Category: Blackpool FC

Will Blackpool be able to stay in the League One?

According to Edward Carter (football prediction specialist at FootballPredictions.com) it has been six years since Blackpool played their last match in the Premier League. Nowadays the club’s main goal is to secure the League One survival and it remains to be seen if they are going to stay in the English third tier.

Thanks to a 3-1 win over Leyton Orient on the last day of the 2016/2017 season Blackpool booked their place in the League Two play-offs. The Seasiders proved their worth in the two-legged tie against Luton Town and Mark Cullen’s goal helped them beat Exeter City in the play-offs final at Wembley Stadium.

Blackpool have slim chances of securing promotion to the Championship and the team’s main goal is to secure the League One survival. Gary Bowyer is still in charge of the club and his men have been producing fine performances at the start of the 2017/2018 season. The Seasiders kicked off the new League One campaign with a 2-1 loss at Bradford City, but they recorded back-to-back wins over the likes of Milton Keynes Dons and Oldham Athletic in the first two home games of the season. It seems as if Blackpool are going to continue to struggle on the travels, but they showed character in a 3-3 draw with Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Gary Bowyer made a number of changes to the squad in the summer transfer window as they brought the likes of Nick Anderton, Max Clayton, Peter Hartley, Chirstoffer Mafoumbi, Scott Quigley, Jimmy Ryan, Curtis Tilt, Oliver Turnon and Ben Williams to Bloomfield Road, whilst Tom Aldred, Ian Black, Henry Cameron, John Herron, Luke Higham, Dean Lyness, Eddie Nolan, Jack Payne, Brad Potts, Jack Redshaw, Sam Slocombe and Macauley Wilson are no longer part of the team. Blackpool, on the other hand, did well to keep hold of attacking duo Kyle Vassell – Mark Cullen and they are likely to pose a big threat for opposition defenders in the 2017/2018 League One campaign. Colin Daniel, who quickly established himself as a first-team regular at Blackpool is once expected to play an important role in Gary Bowyer’s team.

It is well known that Blackpool are a real force to be reckoned with at home and they need to keep on collecting points from home fixtures if they are to retain their League One status and the team’s performances in the victories over MK Dons and Oldham City are certainly giving fans a reason for optimism. However, given the quality of Wigan, Blackburn, Charlton, Peterborough, Portsmouth and Bradford, I do not believe that Blackpool are capable of finishing the season in top six.

Taking everything into account, the Seasiders should mind their own business and they need to stick to their attack-minded approach as that is the main reason why football fans in England love them (well a few years ago!). Blackpool are not seen as candidates to secure promotion to the Championship, but they are definitely capable of staying in the English third tier. If you are looking for analysis on the English Premier League or Championship instead of the League One make sure to check out these Premier League predictions by Edward Carter.

Doncaster up next

This weekend Blackpool are back on the road and its a NAPM friendly match with tickets on sale on the day. Doncaster are unbeaten so far this season, a draw on the opening day to Gillingham away, a 2-3 win away at Bradford in the EFL cup and then their best result a 1-3 win away at Blackburn.

Donny finished 3rd last year in League 2, only 2 points behind winners Portsmouth and second place Plymouth. On the way to promotion we beat them twice in the league, first 4-2 at home (Potts brace, Vassell and Mellor) and then 0-1 away, a Jordan Flores penalty in the 90th (Doncaster were down to 10 men from the 52nd minute). Mark Cullen had missed in a pen earlier in the second half.

Between those two games we played in the EFL cup, a draw at Doncaster with then us progressing 7-8 on penalties.

With it still being early on in the season its still hard to predict the outcomes of games. Some think that MK Dons will be up there at the end of the season. It’s hard to predict what the result of this Saturday’s game will be, odds for the game this weekend have Doncaster favourites for the match but I can see this one being a tight one.

Looking at a selection of our new players Curtis Tilt looks like a solid player but still with a bit to learn, in the middle new captain Jimmy Ryan has been reliable in midfield who will keep things ticking over in the middle of the park and Sean Longstaff might have something about him with his first goal being the winner last week.

It’s actually a massive turnaround in the team from last season. From the team that played against MK Dons at the weekend, only four were here last season. The ones in bold.

