Welcome to the first BST column of the new decade and a Happy New Year to all. As Blackpool fans get used to discussing football matters instead of football politics, it is good to remember that even when the team are having a wobble and supporters are grumbling, this is actually all part of being a normal football fan again.
The disappointing performances by the team of late are of concern to us all and whilst most Blackpool fans have managed to keep their expectations in check, there is no doubt that the positive start to the season, coupled with the fantastic progress being made by the club off the pitch, was enough to make many of us dare to dream again. It would seem that more patience is required!
The next few weeks are critical for the team and for the club. New players need to be given time to settle in and our under fire manager has to find a way to motivate his squad and ensure that good results follow. Supporters are very restless at the moment and this is understandable. However, whilst we don’t want to continually harp on about the past, the reality is that Blackpool fans have spent the last few years proclaiming that this is OUR club and how important it is to us and to our community, regardless of results. Getting rid of bad owners was only part of the mission; supporting the club under a new owner must now be our focus. Simon Sadler has literally put his money where other people’s mouths were and judging by the state the club was left in, will have to do so for a long time to come. He is delivering on his promises; we need to deliver on ours and support him and our club, in spite of results and performances rather than because of them. Blackpool FC was on life support and is still in recovery; just because there have been many obvious improvements, it doesn’t mean that everything is now normal. It will take years to build the club up to a healthy and self sufficient condition and the regular support of all of us will be fundamental to that recovery.
This doesn’t mean that fans shouldn’t speak out about the things that concern them. Supporters may react with emotion and passion but expressing opinions is a healthy and constructive part of being a fan, as long as it is done without malice or abuse. We have an owner and Board who have proved they are willing to listen and that’s how club and fans can move forward together. Challenging the club and holding them to account should be a normal part of the fan/club relationship. As long as we are all pulling in the same direction, such a relationship can be a very positive thing.
Bloomfield Rd needs to be a fortress, the place where our squad feels most comfortable and able to perform and where they are guaranteed the all important support from that twelfth man. It is we, the supporters, who can make that a reality. The decorating of the North Stand with a variety of supporters’ flags is a fantastic visual statement to everyone inside the stadium. This is OUR club; we have history, we have generations of fans who have supported Blackpool FC through good times and bad, we are a football community who stood together and fought for our club when many said it was hopeless. Let’s never forget who we are and how we got to where we are today and let’s make sure that our passion for our club spills out from every stand and sweeps the players along with it. Owner,Board, manager, players, fans – we’re one unit and we’re in this together.
Speaking of the football community, we have received appreciation and gratitude from Home Start Blackpool for the donations of food and other items at the 3rd annual foodbank collection just before Christmas. We were overwhelmed at the generosity of Blackpool fans, the local community and also Fans Supporting Foodbanks (whose work was highlighted on The One Show this week) and who have supported our foodbank collections every year. As well as the tremendous amount of items collected on the day, we also received over £600 in financial donations.
This month we highlight another local charity “Amazing Graze” based on Bolton Street, whose work includes helping homeless people and who serve up to 80 people every night. BST organised food collections at The Armfield Academy and The Tube Central Electrical discount store in South Shore and all donations were shared with Amazing Graze.
Thank you for reading; let’s hope that our home game against Tranmere is on (at the time of writing, this is still unknown!!) and we can support the team in getting our season back on track.