David Cameron Walker

Posts Tagged ‘Bloomfield Road’

Thank you and goodbye Ollie

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Since my last blog post, ‘Positivity is key‘ on September 20th, Blackpool FC have won once – away at Hull City – and have only managed to pick up 5 points from a possible 24. Back on that September day Blackpool were second in the league, had a captain, had a manager and everything looked peachy.

A lot has changed around Bloomfield Road in the past six weeks. There has been a much publicised manager merry-go-round. Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Ipswich and Crystal Palace have all been looking for new managers in that time-frame and as of November  3rd all those teams have managed to fill their vacant hot seats. Yesterday Crystal Palace appointed their new man – Blackpool’s Ian Holloway – taking over as Dougie Freedman’s replacement and half-time at Selhurst Park, Holloway was unveiled to the home fans.

It has been a turbulent few weeks for Blackpool fans and their manager. Holloway was linked with every job in the Championship and when Henning Berg was appointed Blackburn Rovers boss on Thursday morning, it appeared that Holloway would stay put at Bloomfield Road until further notice. Blackpool fans breathed a huge sigh of relief.

What we weren’t to know is that on the Thursday evening Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston and Palace co-owner Steve Parish were thrashing out a compensation package for Holloway and first-team-coach Keith Millen. Two days later Holloway and Millen had left the Lancashire seaside for South London.

The manner in which Ian Holloway left Blackpool will irk many fans. We don’t blame him for going, but jumping ship on the morning of a crucial game away to Derby County is no way to endear oneself to the fans that hold you in such high regard. However Karl Oyston played the part of the super-villain in this saga. He constantly refused to back his manager financially and has openly stated that a new training ground will be built, but nothing has yet come to fruition.

Ian Holloway was tied to a twelve month rolling contract meaning that all the control was with Oyston. A club could come in and pay the £400,000 release clause and talk to Holloway, which is exactly what Crystal Palace did.

Nobody can blame Holloway for leaving behind a chairman that shows zero ambition to the football club that he owns and runs. What Holloway did in the summer of 2010 to get the club into the Premier League will be remembered by all Blackpool fans forever, it is woven into the club’s history. However when you look back on that achievement and realize the constraints that the manager was working with, it makes that promotion look like a miracle.

The rest is history, the club were relegated on the last day of the 2010-11 season after losing to Manchester United at Old Trafford, with a points total of 39, just one point off safety. Holloway stayed and persevered with his chairman, and despite losing a host of key players that summer, Holloway re-built his squad.

That squad then went all the way to the 2012 Championship play-off final which Blackpool lost to West Ham United. Anyone would think the chairman would back his manager, after the club stumbled at the last hurdle. Just a few million pounds would have shown ambition to get back into the Premier League but Oyston refused to budge on financing Holloway’s transfer targets. Blackpool spent £250,000 this summer on new recruits. Ambition = nil.

Holloway committed to Steve Parish and co. when he signed a deal to become Palace’s manager. Palace have a highly successful youth set-up and he will relish the opportunity  to get his claws into some of their prospects. Family too is an important part of his move down south. Three of Holloway’s four children now live in the nation’s capital so Holloway will be closer to his family, however he will have to sell the house he bought on the Fylde Coast only a few weeks ago.

Holloway is a Blackpool FC legend and I, like many others, thank him for the wonderful job he has done over the past three seasons. He has imprinted a style of football that is the most entertaining my club has ever played. Promotion, relegation and play-off final defeat – we’ve seen it all in the past three seasons and for that Ian Holloway leaves the club held in the highest regard. Thank you and all the best.

Written by Adam Kinder, We Are Going Up’s Blackpool blogger

Adam tweets at @adam_kinder

Positivity is key

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

“If we finish one place below Blackpool I’ll be very happy, because that would mean we’ll be promoted” - Neil Warnock – 21/08/12.

Blackpool FC have started this season with a bang. After a disappointing play-off final defeat in May, The Seasiders have hit the ground running in their quest to get promotion into England’s top division. Reading achieved promotion in the 2010-11 season after a disappointing play-off final defeat to Swansea the previous year. Reading however started their campaign with a run of losses, the momentum picked up around the Christmas period and they gained promotion by winning the Championship. Ian Holloway will be trying to replicate Reading’s success this season. So far, so good.

Blackpool currently have around 35 professionals at the club. The first-team compete in The Championship and the development squad, headed by ex-Bristol City manager Keith Millen compete in behind-closed-doors friendlies.  There were twelve new arrivals at Bloomfield Road this summer. Some of these players have gone directly into the first team, Tiago Gomes, Isaiah Osbourne to name two, and others have been placed directly into the development squad, Brice Irie-Bi and James Caton for example. Ian Holloway is desperately trying to make this model work.It’s not a B-team, it’s not an under-23 team, it’s simply a development squad. It’s there to make the players develop. As far as I can see it has been a success.

Blackpool started the season with a 2-0 win away at Millwall, followed by a 2-1 victory at Bloomfield Road against Neil Warnock’s Leeds United. The Leeds performance stuck out for many fans as it was the best game of football seen on our shores for many years. The passing, the defending, the creativity was just wonderful and it has given the fans a certain sense of expectation. The players however are feeling no pressure.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher has urged the fans to get behind the team because this is only the beginning. Ian Holloway has also echoed these thoughts. He recently spoke to the local newspaper and was quoted as saying “I’m enjoying the favourites tag.” A 6-0 home win against a woeful Ipswich side heightened expectation. Ian Holloway came out after the game saying he’d got his tactics all wrong. He must have done something right.

13 points from a possible 18 is a good return for Blackpool on their quest for promotion. It’s actually our best start to a league campaign in 57 years which is pretty remarkable. We will draw games like we did against Barnsley and we will lose games like we did away to Leicester City just before the international break but as long as we can keep a run of good performances going then the only way is up at the moment.

It’s difficult not to have high expectations. I’m not usually one to jump on the bandwagon of expectation, thinking and knowing that we can beat any team that is put up against us but at the time of writing (still very early in the season!) it’s difficult not to jump on this bandwagon. All the signs coming out of the club are positive and in Ian Holloway we have one of the best managers in the league. I literally cannot wait for the season to end as that way I will know how we did, where we will be come next season and the like. It’s a great thing to be writing about your football club in such a positive manner, hopefully this bubble won’t burst anytime soon.

Written by Adam Kinder, We Are Going Up’s Blackpool blogger

Adam tweets at @adam_kinder