Category Archives: Blackpool

Gary Bowyer appointed Salford City Manager

The former Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer has agreed to become the new boss of Salford City until the end of the 2020-21 season. 

The 49-year-old is set to become Salford’s third manager of the campaign after Richie Wellens was sacked on Monday having been in charge for just four months.  

Wellens had led Salford to victory in the EFL Trophy 2019/20 final a little over a week ago, as they were able to overcome Portsmouth. It was his performances in the league, however, that proved the ex-Swindon manager’s undoing and prompted Gary Neville and ‘Class of 92’ to sack him.  

Bowyer is currently set to take charge of Salford’s remaining 11 games before returning to Derby to resume his role as their Under 23s boss.  He is going to be assisted by former Manchester United Coach Warren Joyce, who has also had spells as manager with Wigan Athletic and Melbourne City, and ex-Manchester United and Everton midfielder Darren Gibson.   

Following his appointment, Bowyer said: 

I’m delighted to be here, I’ve got to first and foremost thank Wayne Rooney, Darren Wassall at Derby County for being so helpful to allow me to come here. Obviously today is a case of meeting the players and setting the expectations of what we expect of them from now until the end of the season.

“We want them to be playing aggressive football both with and without the ball, and have a right good go at these remaining 11 games. We have an opportunity like everybody else in this league to try and force our way into the reckoning to try and get into the play offs and see if we can do that.”

During his playing days Bowyer played as a full back for Hereford United and Rotherham United, but he had to retire early due to injury.  He was, however, part of the successful Miller’s side who won the EFL Trophy in 1996.  

As a Manager, meanwhile, one of his main highlights so far has been winning promotion from League Two with Blackpool via the play-offs in 2017.  

Indeed, that is something that Neville and the Class of 92 will want Bowyer to emulate with their Salford side who are six points outside of the play-off places following there 2-0 loss to leaders Cheltenham Town.  His first game in charge will be against fellow play-off hopefuls Exeter City this weekend.  

Can Salford still achieve promotion to League One this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below….   

Fleetwood Town appoint Simon Grayson as new head coach

Fleetwood Town have appointed former Sunderland, Leeds and Preston boss Simon Grayson as Head Coach until the end of the season.

The 51-year-old has agreed a deal until the end of the campaign and succeeds Joey Barton, who left his role on January 4 after almost three years in charge of The Cod Army.  

Grayson arrives at the Highbury Stadium with the club currently sitting 14th in League One having just picked up two points from five games under caretaker-manager Simon Wiles.  

The experienced boss has already expressed his desire to hit the ground running with his new club.  Speaking to the club’s official website, Grayson said:

“Fleetwood Town are a football club I know a lot about, it’s a club with a really good infrastructure and I’m delighted to get back to work and be given this opportunity to get the club winning again. I can’t wait to get started.”

Indeed, The Cod Army will be hoping that Grayson continues his impressive record in the third tier of English football as he has managed four times to secure promotion from the division.  

The first was via the play-offs during his first spell with Blackpool in 2007, and then he successfully led Leeds United to automatic promotion in 2010. 

Grayson then led another Yorkshire based club in Huddersfield Town to the Championship via the play-offs in 2012, before more recently getting promoted with Preston North End in 2015.

Grayson’s first game in charge will be against Bristol Rovers at The Highbury Stadium and the new coach will be hoping to get his new side back to winning ways as soon as possible following a tough run of results, the latest being a 1-0 defeat to Oxford United. 

Grayson added: 

“First and foremost I want to get Fleetwood back to winning ways, get a smile on players’ faces again and get them enjoying what they are doing.

“It’s never easy when you are losing games and things aren’t going your way, so I intend to get them smiling, working hard, and letting us in the right to win football matches. Hopefully, we can do that very quickly.”

The Future is tangerine!

It’s safe to say that it’s been a tough year for all football fans after the sport was paused for three months earlier in the year, and ever since the majority of grounds haven’t had a return to supporters. But spare a thought for Blackpool fans who spent five years divided over the ownership of their football club. No sooner had they returned against Southend in March 2019, and COVID-19 put paid to the first full season under new ownership earlier this year.    After spending five years staying away from Bloomfield Road as part of a ‘Not a Penny More campaign’, Pool fans are now being forced to stay away due to the risk of COVID and instead forced to watch a new squad, under a new manager, via laptop at home. But there is still a feeling of excitement and optimism building – despite the fact the fans can’t show their support first-hand.

