Championship side Blackpool has cancelled its preseason tour of Spain to, as its official website put it, “concentrate on player recruitment.”
That might be a good idea.
Soccer requires 11 players on the pitch. This may sound trivial, until you see that Blackpool currently has just eight players on the senior team under contract.
A closer look reveals three defenders, a midfielder, and four strikers on the Blackpool payroll, and not a single goalkeeper.
Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston told the official website:
“The manager has taken the decision – and I agree with the decision – to cancel the pre-season tour so that our time is better served to try and get some of the player deals that we’ve been trying to get over the line for some time across the line. Our time will be far better spent preparing here than going over to Spain.”
To say the club is in a period of transition would be an understatement. After losing manager Ian Holloway in 2012 following a near-promotion season, Blackpool has seen Paul Ince, Barry Ferguson, and now Jose Riga (pictured) take charge.
They finished 20th in the Championship last season, narrowly avoiding relegation to League 1 by two points. Glenn Bowley, chairman of the official supporter’s group, told the BBC a few days ago, “it’s complete and utter shambles.”
However, Oyston doesn’t see it that way. “There is no panic,” he told BBC Sport. “In fact, I see it as a benefit rather than a downside. It allows the manager to bring in his own team, as opposed to a manager picking up a squad that is already overloaded and he doesn’t think is good enough.”
Sure, whatever you say Karl.
Blackpool was meant to take on Spanish clubs Granada and Cartegana in friendlies during their now-cancelled tour.
Instead, it appears Oyston’s son Sam is shooting pigeons inside the ground (the tweet was later deleted) – a great use of time with such a fine state of club affairs on their hands.
The Tangerines have until August 9th – less than a month – to put together a squad, as they open their league season against Nottingham Forest on that date.