  • R Allsop
  • C Robertson
  • N Wilmer-Anderton
  • C Tilt
  • O Turton
  • J Ryan
  • S Longstaff
  • V Solomon-Otabor
  • B Osavi-Samuel
  • C Daniel
  • M Cullen

One of the reasons why teams who are promoted often do well in the league above straightaway is keeping the momentum going from the previous season. Teams in the past had succeeded in back-to-back promotions from League Two and again from League One. Comparing the Doncaster team who easily beat Blackburn there was only two new starters in the 11.

  • I Lawlor
  • D Andrew
  • A Butler
  • N Mason
  • J Wright
  • T Rowe
  • B Whiteman
  • M Blair
  • J Coppinger
  • J Marquis
  • L Mandeville

One aspect in our favour is Doncaster had an awful finish to the season losing their last 4 games of the season, the main reason they didn’t end up finishing top. Where we won 5 of the last 7 games including the play-off matches.

Start to the season

It’s always going to be hard to get excited for the start of the season while everything off the field has been going on.

Strangely the building of the squad has gone well, not huge signings but for once bodies seemed to be made in a timely manner.

But then it all found down with Brad Potts leaving for Barnsley, Potts could be a great player but was so inconstant for us and when watching live he so often just went missing in games. However last season he did get 10 goals from midfield which will be a miss with no like for like replacement coming in.

On the pitch two 2-1 defeats so far – but against Bradford and Wigan who both should do well this season.

Next up is MK Dons who also lost to Wigan, 1-0 on the first day of the season. MK finished mid-table last season bank in the middle after being relegated from the Championship.

 

BLP v MK - Fixture History - Overall

BLP v MK - Fixture History at Blackpool BLP v MK - Pro Betting Guide BLP v MK - Recent Form - Home v Away

 

Stats from https://www.kickoff.co.uk

Six players Blackpool should sign this summer

Last season was a bitter-sweet for Blackpool. On the one hand, they won their first promotion since that glorious Wembley victory over Cardiff in 2010. On the other, there were around 35k fewer fans in London to see it. Many boycotted the best moment of the season in order to protest, understandably, against the Oyston regime. The spirit and camaraderie within the dressing room remained strong however – and these are six players who could improve the Seasiders’ squad ahead of the 17/18 League One campaign.

bfc-1

Scott Wharton

Gary Bowyer has spent 11 years of his career at Blackburn and would be foolish not to utilize his contacts at Ewood Park. If Charlie Mulgrew and Darragh Lenihan stay with Rovers, or if another defender joins, they may be open to loaning out the 19-year-old, who recently impressed at Cambridge. Wharton may be deemed to be too young by Tony Mowbray but at Blackpool – who are 6/4 for relegation with Bet Ways as of the 11th July – more grounded expectations present a little more room for error. Tom Aldred’s move to Bury means Pool may require a centre-back, especially if Bowyer plans to use three at the back.

Demetri Mitchell

The wing-back system gives Kelvin Mellor and Andy Taylor the freedom to focus more on the attacking side of their game, the duo providing use width last term. Taylor though is 31 and there may be scope for Pool to upgrade on Colin Daniel as competition in this area. Mitchell has progressed steadily through the ranks at Manchester United in more than one position, having an impressive debut at left-back against Crystal Palace. The Red Devils may at a push be willing to let him go out on loan to a nearby League One club, although if they expected the 20-year-old to start every week, that would complicate matters with Taylor named captain.

Neil Danns

Aldred started as captain in the play-off final, but when he went off injured, Neil Danns took on the baton with some aplomb. The Bury loanee battled superbly in the second half, imposing his physicality to ensure Exeter passed sideways and never broke into the final third. The Seasiders will have similar tactical ambitions in a lot of their games this season, particularly away from home and a return for the experienced Danns – who has often played at Championship level – would help their cause.

John Welsh

If a deal for Danns cannot be reached, then perhaps John Welsh would be a good contingency option. His defensive discipline was key to Preston North End’s promotion in 2015, particularly in the crucial play-off games. Blackpool need a holding midfielder with Jim McAlister their only option at present. While signing a player from the Lilywhites may not seem attractive, it’s worth pointing out that the likes of Tony Ellis and Brett Omerod made themselves cult heroes at Bloomfield Road.

