Deja vu is a funny thing as you feel like you have seen what is happening before. There is one club who will be able to say “we have seen this all before” and that is Blackpool F.C. Having managed to stay in League One in their first season back they would be hoping to build on this finish and perhaps push for the playoffs with the squad they have next season. However, they are struggling to resign players who are out of contract now and currently just have 12 players on the first team books who featured last year.
Once again this is an issue and has been an issue for a long time. Every summer seems to be the same where Blackpool fail to sign contracts with their better players earlier in the season. For example, last season, they lost goalkeeper Sam Slocombe and centre-half Tom Aldred despite the pair wanting to stay at the club.
If you go back to the start of the 2014/15 season, Blackpool only had seven players on the books before their pre-season tour. They released 17 players and five players returned to their parent clubs after their loans ended. The question remains why did the club allow that many players to leave despite avoiding relegation and being in the Championship? You get the impression that the players might have seen the writing on the wall for the club.
Fast forward again to this year and Blackpool have released 10 players but have also lost two players they were trying to negotiate a new contract with. Despite signing two new players, both non-league players, they are still trying to tie down top goal scorer Kyle Vassell who might be tempted to go the way of fullback Colin Daniel who felt Peterborough United had more ambitions than Blackpool; they are also in League One. Players such as Clark Robertson and Kelvin Mellor have attracted interest from Wigan Athletic in the Championship, yet the hierarchy at Blackpool did not see their potential and tie them down to a new contract earlier in the season. They are also in talks with Jay Spearing and Dolly Menga about a new contract.
The owner Owen Oyston has to take a lot of the blame, which has been well documented about for many years now, for the problems surrounding the club. For years The Seasiders have been relying on loan deals, free agents and late deals to be pushed through so that they are able to field a side. With his son Karl, who has now been removed as chairman following disputes with his father, the club has always been looking to cut corners. Even this year, many of the youth team that made a heroic run all the way to the F.A Youth Cup semi-final have been released and not offered a professional contract.
This is not the first time they have scraped the youth project as they have done this before on several occasions. Blackpool do not even have an under 23s side to help bridge the gap between the under 18s and hope that one day they make the step up to the first team. In the 2012/13 season, they had 45 players on the first team books, yet they were fitting them all into one squad.
It is yet another sad state of affairs for a club with such a rich history, but they look more than likely to be losing their best players and Gary Bowyer, who has already worked wonders, has to build up the team once again with a lack of financial support upstairs. He must be hoping the consortium in talks to buy the club, which includes former Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder, will go through quickly and hope it is not yet another Oyston lie.