Matt Williams column: Vital to check agent’s claim

Neal Bishop
Neal Bishop
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In his weekly Gazette column, the Seasiders secretary gives you the inside track on a busy week of meetings, planning and transfer developments at Bloomfield Road.


One of the first emails to land is from the people of Celebrity Soccer Six, they are keen to hold a Celebrity Soccer Six tournament on the second Bank Holiday in May and send through their draft contract for our consideration.

The contract is circulated to various departments in the club including the safety officer and commercial team and I ask for their feedback before replying to Soccer Six.

We are contacted by an agent claiming to act on behalf of an Inter Milan player. The agent claims the player is highly rated and that Inter would be willing to let the player train for a few days with a view to a long term loan deal in January.

Having asked our analyst to research the player on our Wyscout system, the footage shows the player is worthy of a closer look.

We tell the agent we would be delighted to invite the player to training and discuss travel arrangements, however, the cynical side of me takes over and I drop my counterpart an email and ask for confirmation that the player is available for training and would be available for loan in January. Their reply is that the player is under no circumstances available for training and would only be available for a huge loan fee!

The day draws to a close with a summons into a meeting with the manager and the chairman to discuss various terms in players contracts, the main topic of conversation is Neal Bishop and that the club would like to reward his fantastic contribution in the opening few months of the season.


Overnight the phrase Talk Dobbie To Me has become something of an internet sensation, apparently the social networking site was dominated on Monday evening with Pool supporters tweeting their support of the Scottish front man following his winner at the City Ground.

Radio Wave’s Ged Mills drops me a line to tell me he is in the process of writing a song Talk Dobbie To Me based on the lyrics and tune of the Jason Derulo hit Talk Dirty To Me.

Ticket requests begin to arrive for Saturday’s game and we receive a request from David Allison who is Head of the Referees for the Football League.

David and I used to meet regularly under Ian Holloway so we have become quite friendly, he is keen to come to the game not only to look at Iain Williamson’s performance but to discuss a suitable date to meet with Paul Ince and his coaching staff to discuss various incidents and enhance our understanding of the application of the laws.

During the evening, I receive an e-mail from a man in London offering the club the opportunity of purchasing a sheet of paper that has autographs from our players in the 1940s.

I forward the e mail to the chairman and to Derek Duckworth, who is responsible for the purchase and maintenance of the clubs memorabilia, as well as other Blackpool fans who may be interested.

Alex Rae is once again out watching a game, this time he is using his journey back up to Scotland to take in Carlisle’s game with Wolves. I am sure Alex won’t mind me telling you that both he and the manager are in the Hall of Fame at the Molineux!

Our quest to receive clearance for two of our younger players remains ongoing with the FA and FIFA appearing to not understand the urgency behind the clearance for the duo who so far this season have had to be content in playing midweek friendlies for the youth team.


Talk Dobbie To Me is released by Radio Wave and it’s impressively amusing, not to mention catchy!

Mid-morning, I receive an e-mail from the sister of the late Fusilier Sam Flint-Broughton who died in Afghanistan in April this year.

Sam was a part of the Scottish regiment and was born and bred in Blackpool.

His sister is requesting a signed shirt from the club for the barracks where her late brother was stationed.

She explains that in the main hall there is a wall full of signed framed football shirts and asks if we can supply her with a signed shirt so that Sam and his Blackpool roots can always be in the thoughts of people based there.

I forward the email to Lyn Spence who works in our Community Office to ask for their support in the shirt being signed and sent, and Lyn also arranges for the family to attend the game on Saturday and receive the shirt at half time.

The poppies for the players shirts arrive after lunch and kit man Steve Wales begins applying them ahead of the game. We confirm our plans involving wreaths for both captains to carry, the drummers, the bugler and the minutes silence with the match referee and Ipswich Town.


With the international break on the horizon my attention is turned to arranging the team hotels for the trips to Birmingham and Yeovil.

Birmingham is the easiest of the pair to book as it’s just a case of which hotel we use; we opt for the hotel used by Manchester City on their visits to the Midlands although I joke with the hotel that I hope our result is better than that of City’s at Aston Villa in September.

The Yeovil hotel on the other hand is slightly more difficult to book, the manager wants to train on the morning of the game and that means finding a suitable training venue with 20 minutes of the hotel.

The hotel, on request of the manager, has to have Sky Sports in the bedrooms, which rules out all the hotels in Taunton so my choices at present are Bristol or Exeter!

The chairman checks that I am free on Wednesday evening and I naively tell him that my diary is clear.

He then informs me he has already arranged for me to speak at a North Fylde Rotary event in Cleveleys! I have been allocated a 20 minute slot to talk about my 11 years working at BFC.

We confirm the arrangements with Sky again for the weekend for the manager to watch the game and he meets the local press to discuss the Ipswich game and his friendship with Mick McCarthy.

Late afternoon the FA inform us that Thomas Ince and Jack Robinson have been included in the Under 21 squad for the games with Finland and San Marino.


The match referee for the youth team’s game on Saturday is Andy Sykes who is also the Head of Content at The Gazette.

He takes a contact number for Ciaran Donnelly as he is concerned that there might be some doubt over the fixture given the heavy rain that is expected ahead of the game.

The Youth Team are buzzing as not only are they top of the Youth Alliance, but the FA Youth Cup draw has seen them drawn at home to Liverpool in a tie that will be played at Bloomfield Road. To gauge reaction and to carry out our “Ask Murphs” feature for the club’s official YouTube channel, Mark Ridgway and Dave Wilson from our media team head to Lytham to conduct some interviews and raise the profile of our youngsters.

Our scouts are given their assignments for the weekend, our next three opponents Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday and Yeovil are all covered whilst our other scouts take in games at Macclesfield, Hibernian and Stevenage.

Late afternoon I take a call from Tony Parr who offers to stand aside as the clubs’ PA man following an incident in his personal life.

Tony has followed the Pool all his life, I know his decision will have been a difficult one to make and I know from my conversation with the chairman it is a difficult decision for him to make as well in accepting his resignation.

With so much planned at the game on Saturday it is important that we have someone stand in for Tony who is not only experienced but also a Blackpool supporter, and so I contact Rod Allsworth who is the PA man at Fleetwood Town. Rod has no hesitations in helping the club and I know he speaks at length with Tony who is content that the mic will be in such capable hands.


Neal Bishop, who has agreed to sign a new contract early next week, picks up the October Wonga Player of the Month award, after the game he also collects the sponsors man of the match award.

The pre-match tributes involving the Armed Forces are well received, particularly Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy, who takes time out to thank those involved for their efforts.

On the field, everyone is disappointed to come away empty handed, particularly given the 90th minute equaliser.

Despite the result, Pool go into the international break fourth in the table.