel the club’s promotion to the top flight under Ian Holloway in 2010 has been wasted, including Ben Burgess.

The striker, another part of Holloway’s famous side, said Pool had wasted the last nine years.

He said: “I’m gutted Blackpool are back in League One after all the hard work so many people put in to get them where we were.

“Blackpool are now right back where they were nine years ago, when I first joined the club.

“I feel like a tremendous opportunity to build an infrastructure for the future of the club has been wasted.

“I just hope the fans get the club they deserve back.”

Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who scored in the 2010 play-off final, echoed the feelings of his former team mates. “I’m absolutely gutted,” he said.

“The times we had at Blackpool can never be taken away from us, but I feel like there’s nothing to show for our hard work.

“We were a special group who had a special relationship on and off the field, and with the supporters.”

Tamworth boss Andy Morrell, who played 78 between 2006-08 and helped the club win promotion to the Championship, talked about what it will take to put things right.

“It’s gut wrenching to see Blackpool relegated back to League One,” he said.

“The club have paid heavily for not investing in the training ground and the structure of the club when it was promoted to the Premier League.

“I’m sure Blackpool will bounce back, but it will take time, money...and the fans.”

Spaniard Angel Martinez played 64 times in three years at Bloomfield Road and described news of the relegation as “like ripping a piece of my heart”.

The popular midfielder said: “The people of Blackpool opened their doors to me and made me feel like I was on the beach of my home town in Spain.

“My daughter Lola was born in the town and it’s a place and club I’ll always have strong feelings for.

“To see them relegated out of the Championship is like ripping a piece of my heart.

“It’s a sad day for those who love Blackpool,me included. We all have to forget this season and think about how to build a new dream.”