Southport chairman provides fascinating insight into Blackpool’s new signing

The chairman of Southport has provided a fascinating insight into how Doug Tharme’s move to Blackpool came about.

By Matt Scrafton
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 12:04 pm

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The Seasiders weren't the only club interested in the centre-back, with Barnsley, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic all previously linked.

However it is Neil Critchley's side who have acquired Tharme's services for an undisclosed fee, with the defender agreeing a two-and-a-half year deal.But the 22-year-old will remain with Liam Watson’s side for the remainder of the season, which was an integral part of the deal for the non-league outfit.

The Sangrounders are currently sixth in the National League North table and pushing to finish in the play-offs and felt it was vital to keep Tharme at Haig Avenue for the remainder of the season.

Discussing the defender’s move to Bloomfield Road, Southport chairman Ian Kyle said: “It’s a move that’s been coming because there’s been a lot of interest in Doug over the last couple of months.

“Everyone can see the quality Doug has and he fits the criteria of a player that would move very quickly up the ranks.

“He’s very switched on, everyone can see the attributes he has in terms of being an attacking weapon as well as defensively. He was always going to be on the radar for clubs higher up the pyramid.

Tharme will remain at Haig Avenue for the rest of the season

“Liam and I had to balance that because he is such an effective player for ourselves and he’s a really important member of the squad. He’s a very popular player in the dressing room, he’s very popular with the fans, so we had to get the balance right.

“Liam and I had to make sure it was right for Southport and we decided we would encourage interest, especially from clubs who would be prepared to loan Doug back to us for the rest of the season.

“In light of where we are at present and in light of us pushing to stay in the play-offs and hopefully push on, Doug was not a player we wanted to lose.

“Doug has obviously got time on his side. There were a lot of clubs looking at him but he’s young and he’s got other priorities as well, he’s in his last year of his university degree so he’s balancing quite a few things, so it had to be the right move.

“We spent a lot of time talking to Blackpool and Liam has spent a lot of time with their CEO Ben Mansford. John Stephenson (head of football operations) was down at our game on Saturday as well.

“They’ve had a good look at Doug and we’ve come up with a deal that suits all parties and we get the benefit of Doug for the rest of the season when we’re pushing for the play-offs and beyond.

“Doug gets his move to a Championship club, which is not to be sniffed at for anyone.”

Born in Birkenhead, Tharme has made 29 appearances to date for Southport, scoring two goals and claiming four assists.

A commanding 6ft 4ins defender, Tharme has previously played for the likes of Telford, Curzon Ashton, Radcliffe Borough and Welsh sides Wrexham and Connah's Quay.

Kyle added: “Liam and I have said from the start we want to build a squad that is young, athletic and is able to stay together and continue with the club as and when we get promoted.

“The amount of scouts at each game shows we’re going in the right direction and the performances and where we are in the league shows we’re heading in the right direction.

“It’s a big hats off to Liam and the scouting team to spot these players and bring them in and then it’s Liam’s job to knit that all together, which he’s obviously doing really well.

“But a big part of that is that these players are happy to come to us because they’re confident in our ability to get them a move up the pyramid.

“It’s a complete balancing act though. We’ve got to make sure it’s the right deal for the club and this one for Doug is perfect for him and it’s perfect for the club.

“We made it clear from day one to anyone that was interested that a) we weren’t going to let Doug go lightly and b) if there was the ability to loan him back then we would do everything we could from our end to push Doug in that direction.

“It just so happened Blackpool were the ones that came in with an offer and they were the ones that listened to us and were prepared to make it happen.”

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