Leeds United Fans Think They've Got It Bad: Here's Blackpool FC

Blackpool should be a rock solid Championship club with schemes inspiring local kids in deprived areas and being a cornerstone of the town - instead it's just a cash cow for one family.
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Leeds United fans think they've got it bad, this is the position with today's rivals Blackpool.

This weekend Blackpool travel to Leeds for a nail-biting relegation six pointer.

Neither club is having the kind of season the fans hoped for but their malaise runs far deeper than the usual journeymen players and out of depth managers routine that is also part of the story. No matter how both the clubs like the shuffle the cards the buck stops with the chairmen and for contrasting reasons both clubs have been well and truly stitched up by their own Leeds United should be a Premier League club - one of the few one club in one city outfits they have an huge army of loyal fans and a proud history but the past few decades have seen them mismanaged from the top by speculative and egotistical owners who have left the club floundering in the lower reaches of the Championship.

Their problems, though, pale into insignificance compared to Blackpool's. At one time the club represented so much that was virtuous about football from Stanley Mathews to Mortensen to the classic 1953 Cup final- nowadays it's a running joke run into the ground by its greedy owners.

It's hard to believe that it was only a few years ago that Blackpool were the Premier League's plucky outsiders with a maverick manager, Ian Holloway, whose brand of gung-ho football made them everyone's second favourite club. Of course they were relegated straight away but it was a glorious season and the following year on a threadbare budget and already hidden away Premier League millions Holloway got the club back to Wembley for the play off finals where they were unluckily beaten by West Ham United.

Just two seasons later they face an almost certain relegation to Division One with those Premier League parachute payments hardly not getting used to reinvest in the playing side, facilities and anything for the club.


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The downward spiral seems to be down to two men- Owen Oyston the main shareholder and his son, Karl, the chairman and nicknamed 'Koko the clown' by the fans. Karl Oyston  likes to pride himself on running the club on strict financial terms but forgets to tell the media that the money he is apparently saving is nowhere to be seen anywhere around the club. A trail of disappointing managers has come and gone since Ollie left and all the best players have left the club and the lack of money and hope has broken the back of a once proud football club.Blackpool FC should be a  rock solid Championship club with many community schemes inspiring local kidsFor many fans it feels like Oyston has asset stripped the club and whilst this may not be one hundred per cent the case the lack of investment is killing the place. Last weeks 3-1 home defeat by Derby County was labelled by many fans as yet another worst ever performance in decades by a Blackpool side and saw a heated protest as many fans attempted to get into the West stand to confront Oyston who had a couple of hours before the game smugly grinned next to a specially parked protest billboard pointing the finger at him for using the club as a personal cash cow.

This week desperate fans even wrote a latter to the players demanding more commitment-  the letter was read to the players who replied but to be honest even with 200 per cent commitment the collection of cast offs and lower league players would have trouble holding their own in the Premier League. Decades of broken promises over facilities and players have seen the club take a nose dive and its owners get very rich and for many fans enough is enough.

Blackpool FC should be a rock solid Championship club with many community schemes inspiring local kids...

For these fans fans the situation brings into question of how football is run and the whole question of the future of football clubs. It's not so much the grim fact of relegation, which a fan can grudgingly put up with if it was case of just being crap - it's more the fact of how one man and his family can basically take what they want from a town's beloved institution and run it into the ground for pure profit when they should be investing into not only the football club but the whole town's future with the millions in profit that pours in from getting into the Premier League even for one season.

Blackpool FC should be a rock solid Championship club with many community schemes inspiring local kids in deprived areas and being a cornerstone of the local town instead of being a cash cow for one family.

The same story is replicated around the country from Coventry to Blackburn to the aforementioned Leeds United and the demands are growing louder for a return of football to the fans and questions are being asked of how the sport has become a grim reflection of the breath taking and ugly arrogance of the bankers fleecing the economy for what they can get.

No-one is asking for people like the Oystons to leave the game any more. They are now demanding they quit.

Follow John on Twitter, @johnrobb77