It’s little over a fortnight since the Seasiders won at Bristol City and the good ship Blackpool seemed to be riding the crest of a wave.
How quickly the tide can turn. Stay positive and stick together is the general rallying cry of our panellists, though they all agree that as bad weeks go the last one was down there with the worst ...
The sides who met on Saturday suffered disappointing defeats in midweek games. Only one ever looked like they wanted to bounce back from it. Unfortunately for the Blackpool fans who had travelled down to Peterborough, it wasn’t us.
We have had off-days during the season but Saturday seemed a little more ‘off’ than most. Against a notoriously weak defence, we offered very little up front, were harried and chased off the ball by their far more eager midfielders, and as for the defending ... just watch Peterborough’s goals on the highlights!
Pre-match expectations were heightened by Ollie reverting to what many supporters see as our strongest defence, but even they were left embarrassed by Peterborough’s stylish and continuous attacking play.
The first goal was plain daft – it should never have been a free- kick in the first place (Saturday’s referee has been blacklisted by me for being downright awful), but it was given. Ian Evatt obviously had no idea Tyrone Barnett was right behind him and the Posh striker was left with a simple header.
Three of the back four went AWOL for the second, leaving poor Baptiste to decide whether to cover the man with the ball or the runner in the middle, who was able to stroke the ball home easily. The fact that the third ended up going through Gilks’ legs summed the afternoon up. My man of the match choice probably played the fewest minutes of anyone I’ve ever picked, but at least he got the ball down and showed a willingness to run with it.
The discontent among the travelling fans regarding off-field issues seems to be rising but we cannot let this spoil our season. A play-off place is very much still for the taking but we must string some wins together very quickly.
Man of match: Nouha Dicko
IF Ian Holloway were to describe last week as the worst of his Blackpool career I wouldn’t blame him in the slightest. A lot of negative press, two awful defeats and performances, and just a general downbeat feeling around.
I didn’t make it to Derby, but I got the feeling we never capitalised on the early goal. The team that had performed so well against Hull for 70 minutes seemingly just couldn’t find that form again.
They had deserved the chance to remain unchanged, though. Against Peterborough, the general feeling was that this was more or less our strongest team but they just didn’t look like performing.
Peterborough wanted it more than us, and we just didn’t show up. It’s rare that happens under Holloway, but Taylor-Fletcher looked like the only player who was trying to make something, anything, happen.
It’s very easy to be critical after a bad week, and blame anyone and everyone from the chairman to the manager, the players and even the fans. In reality, sometimes it just happens. Inconsistency has been our biggest downfall all season, and you do wonder from one week to the next which Blackpool side will turn up.
The biggest frustration seems to be that things that work one wee just don’t the next. Why that is? I don’t have an answer. We’ve used a lot of different combinations of players in an effort to find the right balance. Like I said, easy to criticise. We need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and focus on the last ten games. Still a lot to play for, and we’ve got the quality. Perhaps now, we really just need some belief.
Man of match: Gary Taylor Fletcher
Over the past few weeks, our season has collapsed with the players seemingly distracted due to off-the-field matters.
Instead of signing players to help keep the club up last season or get them back up this season, or to redevelop the archaic training ground, the club paid a company owned by Owen Oyston £11m.
Karl Oyston told The Guardian’s David Conn that he didn’t want that money to go to Ferrari dealerships because he’s paying players too much. That’s funny, because I don’t want my hard-earned money to go into a rich man’s wallet rather than my football club!
“If the club needs [the money] for the next stage of development, which is to build a new training ground, I am sure my father will lend it to the club interest-free, as he always has over 25 years of ownership,” he added.
So the money the club earned through its success has been taken out of the club but will be ‘lent’ back if needed? How generous.
In all honesty, Oyston is free to do what he wants – it’s his business and fans need to understand that. But Oyston needs to understand that without fans his business will go bust.
I was also disappointed to see Ollie slate his own fans in The Independent on Sunday.
“If you as a fan don’t like the way our club is run, then don’t buy a ticket and don’t come,” he wrote. Ian, you sound like a puppet.
Man of match: Tom Ince
The last time Pool lost two on the spin they went to Elland Road and put five past Leeds United. With the current air of negativity off the pitch, a similar score against Brighton on Saturday would go some way to lift the gloom that’s descended on the club ever since the disappointing cup exit at the hands of Everton.
The frustration for many following the defeat at Peterborough is that everyone was pretty much in agreement that Holloway had selected the strongest side that Pool could put out at London Road. Yet those same players turned in one of the worst displays of the season.
There was some valid criticism in the formation adopted, with so many strikers it left the midfield exposed. What would clearly help, though, is for our defence to try to ensure they keep a clean sheet – something we haven’t done in the League for 11 games. Clean sheets don’t win you matches but they ensure you don’t lose any either.
What Pool need is to put these off-the-pitch issues to bed quickly, and with ten games left, a play-off position is still up for grabs.
It’s at this stage of the season we have to see a response from the players. They have to show they are up for the challenge as they have some difficult games ahead.
The fans themselves need to unite behind those players and the manager. Another promotion to the Premier League is still achievable.
Man of match: No-one
It’s been a bad week, on and off the field. The fallout from the publishing of the accounts has meant a negative spotlight from the national media, which can’t have helped the team’s frame of mind going into two big away games.
At Derby, we started brightly enough, scoring early but then failing to capitalise, and eventually succumbed to two set-pieces that were avoidable and then defended them badly.
That trait continued on Saturday, when we were never in the game. Without Gilks in fine form it could have been five or six.
Again, we conceded from a soft free-kick. Time and time again, we look like we have no idea with our own set-pieces and cannot deal with the opposition’s. That has to be a concern since the back four at Peterborough was arguably our best line-up. For whatever reason, we have lost our spark.
Despite all that, we are still in the promotion mix. I’ll take the view that it’s better to have a bad patch now than at the end of the season.
We need to rediscover the shape and style that saw us do so well so recently, hold our nerve and push on to the end of the season.
Fans have a huge part to play. There is a real sense of discontent over the dividend paid to Owen. Whatever happens, we cannot allow that to affect the team and manager, but give them maximum backing between now and the end of the season.
Man of match: Matt Gilks