Blackpool have become something of a soap opera in recent seasons, a cautionary tale of boom and bust, of unscrupulous owners and complete collapse.
It only seems like yesterday they were the darlings of the Football League, breaking into the top flight for the first time since 1971.
That spell at the end of their glory years was a one off and resulted in relegation from which they didn’t recover, exactly the same pattern as 40 years later.
Their recent top flight stay also lasted just one season and, after four seasons in the Championship, they suffered successive relegations to League Two. They went from Manchester Untied to Morecambe in the blink of an eye.
Last season they seemed to be on the up, promotion from the basement division was followed with a campaign of mid-table consolidation in League One.
Their summer recruitment has been sound, Paudie O’Connor should excel after joining from Leeds as will Ben Heneghan who comes from Sheffield United. Defensively, they’re going to be tough to break down and few will relish playing at a breezy and blustery Bloomfield Road in the depths of winter.
They still need to bring in a couple of faces, but any progress is being hampered by events off the field and it is there, not on the pitch, that their future success will be measured.
Owen Oyston has been chairman since 1988, but after Premier League promotion things began to turn sour. His stewardship of the club has brought misery and demonstrations from fans, but it seems no closer to being over.
Recently, the Oyston family were urged to resolve their long-running feud with Valeri Belokon, ordered by a court to settle debts by July 5th or sell the club.
Fans are hungry for change and hoped the move would see Oyston offload the Seasiders, either to Belokon or new owners who could instil some belief and trust back into the club.
That date has come, and gone and there’s been little movement since.
Oyston flew out to Latvia to speak to Belokon last week and talks are said to be progressing, but there’s been no resolution of the dispute as yet. All the fans want is a future, something that appears to have been denied to them in recent years.
In the middle of it all is Gary Bowyer, the former Blackburn man who swapped the Venky’s ownership for the Oyston’s and still holds his head up high.
He oversaw promotion from League Two and then steadied the ship with a 12th placed finish in League One.
If he’s going to take them further, he’ll need a calmer board room and solid direction from the owners, something that up to now he hasn’t be afforded.
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