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In our first preview of this year we wrote "2016 may present him (Owen Oyston) with his last opportunity to remain at the helm of a well supported football club". Owen's infamous appearance at the BST meeting in the summer might well have served as that opportunity, however the repulsion and hatred that greeted him that day meant any new words of wisdom fell on deaf ears. Of course, by the end of the first half of the year we knew the Oystons had learnt little with more court cases and a relegation for fans to contend with. Whilst Owen may well still be at the helm, the passengers have long since jumped deck and what remains is a Ghost ship floating in to oblivion. The plank is still there, waiting for Owen to walk down it, and there'll be plenty waiting at the other end to give him a shove.
It's been another hard year for Blackpool fans as we await that news that change is coming. There have been a few positive signs with promising words from Valeri Belokon, a clear indication most fans have voted with their wallets (which is as much to do with the fall in club revenues as clicking turnstiles) and the football world turning it's back on the Oyston family, however there is a long way to go before any normality is restored. In the meantime fixtures still have to be fulfilled and the events of this season will feature on Blackpool's record as much as those in 1953 and 2010. Despite what some may feel, the players and manager are still working for Blackpool Football Club no matter who the owner is. To that extent, 2017 could be one where Blackpool either bounce back or start to cement their place amongst the lower league sides. Certainly, results over the last two months has shown the abilities (and frailties) of this side and there is no reason why a Top 7 place isn't achievable.
It was the Seasiders away form, so often our achilles heel, which was holding Bowyer's side back this season and so it's been a welcome turnaround to see them win three of their last four games on the road. In fact, form in general the last half dozen games has been decent with only Doncaster increasing their lead on the Seasiders. It's ironic that on the back of 6 wins from 8 in the league that 'Pool are still outside the play off places and a reflection of how much damage the early part of the season did. Grimsby have won 4 of their 11 home games this season and are 3 places behind Blackpool in the table. It's a game which marks the halfway point of the season and one which means the Seasiders have played just 10 games at Bloomfield Road with 13 away following this trip. A win against the Mariners would likely put 'Pool back in the Play Off places and crucially, at this stage, keep a check on the top 3.
Fansonline have always tried to provide previews and reports for all our sites but rarely in the exceptional circumstances Blackpool find themselves in. Quite often, it's away fans who pick up on these previews and it's been important throughout the year that we've highlighted the struggles off the field as much as those on them. As 2016 comes to an end, it's to be hoped the New Year can provide a new start at a club which deserves better than it's received.
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