George Moncur

Barnsley are reportedly interested in Brad Potts, who combined well with Mark Cullen for numerous goals in the play-offs according to Soccer Base. Should the Tykes show desperation to sign the 23-year-old, Bowyer may sense an opportunity. He could demand a player plus cash deal involving George Moncur, who is the same age and does a similar job to Potts but has arguably done it at a higher level, with a better goalscoring record to boot. The signings of McGeehan and courting of Potts may make Moncur feel uneasy about his position at Oakwell and Blackpool could take advantage.

Mark Bunn

mark-bunn

Reports suggest Aston Villa had shown interest in Bright Osayi-Samuel, who caught the eye with his impressive solo goal at Newport. While the inside forward did well last season, he only started 13 times and may not fit smoothly into a first eleven which will include two out-and-out strikers and an attack-minded midfielder. Pool could use the youngster as a bargaining tool for getting Mark Bunn. The goalkeeper has only started 15 league games out of a possible 84 at Villa and having possibly met Bowyer in his time at Blackpool, he may be willing to drop down a league to get regular games. This may be harsh on summer signing Ben Williams, but Myles Boney needs to prove himself lower down the pyramid before becoming second choice at this level.

The aforementioned sextet may be slightly ambitious, but Blackpool already have 28 senior professionals on their books, so any new signings must improve the quality of their first eleven.

NAMP at Blackpool FC drops attendances 103% year-on-year & average capacity to 20%

I posted back in January about the falling attendances at Blackpool FC as a direct result of the NAPM (Not a penny more) campaigns which is supported by many fans. With all home games completed this season we can calculate that attendances dropped 103% compared to last season and overall Bloomfield Road on average was at 20% capacity.

That original post was written after the match vs Yeovil when only 2,885 attended, one of the lowest in many years. Since then there was four games with a lower attendance;

  • Colchester 2,772
  • Stevenage 2,456
  • Barnet 2,094
  • Crawley 2,080

There was a few bumper crowds since then;

  • Hartlepool United 5,374
  • Grimsby Town 4,668
  • Accrington 4,300

The common theme between both, Southern Vs Northern teams.

The graph below shows that attendances at the end of the season did pick up, but didn’t keep increases as the season ended.

Click on the graph below to see in detail

blackpool fc attendances chart

As mentioned capacity is down to 20%, meaning in just a few season we’ve gone from 80%+ to 20%

Blackpool FC Season Capacity

Average for the season comes in at 3,474, which is a year on year decrease of 103% compared to 7,052 last year.

 

Blackpool FC Season Average Attendances

 

Season Average of Attendance
2009 to 2010 – Championship 8,744
2010 to 2011 – Premier League 15,780
2011 to 2012 – Championship 12,809
2012 to 2013 – Championship 13,917
2013 to 2014 – Championship 14,213
2014 to 2015 – Championship 10,928
2015 to 2016 – League One 7,052
2016 to 2017 – League Two 3,474

All very depressing to read. What will be interesting is to see what happens next year. Promotion and I think attendances will go up slightly.  Remaining in League Two, attendances will go down.

However what really seems to effect attendances is who we are playing, how many big teams, how many in the north Vs the south.

Once again data was from Wikipedia.

 

Blackpool Vs Luton Playoff First Leg

I should be in the pub near to Bloomfield Road.

I should be thinking about the result.

I should be looking forward to the atmosphere before the game.

I should be excited by the Sky cameras at the game

I should be thinking about a forthcoming Tuesday night play-off second leg

I should be having those same feeling and experiences of Hartlepool away or Forrest 

I should be looking forward to a visit o our national stadium

But I’m not. I’m in the car heading back to London. 

All due to one family…

Judgement Day 3

Due to poor planning on my behalf I’m in Croatia on holiday and not at Judgement Day 3.

Years ago holidays would be planned around the football fixtures, flights moved to Saturday night as we were playing Huddersfield at home. But as the problems have arisen​ at Bloomfield Road and life priorities change planning around the football fixtures has become less important.

Reading the tweets, article from BST and watching the videos on YouTube it does feel like I’m missing out this Judgement Day.

As ever the lead up to JD3 has been interesting with the possibility of a play-off place, the Leyton Orient situation and the farce of the ticket suspension.

It makes you laugh that the Oyston’s were worried about 1,700 away fans in a stadium that holds over 10,000. What would happen if the thousands of Blackpool fans who abstain from attending matches all came back at once? Would they be able to handle the influx?

