Michael Appleton on 'frustrating' Blackpool spell and his difficult relationship with Karl Oyston

Former Blackpool manager Michael Appleton has lifted the lid on his "frustrating" 67-day spell in charge at Bloomfield Road.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 11:17 am
Michael Appleton pictured on his return to Bloomfield Road with new club Lincoln City
Michael Appleton pictured on his return to Bloomfield Road with new club Lincoln City

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In a revealing interview with The Times, Appleton - who is now in charge of Lincoln City - reveals the difficult conditions he was forced to work under during his short stint.

He also speaks candidly about his frustration with former chairman Karl Oyston, who the 43-year-old describes as "challenging beyond belief".

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“I took a massive risk going to Blackpool, contractually, which really exposed me, as it was next to no pay-off,” he said.

“There were lots of frustrations. The training ground pitches weren’t great. There would be buckets all over the so-called canteen dealing with leaks.

“We’d be having a press conference in my office on the Thursday, in a room which is pretty cold, so I’ve got a heater on the table, trying to keep us warm, but then the lights are going and it’s dark.

"The kitman said, ‘It’s one or the other, the generator can’t cope with either heat or lights’. So I said to the press, ‘We’re just going to have to do this in the dark, because we’re not going to do it in the cold.’

“I found Karl challenging beyond belief, very challenging. If I wanted a player, he was hard to get hold of.

"I’d have a list of players I’d want to bring in and, at best, I might get the two at the end of the list, numbers nine and 10, but even getting that over the line was difficult."

Appleton remained in the job for just 65 days, eventually making the move to Blackburn Rovers after handing in his resignation.

“Because of the risk I put myself under financially, when I was approached, Blackburn was almost a no-brainer," he added.

“Henning Berg had lasted 57 days. I’m thinking, ‘Surely they can’t do that again?’ But it was a bit of a mess.

"I was there two months, never met Shebby Singh, yet I turn up one day to find an envelope on my desk, just saying my that my services are no longer required due to poor results. It was a shock.

"We were still in a healthy position in the league [18th, four points clear of the relegation zone], which was the remit. I was starting to reduce the wage bill. We had 18 players out injured.”

Appleton, who came through the academy and began his career with Manchester United, then recalls how we was hauled into their training ground for a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson.

“He gave me a rollicking for 10 minutes, and rightly so, because what I didn’t do before taking the Blackpool and Blackburn jobs was do my due diligence," Appleton said.

"The boss said, ‘You’ve experienced more in 18 months than some managers will in 25 years.’

"I was a young coach, with bags of confidence in my own ability and thought I could take on the world. It was a lesson I needed to learn."