The new-look Blackpool FC continues to evolve, as we always knew it would. Starting from the top, since my last monthly piece in the Gazette there have been significant changes at board level. Simon Sadler said back in July that he would keep the off-field management team in place until September while he considered how to structure his board. Michael Bolingbroke, Ben Hatton and the consultants they employed performed a role in getting our fractured football club functioning with something approaching normality in the wake of the Oystons’ departure and we can all be grateful for their devotion to the club, but our new owner recognised that fresh appointments were needed to meet his ambitious vision for how he wants Blackpool FC to be run.
Consequently that interim team has departed and in its place has come firstly Linton Brown as Chief Commercial Officer (with previous experience at Barnsley, Bolton and Hull) and acting CEO until a permanent Chief Executive Officer is appointed. The new arrival (and others to follow) will bring to the Blackpool board a depth of experience at managing community-based football clubs at League One and Championship level. Linton’s expertise, knowledge of the football industry, networking and 24/7 dedication to furthering the fortunes of Blackpool FC should help take the club to the next level of successful sustainability.
Truth to be told, the summer transition from interim board to the new management team has resulted inevitably in some delay in moving projects forward. I did advise last time around that change at Bloomfield Road and its environs would be gradual (a matter of prioritising and funding). Many easy-to-make changes have been implemented: upgrading the TV screens, reinstating the reserve team, putting on coaches to away games, holding open days at the stadium – there will be another one in this October half-term. What is certain and proper is that the new board will revisit some of the proposals that were conceived by its predecessors; for instance regarding East Stand redevelopment, the North-East corner, the location of away supporters, the siting and configuration of the new training ground. (By the way, I’ve just re-read a copy of Tangerine News – the club’s official newsletter – from December 2001 which states: ‘Our next strategy relates to the improvement of the Club’s training arrangements. A new site has been earmarked and the aim is to create state-of-the-art facilities in order to make them much more attractive to players and amenable to the coaching management.’)
I believe that once the new board is fully constituted decisions will be easier to come by and the rate of change (i.e. improvement) around the club will increase in line with the goal to make Blackpool a model of what a good community football club should be. In the meantime, a degree of patience is required.
For now, let’s keep focussing on supporting the club and the team in the best way we can. Anyone who witnessed the first twenty minutes of the game against Lincoln City on Friday night will have seen what this group of players is capable of when they play the right system with confidence and attacking intent. A top six finish and a tilt at the play-offs has to be the stretch-target. The noise and the atmosphere inside Bloomfield Road was amazing. I know Monday night’s fixture at Bolton Wanderers is being televised, but it would be great to have as many fans as possible making the journey to the Macron Stadium to get behind the team. Pay on the gate will not be possible but tickets will be on sale until Monday afternoon and the club is once again running coaches to the match (£13 return, leaving Bloomfield Road at 5.30pm).
As always, if you have issues, concerns or suggestions for how to improve the quality of the match day experience at Bloomfield Road, or just want to start a conversation, contact me. You can reach me via twitter: @BFCSLO, via email: email@example.com and on Facebook: Blackpool FC Supporters’ Liaison Officer.
Steve Rowland, SLO
Thanks for sharing Steve. Always going to be a difficult job but you have my full support.
I think we have seen many changes already that shows the commitment of the new owners. Feels like a different place.
I don't mind the East Stand, it's the North East corner that bothers me more. If can do it all then even better!
The training ground seems to be moving forward but that will obviously take a few years.
We’re making steps forward, not giant strides but still moving forward. Perhaps it was unrealistic to say the north end of the east should be away fans from the start when obviously the south end in ready for use.
The training ground has to be the priority, then perhaps the east stand In stages. And like seasider has stated, the north east corner first.
Hero wrote:The east could be built with the land we have. It could be done over three small tiers all stacked on top of one another. Something like 12 rows per tier would see the stand hold 6k and it would look unique.
We conquered this land space availability problem years ago.
Tudor houses years ago!
The government at the time charged for how much land you had. I guess it’s like modern day council tax?
They built a tiny ground floor but then expanded upwards & outwards.
A simple Google search would explain what I mean.
tangerinejezza wrote:Wasn’t the main problem with expanding the east that there’s the main sewer running under back Henry street? It would need diverting.Just build on the land we have.... upwards.
Hero wrote:Just build on the land we have.... upwards.
On that , I’m sure oystain and Simon Blackburn has an agreement that the ground wouldn’t go any higher.
There was an original approval for a second tier on the west, but when the south ( or something else) was done it was put in place the ground couldn’t go higher.
Could be completely wrong, but sure that was said when we got to the prem.
seasider wrote:Can we not just build a North East corner and then turn the East Stand into a permanent structure. The East would remain similar to what it is now with no concourse. For big games with 5,000 away fans, the North East and South East corners could provide the facilities?Nah, shows no ambition.