Also this week there was a ridiculous statement from the English Football League about events last week at Leyton Orient when fans forced the game to be temporary abandoned.

”   needing to take the players off the field. We cannot sit back and allow this to happen and have the credibility of our competition, which is envied the world over, questioned. …””

“The credibility of the competition”.. Everyone is questioning their credibility over the lack of intervention or to place pressure on the FA or government over the the situations at Orient, Coventry, Charlton, Blackpool……

Where will the credibility of the league be when in a few years time many of the founding clubs are out of business or being replaced by fans owned clubs.

They also finished the statement with;

“Is likely that we will break the ’18 million fans through turnstiles’ barrier this weekend for the first time since 1960”

That target would have passed earlier this season if the forementioned clubs were not in crisis. I also wonder how many of the 18 million are freebies and made up fans the Oyston’s propaganda machine pump out?

I know the EPL have little power, however they need to start to change that with the view to the longterm health of their own competition. 

What next? If we get into the play-offs it will mean live coverage of the two matches on Sky Sports TV so a chance to get our voices heard again and protest. 

For the final with revenue from ticket sales going to the Oystons it would be an embarrassment to see maybe 4 to 6 thousands attending considering​ the turn out at Wembley for the last two play-off final visits. 

If the team fail today it might be another summer break with wholesale changes to the squad with many players out of contract. Maybe starting next season with a tiny squad.

As for off the field, the upcoming second court case with Belokon will be interesting. But I’ve got a feeling there will be Judgement Day 4 whatever division we reside in next season.

5 BFC players who have lit up the recent dark years at Blackpool

It has been a sorry tale for Blackpool since the heady days of the Premier League, with multiple relegations seeing the club languishing in League Two.

Managers have come and gone, with current incumbent Gary Bowyer the Seasiders’ eighth boss in three-and-a-half years when he took the reins in 2016.

Currently one place outside the League Two play-off zone, it remains to be seen if they can make the post-season, there are of decent odds available from online bookmakers if you want to place money on their chances if you fancy their chances of making the playoff games.

There have been the odd bright spots to dwell on, with a few players who have given the fans cause for hope during what has been a dreadful spell for the Lancashire outfit.
Brett Ormerod may have done his best work in a tangerine shirt during his first spell at the club between 1997 and 2001, but his return following relegation from the top flight was a boost.

Never giving of less than 100 per cent, the forward bagged 15 goals during his second stint and became the first man to have played for the club in all four divisions.

Having scored the winning goal in the 2010 Championship play-off final to send Blackpool into the Premier League, the 40-year-old will always be part of the club’s history.
Tom Ince enjoyed a couple of solid seasons at Bloomfield Road and was rewarded with a call-up to the England Under-21 side.

A return of 31 league goals from 100 outings is commendable for a midfielder and, such was his prowess at the time, several top clubs, including Inter Milan, were keen.

His father’s exit as manager meant the writing was on the wall for Ince and, following a spell on loan at Crystal Place, he left for Hull City in the summer of 2014.

The Stockport-born schemer was real a talent and one that Blackpool could have built their midfield around had they remained in the Championship or above.

Striker Kevin Phillips might have spent the majority of his playing career in the Premier League but he enjoyed a couple of years with the Tangerines and scored 16 goals from 38 appearances during the 2011-12 march to the Championship play-offs.

Blackpool’s bid for an immediate return to the promised land was ultimately unsuccessful but the former Sunderland hit-man was still a class apart despite being in the latter stage of his career.

Had he been able to guide the club back to the top flight, things might not have taken a turn for the worse over the past five years.

Charlie Adam was part of the side that went down from the Premier League in 2011 but he was not the reason as the Scot was arguably Blackpool’s best player during that campaign.

The 31-year-old has since gone on to play for Liverpool and Stoke City but his return of 28 league goals from 78 appearances while at Blackpool proved how vital he was to the cause.

The Dundee-born midfield has not been part of the demise over the past few years and, had he stayed, he may have been the glue to hold things together.

Finally goalkeeper Matt Gilks was given the thankless task of trying to prevent an avalanche of goals and his displays between the Blackpool posts earned him three Scotland caps.

The 34-year-old left in 2014 but was virtually ever-present between 2011 and 2014 and, with the side on the wane during those years, it will not have been easy.

