Often Partisan

Contrasting Pre Seasons

It’s less than a fortnight until the new season and Blackpool FC are still to add to the lowly eight contracted players that constitute their first team squad. With management and board in a stand-off and the manager having banned anyone from talking to the press no one who supports the Seasiders know when this nightmare is going to end.

I’ve written about Blackpool before in this pre-season as it’s a good illustration of just how badly a club can go wrong. I’m revisiting their story though because of the open letter Blackpool President Valeri Belokon wrote to the controlling Oyston family and because I think there are a few points relevant to the way people feel about Blues.

Belokon wrote an open letter to the Oyston family on Thursday decrying their management of the club’s finances and begging them to invest the final parachute payment they have due to them this season in the club and the training ground. People have moaned about how much Peter Pannu has paid himself (wages from BIH/BCFC of around a million the season before last) but that is a world away from the tens of millions the Oystons are accused of in the letter – something that is well-known from their season in the top flight.

The thing that I think makes Blackpool interesting is that the problem isn’t about foreign owners or a confused ownership situation. 76.23% of Blackpool FC is owned by Segesta (with 20% in the hands of Valeri Belokon and the remaining 3.77% split between 201 shareholders); Segesta is 97.34% owned by the Oyston family (with 301 shareholders owning the remaining 2.66% of that company) – in other words it’s clear to see the almost absolute control the Oyston family have over the club.

People complain about Blues being in trouble because of “foreign ownership” or because “no one knows who is actually in control” but the truth is it doesn’t matter if you know who is control or what nationality they are if their intentions for the club don’t match those of supporters. Blackpool is an extreme case; I actually think from a playing perspective they’re in a worse situation than Portsmouth were two seasons back and I don’t think there is any doubt that there is a correlation between players turning them down and the situation they find themselves in.

What does surprise me is that we’ve seen no comment from the Football League yet – with thirteen days to go until kick off I wonder if there is any concern if Blackpool can actually fulfil their first fixture. While it is obvious they’re in no danger of going bump there is clearly some sort of civil war going on at Bloomfield Road that is in danger of continuing on until the season starts and potentially embarrassing the league. I believe one of the core concepts of the Football League is protect the integrity of their competitions; if one of their members cannot compete due to an absolute physical lack of players and is showing no sign of sorting their act out how does that reflect on the FL?

Blues on the other hand are motoring nicely into the new season; another friendly win at the weekend (you can read a match report by my good friend Matthew over at Blue Tinted Specs), another clean sheet and more importantly the manager happy how his players are blending together. Both Donaldson and Thomas are finding the net in pre-season and hopefully their industry and goals will translate when the real ball comes out.

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20 Responses to “Contrasting Pre Seasons”

  • Blueboy88 says:

    As ever questionable governance from the FL.

    • Ray says:

      Totally agree. If they had investigated CY and his associiates we might not have been in our current situastion Foir the most part they get paid for doing nothing . ray

  • Paul hawkins says:

    I think it’s time the FL have a good look at themselves and the procedures when it comes to new owners and investors. I think it’s absolute tragedy and disgrace for English football that this can happen to clubs like Blackpool and Portsmouth and not forgetting our beloved Blues. We need to further investigate the owners background of how they made their money and the potential of investment in the particular club. I do believe that new potential owners go in blindfolded and not realise just how much a club can cost. It’s not just about buying the club it’s all the others costs that goes along with it thru the season and when the season ends.

  • Adrian David Duffen says:

    There may be uncertainty over who is the “actual” owner, with it being a “family”, maybe there is fractures in the family over how to run the club. Is the one who is supposedly the “head” of the family strong enough to run the club, or are they flip, flopping trying to do what all of the family wants but making a mess as can be seen with only 8 registered first team players? Other than that a brilliant article as always.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    It’s very tempting to criticise the FL in these cases, but what specifically can they do?
    The Oyston’s as a family have run Blackpool for many years and have ploughed a lot of money into the club. Maybe Oyston feels his money has been wasted and now is the time to get it back.

    • Blueboy88 says:

      The FL can withhold the clubs “Golden Share” which is the clubs right to compete in the league.

      At their discretion the FL can transfer this share to a new company.
      Enforcing that would have a few owners hoping around.

