McDonald: I understand why Blackpool fans are staying away

Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald
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Neil McDonald says he understands why some fans have turned their back on Blackpool games – but the manager wants to keep out of their battle with the Oyston family.

While official attendance figures have been around the 7,000 mark for many home games this season, that total includes all season ticket holders whether they turn up or not.

Accurate attendances are kept quiet by the club, although The Gazette understands the true figure has at times been thousands below the one published.

Many fans are staying away as a protest against the issues which saw the club relegated from the Championship last season.

And manager McDonald is well aware of the situation. He said: “I understand why fans aren’t coming to games. I’m not silly enough to not realise.

“But those issues are between those (people) and the club. I’m the football manager and I’ve tried to keep out of that situation.

“It’s not up to me how those issues are resolved – it’s really up to them.

“All I can do is try to make the team win games. That has to be my only concern. All I can do is concentrate on the football.”

When McDonald replaced Lee Clark in the summer he inherited a real mess on and off the field.

Just six players were contracted to the club after a disastrous end to the previous season which saw the final game abandoned due to supporter protests.

But McDonald hopes he can help turn the club’s fortunes around ... on the field at least.

“We had a few records we walked into – not winning away; not winning a cup game for so long ...etc.” he said.

“Well, we’ve got rid of all of those things. It’s small steps and those are what we are about. We aren’t the finished article but we have a young team and a vibrant staff who want to be here.

“For the first time in a while that’s the case. I’ve been told a lot of players in the past didn’t want to be here but we now have a team pulling in the right direction for that tangerine shirt.

“They are trying very hard. They are trying their best.”

McDonald has been quick to highlight the age of his squad and the fact they were thrown together in such a short period at the start of the season.

And after ending a spell of seven defeats on the bounce with victory over Fleetwood last time out, the 50-year-old warned there will be more ups and downs.

He said: “There will be times we come unstuck and we were going through a patch like that before the Fleetwood game.

“We slipped back into a bad patch, like we had at the start of the season, and we need to bounce back again like we did last time.

“Hopefully there will have been more ups than downs come the end of the season.”