Oyston: Appleton was always our first choice

Michael Appleton
Michael Appleton
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MICHAEL Appleton was Blackpool’s first choice to replace Ian Holloway, according to Karl Oyston.

The Pool chairman, along with club secretary Matt Williams, compiled a shortlist on Saturday night and made an immediate approach to Portsmouth over the weekend.

Permission to talk to Appleton was granted and the Pool pair met him on Sunday evening.

They were so impressed with the 36-year-old that he was offered the job on the spot, and Oyston told The Gazette he’s delighted to get his man.

“Michael’s the only person we’ve seen and we offered him the job there and then,” he said.

“He brings everything we need to take this club on a stage. He brings a definite fresh approach.

“Ian Holloway needed a new challenge and we also needed a fresh look. We do a lot of things very well here, but we do a lot of things very badly.

“We’ve been on a very, very bad run lately and we want to be looking up.”

It appeared Blackpool were all set to name Appleton as their new manager on Monday morning only for negotiations with Portsmouth over compensation to take longer than expected.

Pool were contacted by over 30 managers, some in work and some not.

They spoke seriously to five candidates, although Appleton was the only one formally interviewed.

Appleton is a much more level-headed character than his predecessor, and that’s exactly what Oyston was looking for.

He said: “We needed the sort of character Michael is. You can’t replace like for like – that would have been a big mistake.

“That’s no slight on Ian. We just needed a different approach and a different way of doing things.”

Much was made of Holloway’s rolling contract at Bloomfield Road, which effectively never expires.

Appleton has signed the same sort of deal and Oyston explained why.

“It means Michael’s got a year in front of him at any time.

“Ian’s signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at Palace and said he needed to feel under pressure.

“But I don’t think a four-and-a-half-year deal puts anyone under pressure, certainly not more than a one-year rolling one. I’m not sure contracts are important – it’s all about working relationships.

“You need the right working relationship for the club to prosper, so the contract is unimportant.

“As long as we are both happy with our aims, and the direction we want to take the club, then that’s all that matters.”

After weeks of speculation about Holloway’s future, his eventual exit on Saturday came as no real surprise. And his departure didn’t anger Oyston, who said: “It’s football and football is business. I don’t feel at all aggrieved with the way he left.

“I’ve always had a very good relationship with Ian, I told him about Palace’s interest as soon as we got the approach.

“We discussed the position and felt it was the right move for him.

“I’m pleased he’s gone to a good club and has a fresh challenge.

“I’m amazed he didn’t get a job in the Premier League. He’s more than good enough.

“He’s been touted around for months. It’s been silly season – every club in Lancashire seems to have lost their manager recently.

“The media sometimes are lazy and just randomly link things.

“Ian was slightly disappointed we didn’t have any approaches from some of the clubs he was linked with.

“We got the one approach and I think he thought he needed to grab that opportunity.”