End of an error: League One bound Blackpool plummeted new depths under Mick McCarthy

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Mick McCarthy’s departure marks the end of an error.
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To be fair to Mick, he did warn us. After the defeat to Reading in February, one of nine losses during his brief tenure, he was asked if things could get any worse – “oh, it can” was the response.

Not only did the 64-year-old fail to turn to improve matters during his failed 80-day rein, they somehow managed to get even worse.

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That takes some doing given Michael Appleton had failed to win any of his last 10 games prior to his removal in mid-January.

The chances are Blackpool were still heading for the drop under Appleton, whose points-per-game average of 0.96 would have resulted in a tally of 44 had it been replicated across the entirety of the 46-game season. But at least they would have remained in the hunt.

Under McCarthy, whose points-per-game was a dreadful 0.69, the Seasiders have plummeted like a stone, so much so they’re at risk of finishing below not one, but two sides that have been hit with points deductions.

McCarthy was brought in to ignite the club and produce a so-called new manager bounce. He’s done it before, so the logic was sound and you only have to take one look at Neil Warnock and Huddersfield Town to see it’s possible.

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Mick McCarthy's brief rein at Bloomfield Road lasted just 80 daysMick McCarthy's brief rein at Bloomfield Road lasted just 80 days
Mick McCarthy's brief rein at Bloomfield Road lasted just 80 days

But McCarthy, who had been out of work for 18 months after an eight-game losing streak saw him get the axe at Cardiff, just wasn’t the right fit.

The squad of players were predominately smaller, technical individuals who had been signed for Appleton’s 4-3-3. To play his brand of football he needed more seasoned pros, taller and more physical ‘lads’ who could bully and fight their way to wins.

The writing was on the wall when he played Josh Bowler, a maverick right winger, in central midfield.

He certainly wasn’t helped by injuries, but that’s still no excuse for his failure to get the most out of the players he did have at his disposal. There’s still quality in this squad, they’re far better than their measly points tally of 35 suggests.

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Both McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor have departedBoth McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor have departed
Both McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor have departed

One thing we thought we might get from McCarthy is a tightening of the defence, but over the past three games the Seasiders have shipped 10 goals. When goals are hard to come by at the other end of the pitch, Blackpool weren’t even giving themselves a chance.

McCarthy promised his trusted lieutenant Terry Connor would get a tune out of the club’s strikers but, during his 14 games in league and cup, only three goals were scored by a number nine and they were all bagged by Jerry Yates, who is now predictably injured. You couldn’t write it.

The veteran boss ended up taking just nine points from his 13 league games. Good Friday’s disastrous defeat against his former side Cardiff, which all but confirmed relegation with six games to go, proved to be the last straw.

Questions will be asked: should the club have acted sooner? There were plenty of warning signs, after all. QPR aside, there was never any moment where you realistically thought McCarthy was about to turn things around.

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But the fact McCarthy left by “mutual consent” doesn’t surprise me given the manner of which he’s been undermined during the past week, where two supporters were brought in to essentially do his job by addressing the players and giving them a motivational speech. Fat lot of good that did, by the way. Will these fans now be in charge of the search for a new head coach?

It’s understood McCarthy was rightfully bemused by the goings on at the club this week. In public he always held counsel but behind the scenes he was more open and honest with his thoughts.

I had planned to ask McCarthy about his future in the wake of Friday’s defeat but he walked off before I could even ask. In many ways, that sums it all up.

So now it turns to Stephen Dobbie to take charge of the final six games. He hasn’t got much time to turn things around but it surely can’t get any worse.

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I was dreading making the trip down to Luton on Monday but now I’m quite enthusiastic. Not because I think Blackpool are now going to stay up, but because the team might actually play with some intent and positivity.

Perhaps we shouldn’t expect too much from Dobbie, he’ll have precious time to make a real impact over the course of a weekend after all.

But I’ve enjoyed watching his development squad this season, so I expect there to be a clear plan in place and a structure where each individual player knows their role.

Ironically, Blackpool could actually do with Dobbie lacing up his boots given they’re without a recognised number nine at this moment in time.

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Looking further ahead, the club now faces a gargantuan few months off the pitch. The next appointment has to be the correct one, because three of the last four have turned sour and questions are beginning to be asked.

A new head coach is required, a new sporting director is required and the chances are at least half a new squad is required as well. A big summer awaits.