|will Christmas come early?|
Written by basilrobbiereborn on Friday, 7th Nov 2014 17:25
It's been a strange couple of weeks, if you are a Blackpool fan. Firstly, we got the much anticipated but equally much delayed departure of Jose Riga ; the uncharacteristically swift appointment of a replacement ; and then two games that could hardly have contrasted more had they tried.
Lee Clark's first experience of his new squad in action must have been a chastening one, to say the least. The home defeat to Ipswich was one of the most abject in recent times, not just because of the result, but more the inept, clumsy way that we stumbled to it.
His response has been commendably swift, with new blood brought in immediately. One of the new players, Jacob Murphy, made a very good start to his Blackpool career in the 2-2 draw with Fulham, scoring a well-worked goal and generally impressing with his pace and his ability to link with Ishmael Miller. It will be good to see more of that. Whist losing two points was disappointing, most of the sizeable Seaside contingent will have left Craven Cottage thinking that this was much more like us, and more of what we have grown to expect over the last eight years or so.
Two thoughts spring from all this. The fixture list between now and Christmas gives us a realistic chance to make inroads on the gap to safety, if we see more performances like we did on Bonfire Night. Bournemouth will be a very tough nut to crack, but games with Leeds, Bolton, Rotherham (twice), Birmingham, Charlton and an out of form Sheffield Wednesday do look a lot easier than they might have been.
Obviously some stiffer looking tests await after Christmas, but for now the job we face is to instil some self-belief into the players and the place as a whole. It is not as if we haven't managed to do this before - many of our fans will remember the 1992/93 season, the first back in the third tier under Billy Ayre. Then, a mid-December defeat at Wigan left us on eleven points, and eleven from safety. After a couple of scratchy home draws, we went to Sealand Road and claimed our first away win in nearly a year. The rest is history, as we played like play-off contenders to climb away from danger. It was almost as though confidence and belief had been turned on like a tap.
My second thought is that beyond these next few games, January is always a big month for most clubs, and will be a better chance for Clark to change what he has inherited. I was not in the least surprised to see that he was able to bring in new players where his predecessor seemingly could not. To me, it was partly about Clark's proactivity, but also the chairman's willingness to back him and his judgement.
Riga still retains a groundswell of popularity with some of our support, but the stark fact is that he did not enjoy the confidence of the chairman and was thus unlikely to ever change things markedly for the better. Why this was so has been done to death many times, and there are a lot of unanswered questions for both the Riga camp and Karl Oyston - questions that may never be satisfactorily answered. I wanted Riga to have a reasonable chance, but to my mind he did little to help his own cause in the last few weeks.
I don't think pining after him like love-sick teenagers does our support any credit either. He's gone now, and what should really matter to us all is that the club moves forward. That does of course require a lot more evidence of learning from his mistakes, and a bit of overdue humility from the chairman, although I must say like most I hope for that rather than expecting it.
It also means that we need to back the new man, and remember that the real enemies of the club lie outside the gates. It would be good to reel a few of them in over the next few games, and put some of them under real pressure. Fighting amongst ourselves is merely a distraction from this essential business, and I hope to see us doing far less of it from mow on.
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
Blogs by basilrobbiereborn
Blogs 31 bloggers
Away days by Andyconky
Many pounds have been spent and many train tracks have been travelled but who doesn't love an away day. Doesn't matter if its Chester or Chelsea or Lincoln or Liverpool, it's all good fun with a sense of adventure of what may happen.
New staff added to Swansea Independent by KeithHaynes
[b]After the great news of Roger Freestone joining us here at Swansea Independent we have four of the finest bloggers and writers joining us from next week[/b]
Letters from Wiltshire #05 by wessex_exile
Matchday #3, and Robbie’s not happy. I know opinion is divided, but I have considerable sympathy with the Chairman on this one. I don’t want this to be necessarily a political comment, but many are looking on with bemusement as the government seem to lurch from one knee-jerk reaction to another during this crisis, and I would be saying this of any government, regardless of their political persuasion. The nub of Robbie’s comments is quite simple, what’s the point in having a panel of experts working closely with responsible club owners to plan supporter’s safe return to essentially open air stadia, investing in alterations, changes to layout, developing detailed procedures etc. to then have the rug pulled out from under their feet? I know why, a second wave seems to be coming, and frankly it looks like people simply can’t be trusted to follow the rules – but why then are pubs still open, or does the virus only come out after 10pm?
Would you like to appear here as a Welsh football writer? by KeithHaynes
You can be one of the Swansea Independent bloggers or vloggers just by contacting us here and taking the first steps in logging your thoughts and displaying your skills as a writer on the Swansea Independent. Contact us for more details.
Letters from Wiltshire #04 by wessex_exile
After last weeks’ solid point away against Bradford City, tipped by many to be strong promotion contenders, we now face another stern test against fallen giants Bolton Wanderers. Okay, giants may be stretching it a tad, but these guys have won the FA Cup four times, the League Cup twice, and the Charity Shield and Football League (Sherpa Van) Trophy once apiece. Christ, they were in the Premier League just eight years ago. But, they are where they are for a reason, and Saturday is all about 11 v 11, literally on a level playing field…