In June 2019, Blackpool-born businessman Simon Sadler bought a 96.2% share of Blackpool Football Club, much to the delight of Blackpool fans after many turbulent years of suffering through the Oyston ownership. The reign of the Oystons, which started in 1987, is commonly renowned for the Seasiders’ downfall from the Premier League down to League Two, in the space of four seasons. In what could only be described as one of the worst ownerships in football history, where the owners sued their own supporters, openly mocked others via text and gloated around the town with OY51OUT as his number plate, on the field the club suffered back-to-back relegations and failed to keep hold of its previously impressive squad, assembled by Ian Holloway. It caused much unrest and discontent throughout the fans, with the majority opting to stay away and refusing to give any more money to the owners. The Oystons were eventually forced to sell the club, after losing a high court case to Latvian businessman Valeri Belekon, a man who previously owned a share in the Tangerines and was found to be owed £32m in court. 

Simon Sadler’s purchase was completed in June 2019, sparking scenes of jubilation across Blackpool and beyond, as fans looked forward to their long anticipated trip back to Bloomfield Road, with some having boycotted the stadium for upwards of four years. Sadler’s purchase allowed fans to feel like their club is finally in the correct hands, after so many years of division and unrest. Sadler proved to the supporters that he was the man to take the Seasiders forward from the start, by interacting, communicating and meeting the fans face to face, something Blackpool were not used to. 

Sadler has not only brought financial stability to the club at the perfect time, but also security for the once suffering fans, in knowing that their club is safe and in the correct hands. The prospect of new ownership was, and still is, an extremely exciting one for Blackpool fans. In aid of pushing the Pool back towards the Championship Sadler has immediately made the Seasiders one of League One’s highest spenders in terms of outgoing transfer fees. In his first transfer window Sadler supplied newly appointed Simon Grayson with over £1m, a fee which was eclipsed this summer as the club brought in 17 new players to support the new manager Neil Critchley. 

It’s not all been plain sailing so far – the return of Simon Grayson last summer was initially seen as a solid appointment, given he’d previously achieved four promotions from League One previously – including once with the Seasiders already in 2007. Unfortunately, Grayson’s return to Bloomfield Road mirrored his poor recent spells with Sunderland and Bradford City rather than the earlier success he’d seen. Grayson departed in February, having been considerably backed in the January transfer window, after a shocking run of just one win in 12 matches

By March, the new man was appointed in the shape of Liverpool under 21’s manager Neil Critchley. The then-41 year old was relatively unknown when appointed, having only managed at academy level with both Crewe Alexandra and Liverpool. But as one of only sixteen coaches worldwide to obtain UEFA’s elite coaching badge, he certainly has an impressive CV – though there were questions over whether he could do it at First Team level. 

Just two games into his reign, the outbreak of COVID-19 curtailed the rest of the League One season. Rather than sitting and waiting to find out when football would resume, Sadler did not furlough his scouting team and work continued as the board and new manager looked to assemble a squad to compete at the top end of the table this season. That allowed the club to steal a march on its rivals with free agents at the start of the window, as Keshi Anderson, Marvin Ekpiteta, Oliver Sarkic and Ethan Robson all joined by early August. They were accompanied by Jerry Yates and CJ Hamilton for substantial fees in the current climate. Critchley cited the club’s ambitious, forward-thinking direction as one of the key factors that lured him into the managerial role.

There’s no doubt in saying that this isn’t an overnight process. Especially with an almost entirely new squad, that even today are still learning about each other’s strengths, weaknesses and attitudes. This has been reflected by the Seasiders’ bumpy start to the campaign, picking up just one win from their first seven league matches. But more recently, the new squad has started to find its feet and get to know each others’ games. Mistakes were made early in the season as the side looked bereft of cohesion and togetherness, but now they are improving each week in terms of performances and results. Those mistakes helped to shape the squad into a stronger unit as a team, and a force against any side in the division in recent weeks. 

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Fleetwood Town, the Pool have won eight of their last 10 games in all competitions, with the togetherness, unity and cooperation of the team playing a massive part in some impressive results – particularly against Peterborough and Portsmouth who are up at the top end of the table. Critchley’s fresh, exciting and attacking football that was talked about with the boss’ introduction has been evident, something that is an extremely exciting prospect for all Seasiders fans who have long dreamed of such a reality. 

