After a media blackout which lasted over twelve months, Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston finally broke his silence last week.
Amazingly; it is the first time that anyone at the club, other than the manager, has come out and spoke to the media since the club were relegated to League One and equalled the lowest points total ever recorded in Championship history.
At other clubs, one would expect a statement to be released listing clichés such as ambition, rebuilding and supporting the team after such an atrocious campaign. But not Blackpool! No one from the club stood up and apologised for the club’s miserable plight.
So when an interview with Oyston was broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire last week, it came as a surprise to many Pool supporters. What was less surprising, however, was the actual interview itself.
The pre-recorded piece was clearly set out with good intentions, and you must give Oyston some credit for coming out and speaking after such a long time.
Obviously Radio Lancashire and the club have close links and a good working relationship, and it is within the interest of both parties to maintain these ties. But what this interview failed to do; to the annoyance of the vast majority of Pool fans, was ask Oyston some really tough questions.
Let’s be honest here, it was hardly Frost-Nixon, and that is by no means intended to be an insult towards Radio Lancashire and the broadcaster who spoke with Oyston. But the whole thing just felt too comfortable.
In the interview; Oyston claimed that, “We are now getting to the position of getting back to where any properly run football club should be”. This is something I simply cannot agree with.
Off-the-pitch; the club is a shambles, public relations is pretty much non-existent with legal action being taken against a handful of supporters.
Pool have been battling relegation all season and are still very much in contention to be relegated once more. Bloomfield Road gates are significantly low, with a large number of supporters sticking to the ‘not a penny more’ campaign.
The Squires Gate training ground, once described by former manager Ian Holloway as a “hell hole”, has hardly changed since the days when Sir Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield were pulling on the famous Tangerine shirt.
On the other hand though, it would be naive of me to not point out those improvements that have been made at the club.
Player recruitment has changed for the better; the club have ditched its previous policy of handing out one-year contracts and scraped the barrel of unwanted loanees to fill their squads. Under Neil McDonald, those coming into the club tend to be young, hungry players who have signed long-term contracts.
Oyston made it very clear that he has no intentions to sell the club anytime soon. While this is hardly surprising, it will be frustrating to hear for the Blackpool Supporters Trust, who put a lot of time and effort into their bid to buy the club last year.
What this interview will not do is get supporters returning back to Bloomfield Road in their droves. Things might be looking brighter under McDonald now, but for too many, the damage has already been done.