It’s amazing to think that only a few months ago, all was rosy at Blackpool FC.
Top of the league and scoring goals for fun, Ian Holloway’s Tangerine Army were marching towards a return to the Premier League.
To say things have changed a bit would be a huge understatement.
Like Shergar at the butchers, we’re now looking anxiously over our shoulders.
Five weeks after Michael Appleton abandoned us for bumper salary and then had the audacity to say he’d “never shirked a challenge”, we’ve finally added a little stability by appointing Paul Ince as our new manager.
Interestingly enough, despite his illustrious playing career, Paul isn’t even the most famous Ince at the seaside. His son Tom is our top scorer and the main reason why we aren’t much lower down the table.
Given that their current relationship is so close, I’m not too worried about Tom’s form dipping, but about the possible impact on the rest of the squad from our new family affair.
Now I’m far from a professional sportsman, as my diet of flapjack and crisps would confirm, but I have found myself in a similar situation.
As a young, keen and averagely talented sportsman, my own dad became the team coach and installed me as captain for a league match ahead of other players who were arguably better suited. Needless to say my team-mates weren’t too happy, and while our defeat probably wasn’t solely down to my poor leadership, it still left a sour taste in the mouths of the squad.
While Blackpool FC may have a similar quality of pitch to village sport at the moment, I’d like to think things work a little more professionally on the training ground.
After a terrible run over the last four months or so, what the squad really needs is togetherness, so there can’t be any suggestion of nepotism to cause a rift.
One thing that Ince Senior’s family connections do bring however is an immediate knowledge about the club. Having watched Tom play for the last two years, the new manager knows all about the problems that we face and the changes that need to be made.
Hopefully from day one we’ll be working on tightening up the defence and instilling some confidence back into the club.
With just a gap of six points, the gaffer’s first priority however has to be to get the wins needed to secure safety for this season. From the day that Holloway left for Palace, this season has been nothing short of a nightmare, so consolidation and remaining in the Championship has to be the key for now.
From there, we can start rebuilding for a new era of Blackpool FC with Ince’s Dad’s Tangerine Army.