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

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  • 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.

Can Bowyer Lead Blackpool Back to League One?

Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, Lancashire.

“Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, Lancashire.” (CC BY 2.0) by Matthew Wilkinson

Blackpool are on the right course to regain their place back in the third tier of English football, despite their off-the-field problems. Supporters are still demanding the removal of chairman Karl Oyston due to his perceived mismanagement of the club following their fall from grace over the past five years, including back-to-back relegations into League Two.

Player sales and poor managerial appointments started the slide, but the club appear to at least be on their way to solving their problems under the tenure of Gary Bowyer, who has begun to steady the ship. The Tangerines have been solid in their campaign thus far, but a strong run in the second half of the season could see them challenge for a place in the playoffs.

Bowyer’s men are currently five points off the pace of seventh-place Barnet, although they do have a game in hand on some of their rivals battling for the four spots. As a result, Blackpool are backed in the latest football betting odds at 9/2 to earn promotion back to League One.

The Tangerines have been one of the most inconsistent sides in the division this term, although they have managed to stave off poor runs of form that can often run sides down the table – as fans are well aware of given their struggles in recent seasons.

Bowyer has managed to establish some semblance of a solid outfit and since the beginning of November, the club have enjoyed more wins than losses or draws, suggesting that the manager might well have cracked on to a successful formula.

Defensively Blackpool have been strong at the back throughout the campaign, conceding just 25 goals in their 24 matches. Clark Robertson, Kelvin Mellor, Tom Aldred and Andy Taylor have formed a resilient unit, which has kept seven clean sheets in League Two and notched another in an impressive display in their FA Cup tie against Championship outfit Barnsley.

Should they raise the level of their performance towards the end of the season they can be the foundation on which the Tangerines can launch a push for the playoffs.

Bloomfield Road, Blackpool

“Bloomfield Road, Blackpool” (CC BY 2.0) by yellow book

At the other end of the pitch, Bowyer’s side are in the middle of the pack with 36 strikes to their name this term. Kyle Vassell has led the way with nine strikes, but the club must find a way to alleviate the pressure on him. The 23-year-old has failed to find the net in his last six contests, including the Tangerines’ 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mansfield at Bloomfield Road.

Jamille Matt and Armand Gnanduillet will need to rise to the occasion as they have scored just five goals between them, although Brad Potts has displayed a propensity to push forward from midfield to chip in with six strikes. Blackpool will need a surge of goals in the second half of the season and Bowyer will have to ensure that the burden does not all fall on Vassell.

After years of disappointment, the shoots of recovery might now be in progress on the pitch at least. However, Bowyer and his men must maintain the standards they’ve set in the first half of the season and improve in all areas to drive back into the third tier.

Another year and its still the same

As we hurtle towards the end of the year its seems little has changed in the past 12 months at Blackpool F.C.

Around the start of this year when it was obvious that relegation from League One was on the cards thoughts turned to how we would do this season. At the time and then again before Gary Bowyer became manager I was pretty certain that we would be relegated from the Football lLague this season.

We now sit 8th on 30 points in League Two. Bowyer has somehow stopped the rot on the pitch. 8th position on paper looks ok, only 9 points from the relegation zone. I wrote for Betfair this week on our performance so far this season – its pretty different to the rest of the teams in the league.

Looking at the bigger picture (literally below) its interesting to see the downfall with league placement. Our fall from the Premier League being the opposite trajectory to the rise – just a bit quicker this time.

Blackpool fc league position over time

The only other instance of such decline came in the late 70’s early 80’s, but then the drop started from the second division (Tier 2 above) and was over a 7 / 8 year period.

Any Christmas cheer?

A little from this message on the Blackpool Supports Trust facebook page.

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Leyton Orient 1 – 2 Blackpool FT

It’s the first time I’ve seen Blackpool win in just over a year (they have only won 14 times since then) but the real story again today was the protest with the Blackpool and Leyton Orient Fans.

loft and bsa protestwp-image-1252997156jpg.jpg

It was good to see both set of supporters understanding each other problems and willing to support each other, something that I think we are going to see more of considering the number of clubs with problems.

As for the game Leyton Orient had only won once at home in the league this season and you could tell by their lack of confidence. There wasn’t too much between the two in the first half but it Pool who took the lead with Matt firing into the roof of the net.

