Will Watt: Don’t turn on McDonald yet, but he must stand-up to Oyston

Blackpool's manager Neil McDonald
Blackpool's manager Neil McDonald
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“No matter what is said outside, Blackpool is a great club.” Those were the words tweeted by former loan man Kwame Thomas last week, after Derby recalled him five weeks early from his loan at Bloomfield Road.

Positive words from the players have become the norm this season, with some being heavily criticised by supporters for coming out and backing the club.

A month or so ago, I wrote a piece with Colin Doyle in which he praised the set-up, calling it “excellent”, then was bombarded by fans on Twitter unhappy with his words.

But we shouldn’t be. From the players’ point of view, the situation probably isn’t that bad.

I suppose it’s all about levels. Over the last 30 years, Pool have spent most of their time in the lower leagues. The recent flirtation with the big time changed and raised everyone’s expectation.

And rightly so – when you have tasted the world’s best Champagne, the last thing you want is be poured a glass of Asti. It leaves a sour taste.

But for the majority of Pool’s current squad, the Bloomfield Road stadium and a club in League One are maybe things to be proud of.

For the likes of David Ferguson, Tom Aldred, Brad Potts, Mark Cullen, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Jack Redshaw, playing in a nice stadium for a reasonably big club at this level is something to be proud of.

I’d never criticise those lads for believing that.

One thing which can’t be questioned is that the players are giving their all, working hard and trying to improve themselves and the team.

For that reason, they should be left out of the blame game.

And I suppose the same could be said for Neil McDonald.

I’m not sure anyone can question that he’s working his socks off and giving everything he can.

The big question is whether or not his best is good enough, but they do say a tradesman is only as good as his tools.

Everyone knew, McDonald included, from the opening day of the season that Pool needed more quality, more players and more support.

In typical Blackpool fashion, it hasn’t arrived.

While the players mentioned above – Aldred, Potts, Cullen, Redshaw and their like – are actually decent professionals, they need support.

Blackpool are currently struggling towards the bottom of the table because their squad isn’t as good as most of those in League One, simple as that.

It’s an old saying but the table really doesn’t lie.

So my message to Blackpool FC is to give your manager a chance, give him a competitive squad and a budget which will allow him to at least start on a level playing field.

If he fails, then McDonald will have questions to answer.

Until then, I for one won’t be turning on the boss about on-field displays, although his off-the-field performance has done little to impress.

I may sound like a broken record but his handling of the media and his insistence on “doing what he’s told by Karl Oyston” aren’t the actions of a strong leader.

Do you think for a second Sir Alex Ferguson was told what to do by his board? He did, at all times, what was best for his players.

McDonald’s handling of the media and PR this season have created a needless battle which he can quickly bring to an end.

He also must now stand-up and demand a squad which is truely competitive, with real quality and strength in depth. If he isn’t getting his targets he needs to know why.

So when it comes to both transfers and media duties, I’d like to see McDonald show who is boss.

It’s time he stood up for himself and his squad, I wouldn’t like to see his name added to the list of manager’s in recent years who haven’t.

Only time will tell.