Blackpool all at sea with no one taking the helm


Blackpool are a club in serious turmoil, without a manager for the second time in a matter of months and with even the staunchest supporters reaching tipping point with chairman Karl Oyston's stewardship.

More crucially, they have won just three games since the beginning of October. It is to be whispered, but there are genuine concerns on the Fylde Coast that the Seasiders may become embroiled in a relegation battle, which could spell the end of their six-year flirtation with the top two tiers of English football.

Two managers, Ian Holloway and Michael Appleton, have looked elsewhere for teams that, in their view, fulfil the ambitions both feel the owners at Bloomfield Road do not match.

Before moving to Crystal Palace, Holloway made himself available for the Blackburn Rovers job, only for that to be scuppered by boardroom battles at Ewood Park. It was a case that anywhere else will do for the most decorated manager of Blackpool since FA Cup winner Joe Smith in the 1950s. Appleton replaced Henning Berg at Blackburn earlier this month. Both clearly saw the owners, Venky's, and the circus that accompanies them, as a more viable option. That speaks volumes about the chaos any manager walking in at Blackpool will face.

That is if they can succeed in luring anyone to the club, because it has been a trying test thus far. Sean O'Driscoll was lined up, and had verbally agreed to take over, but eventually preferred bottom club Bristol City. Then there was the fiasco of approaching all and sundry to speak with in-work managers about the possibility of succeeding Appleton. Bradford's Phil Parkinson, MK Dons' Karl Robinson and Birmingham City's Lee Clark have all politely declined the offer.

All the while, the caretaker Steve Thompson is left with the thankless, frankly impossible, task of lifting a group of players who have been walked out on twice by managers who didn't believe they could achieve with them. Thompson wants the job, but has lost his first three matches in charge. His side were gutsy in their 2-1 defeat by the runaway Championship leaders Cardiff on Saturday, but lacked real quality to unlock a side who will, in all probability, be gracing the Premier League next season.

"I'm in charge for the moment and until I hear anything different I'll keep going along," Thompson said. "But I think it needs sorting, especially for the lads, because they need stability around the club."

The sacked Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is the latest with whom Blackpool want to speak but is highly unlikely to want the job. He would have to draw on his experience at Scunthorpe United, rather than at St Mary's, to prosper. There is also the sticking point that Oyston doesn't allow hordes of back-room staff, which Adkins would want to bring with him.

In this situation, Blackpool are in danger of free-falling further before moving forward. This was a club moments away from promotion last season. It really is a sorry state of affairs for those who lit up the top flight not so long ago.

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