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Orient hit the post, had one disallowed for offside. In the second half they didn’t really press and it was easy for Aldred to grab the second from a header.

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The last 5 mins ended up with us hanging on when McCallum made it 1-2 with an impressive header. 

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Leyton Orient 0 – 1 Blackpool HT

An eventful day so far that started with a joint protest with Leyton Orient fans and Blackpool fans marching down the road from the pub to the stadium.

Fans ended up in a park next to the stadium where speeches from LOFT and BSA took place.

Orient are on a run of 7 home defeats and it was clear they lacked confidence.

There hasn’t been much in it but was far too easy for Matt who latched on to a ball down the channel, cut into the box and finished into the roof of the net to make it one nil to the Seasiders.

Straight from the kickoff the hosts hit the post and had the ball in the back of the net but was ruled out for offside.

All to play for in the second half.

5 Post Euro 2016 Transfers to Capture the Imagination

With the curtain now closed on 2015-16’s league campaign, save for those lucky enough to remain in the play-offs, attention now turns to Euro 2016 and the light relief that comes with a major tournament.

The action on the pitch will also spawn a host of rumours linking players with a move as their exploits inflate their transfer fees. Here are just five players who could be switching to a new club after the final on July 10.

Joe Hart

Former Seasider Hart is England’s number one keeper and the first name on the Manchester City team sheet so why would he be looking for a new challenge ahead of the 2016-17 campaign? The simple answer is the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager and the host of transfer rumours that are trailing alongside.

Those rumours include talk of a bid for Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Barcelona’s first choice stopper in terms of Champions League Football but a man who has only featured in seven La Liga matches for the Catalan giants. At 24, the former Borussia Monchengladbach keeper needs regular football if he is to be seen as the natural successor to Manuel Neuer and the links with City won’t go away.

If Hart is surplus to requirements, there will be no shortage of interested parties with Liverpool seemingly in most need of a world class stopper to advance their aspirations.

Robert Lewandowksi

Liverpool feature again in the second story as the leading scorer in Euro 2016 qualification continues to be touted around Europe. The link with Anfield is an obvious one when you consider that Lewandowski spent many years under Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund but would he really move unless the Merseysiders win the Europa League and get into the Champions League via the back door?

Present club Bayern can offer all the money and trophies that he desires but if Robert Lewandowski is seeking that new challenge, a stint with Manchester City or possibly Chelsea is more likely.

Gylfi Sigurdsson

After the most incredible Premier League season ever, it will be fascinating to watch Leicester City’s transfer dealings this summer. Claudio Ranieri’s first job is to keep hold of their most vital players – Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez included – but surely the Foxes will look for a new draft to consolidate for 2016-17?

One man being widely touted for a possible move is Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson who will be looking to cause an upset with Iceland this summer. Midfielder Sigurdsson is a threat from set pieces and has a good goal scoring record at both club and international level as Swans Chairman Huw Jenkins is said to be preparing himself for a number of bids.

Isco

One man who seems certain to leave this summer is Real Madrid’s Isco who, despite being an important member of Spain’s qualifying programme, finds himself some way down the pecking order at the Bernabeu.

The club most likely to move are Chelsea who will doubtless back new manager Antonio Conte with a hefty war chest and at 24, Isco is heading to the point in his career when regular game time becomes paramount.

Seamus Coleman

Another former Tangerine to watch at the Euros is Seamus Coleman who was widely linked with a move away from Everton after seven years at the Merseyside club. It’s been a frustrating season due to injury but the 27 year old, who was tipped to be approached by PSG and Chelsea in January, could be a confirmed target for an EPL side after Everton’s poor campaign resulted in the removal of manager Roberto Martinez.

Relegation day

A second relegation in as many years is on the cards, we’ve just gone 1-0 up at Peterborough and Fleetwood are winning 2-0 against Crewe.

Even if it did happen, it’s delaying the inevitable for another season. For more than half the season we’ve been in the bottom 4.

table

Last weekend it was good to join in Judgement Day 2, it was amazing to see the sheer numbers of people out in force. Next season it’s going to be even more visible with attendance figure below two or three thousands in the ground and will be interesting to see when the last years accounts do come in – https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/01970661

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