For the past few weeks I’ve listened to every man and his dog have their say on Blackpool’s situation, voicing their opinions on the public row between Jose Riga
For the past few weeks I’ve listened to every man and his dog have their say on Blackpool’s situation, voicing their opinions on the public row between Jose Riga and Karl Oyston and the latest ugly episode in a horror show start to the season.
But here’s the thing: I don’t feel sorry for the manager, chairman or players.
While I sympathise with the crazy position Riga finds himself in and do feel he’s been handed a very raw deal, I don’t feel sorry for a man in a very privileged position earning what most people would consider a huge wage.
I don’t feel sorry for the players, who are lucky enough to be making a handsome living doing what just about everyone reading this would love to have had the chance to do ... and I certainly don’t feel sorry for the Oyston family.
The fans are a totally different matter.
The 1,400 who made the trip to Wigan on Saturday are the ones who deserve better, as are the 8,000 who ignored the summer shambles and bought season tickets.
It’s not cheap taking your family to an away game, and at the moment supporting Blackpool must be one of the most difficult jobs in football.
While we’ve all experienced some wonderful times in recent years, it’s becoming embarrassing supporting the club, sad as that is to say.
Growing up on the Fylde coast, I was laughed at in the classroom when I’d turn up on non-uniform day wearing tangerine.
A few years ago I’d have been seen as cool, but now the Seasiders have slipped back to being laughing stock and it is totally unacceptable.
This situation simply cannot got on and Oyston needs to get a grip on it for the sake of the loyal fans.
First, the chairman needs to decide whether he’s behind Riga or not.
At the moment, the club are stuck in a situation where the two most important people at the club don’t get on and the team is suffering badly.
There have been signs of improvement and encouragement in some games this season but on Saturday it could have been 4-0 at half-time. Pool simply couldn’t compete.
This isn’t like last season, when we always really knew we’d get out of the relegation mire, and it’s not like the previous season when we could rely on Tom Ince, Gary Taylor-Fletcher or Matt Phillips. Sadly, Pool no longer have that sort of quality.
That’s not to say there aren’t good players in the squad. Pool have what I’d call a decent bunch of players.
But a decent bunch don’t make a good team, and it’s those matchwinners and leaders that Pool are so desperately missing.
On Saturday, Riga once again did his best to patch together a team, once again suffering from injuries and unavailability.
He made two change to the side which lost at home to Brentford on Tuesday.
Jeffrey Rentmeister came into the starting 11 for his League debut, with Sergei Zenjov coming back into the attack.
Tomasz Cywka and Ishmael Miller dropped to the bench, while Gary MacKenzie was named as a substitute for the first time this season.
Andrea Orlandi and Jacob Mellis were injured, Jose Miguel Cubero is yet to get a work permit and Steven Davies was simply left out.
The first half was a major struggle for Pool, though it could have been so different had they taken the lead in the very first minute.
Tony McMahon whipped a free-kick in and Donervon Daniels shook off his man and looked to have a free header. However, the ball skimmed off the top of his head and drifted out for a goal kick.
From then on it was all Wigan. First Emmerson Boyce should have fired them ahead on 14 minutes, when he found space in the box but couldn’t keep his shot down.
Six minutes later they were at it again. James McArthur burst down the right and played a perfect pass into the path of Callum McManaman, who made a right mess of it.
The former Blackpool loanee could only scuff his effort wide, though the Scouser was causing havoc.
Blackpool were riding their luck and five minutes later came another major let-off.
McManaman again burst down the left, this time standing up a perfect cross into the path of Emyr Huws, who should have scored from five yards.
It was a very uncomfortable opening and on 35 minutes the deadlock was finally broken, when debutant Oriol Riera picked up the ball and fired low on the turn past Joe Lewis in goal.
The one shining light for Blackpool throughout was Daniels, who was outstanding at the heart of the defence.
And his goal-line block three minutes before the break kept Pool in it.
McManaman was again involved and it was his effort from a James Perch cross which Daniels did so well to clear. The youngster seemed to celebrate his tackle and so he should – it was as good as a goal for Pool.
Riga’s big gamble in his team selection was to play Rentmeister, normally a defender, in a defensive midfield role and the gamble failed miserably.
Even allowing for the fact he was out of position, the Belgian was poor and was rightly withdrawn at the break.
He was replaced by Miller, who instantly brought a much more attacking look to the Seasiders.
And after a shocker of an opening 45, Pool at least started to compete, with the introduction of Nile Ranger really helping.
Nathan Delfouneso fired well over before Blackpool’s best chance of the game arrived just beyond the hour-mark.
Miller did brilliantly to turn Emmerson Boyce down the right and his cross was met by Ranger, whose effort went just wide from four yards.
The strike pair totally changed Pool’s outlook, with Ranger showing real promise.
But still chances were few and far between against a Wigan side who you always thought had another gear if required.
There was a major shout for a Pool penalty in the dying seconds, though. Peter Clarke’s flick appeared to strike an arm but the referee waved claims away.
The closing moments also brought chants from Pool’s fans against the Oyston family. While some of the chants may overstep the mark, the fans can’t really be blamed for voicing their unrest.
This is a very, very tough spell for the club and it’s down to the chairman to decide on what happens next..
If he isn’t going to back this manager – and the transfer window closes a week today – he must opt for yet another one.
This is now Blackpool’s worst start to a season for 116 years. And you know the worst thing? I fear it may get much worse before it gets better.