But he performed admirably and his saves kept Blackpool in many games they might have lost during his three seasons.

Blackpool FC falling attendances

Blackpool’s last match vs Yeovil saw only 2,885 attend, it’s the lowest attendance for a home match in some time. We all know that numbers have dwindled following all that has happened at the club and the #NAPM stance many, including myself, are following.

I decided to look into the past 8 season of attendances at Bloomfield Road.

  • Highest average of 15,780 in 2010-11 in the Premier League season
  • Average this season is 3,461
  • 104% reduction in average from last season
  • Attendances went up in our second and then third season back in the Championship

Click below to see in more detail

Blackpool FC Falling Attendances

 

Below looks at the averages per season, green is a promotion, black no change and red a season with a relegation. It’s amazing to see how attendances remained so high even after the relegation from the Premier League – what a platform to build from.

season-averages

Capacity wise this season is just about 20%.

table-capacity

As mentioned the Yeovil game attendance was 2,885, the highest in the past 8 seasons was 16,116 Vs Manchester City

biggest-vs-lowest

 

  • All the data comes from Wikipedia season pages https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010%E2%80%9311_Blackpool_F.C._season
  • I’ve not included the abandoned game against Huddersfield in the 2014-15 season
  • There are no exact records around capacity in the 2009-2010 season. The last figure was 9,650 and then the South stand was opened for the Crystal Palace match on 20-05-10 – where the capacity I think increased to 12,025 – however the attendance vs Bristol on the last league game was 12,296

It will be interesting to see these numbers at the end of the season.

Can Blackpool make a play-off push?

Where there is a long-running dispute between a club’s ownership and its fans on-field, success is normally hard to come by. As with any organisation, sporting or otherwise, a breakdown in this relationship (for companies swap fans for shareholders) makes for a messy situation, not the bedrock for a rosy future.

Unfortunately, there are many examples of this in football right now as Hull City know only too well. Their team are stuck at the wrong end of the Premier League table and have recently dispensed with the services of a good football man in Mike Phelan.

Allam Out

Photo by dom fellowes

In the Championship, unrest between the board and the fans has been rumbling for years at clubs such as Coventry City and Nottingham Forest, while in League Two the Tangerine Dream has turned into a nightmare for Blackpool F.C.

While Hull City fans won’t rest until they get shot of Assem Allam, Blackpool chairman, Karl Oyston, has been the target of abuse following the club’s fall from grace after demotion from the Premier League a few short years ago.

The supporters have stayed away in droves – a club record lowest-ever attendance of just 766 fans turned up to see their side bow out of the Checkatrade Trophy against Wycombe the other night – and playing at home has become a handicap not a help.

A run of three home games in the space of just eight days clearly places pressure on the purse strings of fans; however, the mistrust and antipathy towards Oyston and his cohorts is the biggest factor behind so many stayaways.

Stuck in mid-table and without a win since they beat Hartlepool, a run stretching to five matches, Blackpool need all the encouragement they can get if they are to somehow turn the situation around and make a late push for the play-offs.

That said, Gary Bowyer’s side are only five points off the play-off zone in League Two and have a game in hand on seventh-placed Colchester. Also, their goal difference of +11 is better than those teams immediately above them.

After Tuesday’s F.A. Cup 3rd round replay, Blackpool take on Yeovil at home and then follow in the footsteps of Liverpool and make the long trek down to Plymouth, a game likely to be hotly contested by tipsters such as SBAT. Argyle sit second in the league and have their tails up after holding Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the cup, so getting anything there might be a tough ask, which makes bagging all three points against Yeovil, who are four places and four points below them in the table, all the more vital.

Win that game and the next two at home, against Colchester and Crawley, and Blackpool fans might start believing that bad things can sometimes turn to good. First, they’ll have to mend their goal-shy ways, a problem that has bedevilled quite a few managers who’ve passed through the Bloomfield Road revolving door in recent years.

Only once have Blackpool scored more than one goal in a game (2-0 away to Luton) in the last 10 games, in league and cup, producing a paltry return of six goals. With that sort of fare on offer, no wonder the fans are reluctant to turn up. After all, there is plenty more excitement to be had elsewhere in Blackpool, where the phrase ‘being taken for a ride’ has a much more positive connotation.