The main thing for now is that the fans have the club back. Sadler certainly came to the aid of broken Blackpool supporters after times of such misery and despair under the previous regime. It was a very dark period in the club’s history, and simply by walking through the door, the club was already in a far better place. But not only that, Blackpool have been able to really build on the feel-good factor by showing ambition already both on and off the field. The final piece to the jigsaw is for fans to return and show the appreciation to the new group of players first-hand. This was possible once this season after the Seasiders were involved in a pilot event at the start of the season, allowing 1,000 fans into Bloomfield Road against Swindon Town, and hopefully in the coming weeks this will be able to be built on. 

These fans have never stopped fighting for what they believe in, and Sadler – who is one of them himself – has shown just how committed he is to the cause, and how much this town, and football club mean to him. It’s clear to see that Sadler certainly bleeds tangerine, and has allowed the fans to feel at home again at Bloomfield Road – restrictions permitting. With an exciting brand of football in the pipeline and off-the field developments starting to gain momentum, Sadler is rebuilding and galvanising a the football club which has a proud history. Together, the owner, board, players and staff – as well as the fans – are all striving to work together and get this great football club back to where it belongs. The future is bright, the future is tangerine!

Post written by George Wincott of utmp

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

The ‘Pool are back in town

09/03/19. A day Blackpool FC fans will remember forever. Aday the footballing nation looked on in awe. A day where the result was aside-shadow to other events that took place.

The recent history of The Seasiders is a story only a fewcan get their head round. From fans having safe protests to Owen Oyston have bailiffs outside the club. Blackpool FC have just about been through it all off thepitch.

Let’s not forget that on the pitch, with all that hashappened, Terry McPhillips has managed to get Blackpool to eighth in League Oneand just three points off a play-off place. The squad have done immensely well to dig out results such as a 1-0 away win to Portsmouth and a 2-0 victory atCoventry City, two teams who sit above them in the table.

When it was announced that Blackpool FC would go into receivership it was a sign to look forward to the future without the Oyston family having any part to play. The new receiver Paul Cooper unveiled a new look board which included Ben Hatton as the Executive Director and also Tim Fielding whois the vice president of the Blackpool Supporters Trust was appointed as a Non-Executive Director.

From this day, a ‘homecoming’ return to Bloomfield Road had been the talk of the town. The Tuesday prior Blackpool travelled to local rivals Accrington Stanley and you could already feel the party atmosphere with just over 1800 Tangerine fans making the trip to see The Pool win 2-1. But it was all about Saturday. That would be the day to remember.

The night before Blackpool’s home game against Southend United, it was announced over 15,000 tickets had been sold for the game. That’s about five times more than the average home attendance this season.

The club itself has had some ‘days to remember’ in it’s past. The Matthews Final – Blackpool’s famous 4-3 win over Bolton Wanderers in the FACup Final 1953. Promotion to the Premier League in 2010, the appointment of areceiver and a new board a couple of weeks ago and most recently of all, thefans ‘homecoming’ parade against Southend United.

It was a day where years of built up anger and distress flipped into a carnival atmosphere to signal the end of the Oyston regime and the start of something new.

It wasn’t about the final score for the near 16,000 in attendance, it was a celebration for them to be able to return to their rightful home – Bloomfield Road. Blackpool was once again a sea of tangerine. Pubs were packed from 11am. Flags, scarves and banners were all proudly on show. A parade took place outside Blackpool Tower before a peaceful and colourful march to the stadium.

There were fears of the big day being dampened but it wasn’t the case as the sun shone down brightly on the seaside.

Blackpool played like they have all season; they fought tothe end, battled hard but just weren’t clinical enough. Although they earned a point against Chris Powell’s side it felt like a win due to the fact it was the last kick of the game that Southend scored an own goal.

Bloomfield Road erupted.

It was pandemonium on the pitch. Fans who had gathered by their turnstile to leave seeing their team slump to a 2-1 defeat on today of all days were soon on the pitch celebrating with the players. It was no more than the emotional release of four years of hurt more than anything else and it was special to have witnessed such an occasion.

Encroachment isn’t always a nice thing to see but I’m sure the fans who did enter the fray can be forgiven as they were evidently overwhelmed by the occasion.

In saying that, everyone was – it will be a day that goes down in the history of Blackpool Football Club – It wasn’t just a day where Blackpool played Southend in a League One clash – It was a day where The Pool came back to Town.

Written by Jordan Parker

Photo credit : Jordan Parker