OPINION: Blackpool’s potential Arsenal tie only reinforces rifts

Blackpool will meet Arsenal again should they beat Solihull Moors
Blackpool will meet Arsenal again should they beat Solihull Moors

My initial response to Monday night’s FA Cup third round draw was ‘oh, Arsenal again!’

But it soon turned to one of sadness.

Sadness that this is the sort of rousing cup clash that should unite a fanbase, bring a community together and see some welcome cash flood into the club.

Sadness that this should be about a game of football and not the bloody, never-ending battle supporters are having to wage off the pitch.

Sadness that Owen Oyston will get a nice little payday. One that won’t go anywhere near covering the £25m debt he owes, but a payday nonetheless.

Sadness that the players, performing so admirably this season against all of the odds, might find themselves playing second fiddle to the bedlam and disarray surrounding them in the lead-up to the game.

As it is, this fixture will only serve to highlight the desperate chasm between the club’s despised hierarchy and its fractured fanbase.

In ‘normal’ circumstances, this would be a sellout. There would be a sea of tangerine, each and every Pool fan praying the players could cause an unlikely upset against the almighty Arsenal.

Oyston should be long gone but he’s depriving thousands of fans the opportunity of seeing their beloved team take on one of the country’s greats – on their own turf too.

As it is, there’s a good chance many casual onlookers will venture out for this one. I’m sure others will be tempted back too. But will it be a sellout? I’m not so sure.

Of course this could always present the boycotters and those of a ‘Not A Penny More’ persuasion with the opportunity to get their message across to a wider audience. Especially as there’s a very good chance the game will be televised.

Of course, this could all prove irrelevant if Blackpool don’t make it past Solihull Moors first...