Pool soap opera continues as Riga takes training

Jose Riga
Jose Riga
Share this article
Have your say

Blackpool’s bizarre soap opera continued today as confusion surrounded the future of manager Jose Riga.

Riga looked set to leave the club over the weekend and be replaced by Owen Coyle but as yet no deal has been done.

Former Burnley, Bolton and Wigan boss Coyle could still arrive at Bloomfield Road in the next 24 hours although even that deal is now looking less likely, yet current Pool manager Riga appeared totally unaware of developments as he returned to Blackpool at the weekend after a week back home in Belgium with his family.

Should a deal not happen for Coyle, Oyston would approach Burton boss Gary Rowett or former Leeds man Brian McDermott.

After Riga’s potential departure was revealed in Saturday’s Gazette, his exit was announced on national TV and prompted his agent Chris Nathaniel to respond on Twitter.

While he didn’t directly refer to Blackpool, Nathaniel tweeted: “Can you imagine the feeling when the BBC announce a news story about your client and you and your client know nothing about it! #noclass.”

Riga returned to Bloomfield Road on Saturday and was pictured outside the ground, where he spent almost an hour on his phone.

Riga could even take training today despite all the doubts over his future, though he would do so without assistant Bart De Roover, who walked out last week claiming not to have been paid for over two months’ work for the club.

Fans have reacted angrily to the latest episode, with the Blackpool Supporters Association describing the club, not for the first time, as “a shambles”.

BSA chairman Glenn Bowley said: “The mounting speculation over the manager’s position following the debacle of transfer deadline day just adds to the shambles that is Blackpool FC.

“The issues need addressing and sorting as soon as possible. The club should also bring back Matt Williams (their former secretary, now with Shrewsbury Town). He was well respected and could address many of the issues we face.”

The Blackpool Supporters Trust released a statement calling for an explanation from the club.

It reads: “We’d like the club to tell the fans what on earth is going on. Let’s have some transparency please.

“We shelled out hard-earned cash to support what was billed as a progressive change in direction.

“It would appear that the chairman and directors were not willing to demonstrate a similar commitment.

“They promised real change for the better but the situation continues to worsen.”

Pool’s players return to training today after a long weekend off due to the international break.

They return to action at Bloomfield Road against Wolves on Saturday, rooted to the bottom of the Championship after losing all their six games this season.