  • tangerine_team says:

    As a Blackpool fan thanks for your blog. Oyston is on the FL board – voted for by other chairmen ! I think that clubs should be membership owned co-operatives – they are in Germany and Spain (so it works). Please check out “fan action” campaigns and support them. Protests/direct action etc. have been going on for some time and fans from other clubs sometimes join in e.g. “Oyston Out” chants (Derby in joined last year); Burnley are being asked to join in the boycott of the friendly game on Sat.; just messages of support on our boards etc. help. Amazing tweet conversation between the Peterborough Chairman and a Pool fan last week – where he disclosed Oyston was not returning calls from Barry Fry. Thanks for you support. I know you will 6 points from us in return !!

  • dave mann says:

    great day at kiddy saturday, 2,500 blue noses and about a 1,000 kiddys, good result , clean sheet, strikers scoring, carnival atmosphere….bring on that trip to boro week saturday, cant wait!!!! . KRO.

    • mark says:

      was excellent dave you can only beat the team that’s put in front of you…clean sheets are looking good…..like i said before 2,500 noses dont give a sh*t about spin and more spin lol

  • williammorgan says:

    Do I hear what can the football league do about it , what can the FA do about it , what can Fifa do about it , what can governments do about it , what can GOD do about it , the thing is GOD is the only one that is not getting paid to do a job …..the football boffins should never have been elected to the positions they hold ….football is an entertainment yet our leaders treat it like a industrial problem ..I mean what is the sense In punishing a club for over spending by docking them 10 points after admin ,and so causing relegation and a vast loss of revenue ,.there should be rules on over spending after 3years of buying a club allowing for a speculate to accumulate early policy ,followed by a tightening of the belt policy ,but if any clubs board cannot support a club with no possible improvement after three years then the club should be abliged to put the club up for sale at a fair price given by a tribunal ,so keeping entertainment at a good level, also all players wages should be renagotiatable on relegation or transferable ….kro

  • […] lifted even further when you look at the plight Blackpool are in which he discussed in this piece; Contrasting Pre-Seasons. I know it’s not good to revel in others misery so when I say “your spirits may be lifted” […]

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    I heard it was their manager Riga being pig headed about a player he wanted to sign and the board refusing to back him. Riga apparently went in a mood refusing to sign any players. The chairman threatened to sack and sue him unless he played ball. Riga came a whisker of being sacked if he didn’t show up at a friendly. Which they actually won 5-0 despite fielding a few youngsters and non contract players to fulfil the team numbers. Now the situation is potential signings don’t feel Blackpool is a good place to go and time is running out with the new season approaching fast.

    • Staffs Blue says:

      From what I read, part of the agreement when Riga took the job, was that he was allowed to bring in 3 players of his choice. If Oysten has reneged on that agreement, then Riga has good reason to be annoyed. Either way… someone has to pull their neck in, or relegation is a certainty.

  • Staffs Blue says:

    We’ve just signed an 18yo Iranian u21, ex-Man U schoolboy, called Navid Nasseri.


  • Staffs Blue says:

    Blackpool have today signed 3 players, Jacob Mellis, Tomasz Cywka and Peter Clarke to take their total to 11.

    Lee Clark signed Clarke for Huddersfield.

  • Chris W says:

    As much as we dislike the current regime it is obvious that there is always someone worse off.
    Hopefully lessons were learnt from last seasons debacle and we wont find ourselves in that situation this season. The pre season is going well but the team have yet to meet anyone half-decent, no disrespect to the lower league teams, but they have probably benefited more than Blues.
    We have Notts County tonight then Inverness on saturday, I think that Inverness will be our toughest game, but that is just a personal view. We still have to kill the monkey on our at home.
    All in all I am looking forward to the new season and think we will do better than some expect. Realistically we should be a good mid-table finish with a few lows during the season.
    Last season we were looking at 3 teams worse than us, well this season we only need 2, as Blackpool are already in that spot. But, as Jimmy Greaves once said, “Its a funny old game”, and as we have proved over the years, never underestimate the opposition.

  • Blooflame says:

    My view is in line with yours. However I do feel it is imperative that the shares are on the London Stock Exchange not Hong Kong’s or anywhere else. That way British rules are adhered to and there is no temptation to adopt illegal practices (not that there has been). Accounts can be seen (on time) and true representation can be seen by all. I’m well aware that in the past bad practices have taken place on the LSE but there is always accountability.

  • beegeeblueboy says:

    Let’s remember that the first and last goals at Kidder would likely not have happened in a league game. That’s the problem if the opposition are too inferiorr

  • Staffs Blue says:

    Nathan Delfouneso has re-signed for Blackpool on a one-year contract, with an option for a further 12 months. That’s 12 players.

  • mark says:

    not been personal but i hope blackpool are one of those teams we say bye bye to at the end of the season……Donaldson and thomas looking the business kro

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