|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.
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Blogs by basilrobbiereborn
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Matches of Yesteryear - Cardiff v U's 11/4/98 by wessex_exile
Here we are then, after a reasonably solid but distinctly dull semi-final first leg lit up by a moment of sheer brilliance by Bramall, just one match away from a socially distanced Wembley play-off final. We may have a slight advantage, but there is of course still much to do, and I can’t imagine for a moment that Exeter will be that shot-shy again at t’other St James’ Park. It’s all about the result though, performance is irrelevant, so I’ll take an even duller 0-0 every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well, and for those of you blessed with progeny – Happy Father’s Day!
Matches of Yesteryear - Reading v U's 11/11/2000 by wessex_exile
So, after months of uncertainty, here we finally are at the start of a well-deserved play-off campaign. I say well-deserved, though in truth the play-offs ought to have been our minimum aspiration back in August. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball – no one could have predicted back then what the world was going to become, that hundreds of thousands would perish, and that most clubs today are probably fighting for their very existence. In fact, as already mentioned by [b]MFB[/b] and [b]Durham[/b], no one could have predicted that were it not for a stirring 3-0 victory at Carlisle in our last match back in March, we wouldn’t have even been in the play-offs. During lockdown, I have been reassured by the honest and stateman-like announcements from our Chairman keeping us all updated, and never more grateful that we have him looking after the club.
Matches of Yesteryear - Millwall v U's 14/4/99 by wessex_exile
And so here we are, at what would have been the last match of the domestic season, at home to FGR, and almost certainly still in with a shout of making the play-offs – maybe even already guaranteed by now. As I look out this morning, it’s a beautiful sunny day, and I would almost certainly already be on the first leg of a train journey to be amongst the faithful at the Jobserve Community Stadium. Given the location of our opponents, I’d probably be sharing the journey with a few hundred FGR supporters too, but they’ve always been a friendly bunch whenever I’ve met them, so I wouldn’t have been too concerned about that. Instead, we sit and wait to see how and when the season may (or may not) finish – strange times indeed…
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Accrington Stanley 13/1/04 by wessex_exile
Happy Saturday everyone…well, less of the happy actually, with rain falling freely since yesterday afternoon. Still, good weather to be in lockdown for, takes away that feeling that you might be missing out on some quality time outside. In an open letter yesterday to all supporters of EFL clubs, chairman Rick Parry stated “[i]…with or without spectators, delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions[/i]”. If that can be achieved, it appears almost certain these will be matches behind closed doors, streamed live to all supporters – which inevitably will break the long-held Saturday 3pm blackout for televised matches. We all know why that blackout was in place, but this is a difficult time, and it requires an innovative solution.
Matches of Yesteryear - Swansea v U's 7/3/06 by wessex_exile
Good afternoon everyone, I sincerely hope you’re all doing well, and hopefully not going too cabin-feverish! Today would have been a home match against Oldham Athletic, and after our surely guaranteed epic 3-2 victory at Sixfields on Good Friday, it would be just one more victory needed to guarantee a play-off place…think I might have been out in the sun a bit too much over the last few days 😊