Gary Taylor-Fletcher column: Blackpool memories triggered by England training ground altercation

The altercation between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez reminded me of one particular incident that happened during my time at Blackpool.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 11:45 am
Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez
Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez

This sort of thing happens quite a lot. You might be having a bad day and put a bit of a late tackle in on someone and then it all kicks off.

But it’s part and parcel of being in a squad. You get some players you don’t like or disagree with and, off the pitch, these things happen.

But when you’re on the pitch you’re all committed to doing what is best for the team and the club, so you put it to one side.

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In this case it was with the country when club rivalries got in the way, which didn’t help that the game between Liverpool and Man City was only on the Sunday.

It happens every day. I’ve seen people fighting and coaches fighting.

There was even a story where one of our managers at Blackpool came in one day to training, and I think he’d had a bad day with Karl Oyston, and he made a circle and said ‘if anyone wants to fight me, I’ll fight you now I’m that angry’.

These are all things that go on. It might not always be a personal thing, it might just be a case of other factors getting involved.

I personally think Gareth Southgate has handled it well. He knows we might not need Raheem for the game against Montenegro and has opted to give him a little rest, so he’s fresh for the next game.

I think Southgate has been good for England and he’s done good things with the team unity, which I think is one of the main factors in managing the national team. It bodes well for England’s future.

We’ve all seen the reports about the Liverpool and Manchester United players refusing to sit together when they were on international duty. There is going to be that rivalry.

There were a lot of players at Blackpool, not so much the team that got promoted, but in other years, that I didn’t get on with or didn’t like how they were in training.

Things might have been said in training or you might have put the odd late tackle in on someone because they’re not trying hard or something along those lines.

But when you’re out on that football pitch it’s all forgotten because you’re part of the team.

I’m sure all of those 18 members of the squad that we got promoted with, at one time or another during my six years at Blackpool, we’ve all had a falling out at some point.

You fall out for a day but then half an hour later you’re laughing and joking, taking the mick out of each other and sharing a bit of banter about what happened. That’s just how it is.

Back to matters at Bloomfield Road. Blackpool have picked up in recent weeks and have done well to win three games in a row.

The injured players have all come back and made a massive difference and it’s allowed Simon Grayson to put out a more attacking team to take the game to their opponents.

That’s benefited them massively over the last few games to get those consecutive wins.

Getting those wins should help get the fans back on board because there was a little bit of negativity among some disgruntled fans.

You don’t want that negativity to creep in so the form they have shown will have proved to the fans what this team can do.

You’d like to think another home game, their fourth in a row, against AFC Wimbledon this weekend is another winnable match.

They’ve got to keep the pressure on because you don’t want to ruin the momentum that has been built up.

The minimum you would take is a point but there’s a very good chance of getting the three points.

The Seasiders were handed another home game in the FA Cup, with National League South side Maidstone United being drawn against them in the second round.

Grayson will be delighted with another home draw and that should be a good chance to get into that third round and hopefully draw one of the big boys.