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The real story from Saturday's FA Cup game at Bloomfield Road wasn't a League Two side forcing a replay against a side from the Championship, it wasn't Gary Bowyer's decision to change his format or the fact that many of the national journalists described the Seasiders performance as "impressive" - the real story was just 1500 Blackpool fans decided to attend the game. Even if the Oyston family intend to stay at the club, they must realise the current situation, which is depriving loyal supporters the chance to see their side, is untenable. Whilst they may say the turnstiles are open and fans are welcome (well apart from the ones who are banned), they must appreciate that their recent misdemeanours has put those same supporters in an impossible position where they want to support their team but not the club's owners.
BST published their mid-season account to a mixed response on Friday with some agreeing with the need for the owners to invest both on and off the pitch, whilst others said compromise is never an option and they simply have to go. Therein lies the problem at Blackpool Football Club at the moment. A small percentage are happy to continue to attend games, others want a solution with the owners showing commitment, investment, transparency and ambition, whilst there are many who have stated they won't step foot inside Bloomfield Road again whilst the Oyston family remain in charge. The fact there are three factions pulling in different directions makes the current situation one that looks like it won't be resolved anytime soon (even the upcoming court cases seem more like fans grasping at straws than a turning point in this dispute), However, if there was ever a call for a change in the status quo, then today's pitiful attendance should be impetus for change, The hope, even for those still attending, must be a change in ownership, but if not the fact that the magic of the FA Cup 3rd round failed to incentivise fans must surely serve as another wake up call to the Oyston family to re-think their current position.
Maybe the saddest aspect of this season's following is that whilst it will never be described as a vintage season, Blackpool have been more watchable this year than they have in the last three. At least they have a manager who largely knows what he's doing and has players who are stepping up to the plate. It may well be this side manages only a mid-table season and has enjoyed moderate success in the cup competitions, but at least it's a damn sight better than it has been. After the disappointment of defeat against Luton, Bowyer did change things playing a 3-5-2 bringing back the unlucky Will Aimson (still one of Blackpool's better players who has spent far too long on the bench). The Seasiders were the better of the two sides and some quality efforts from Potts and Vassell required an equally good save from the Barnsley keeper Adam Davies whilst Sam Slocombe denied Conor Hourihane at the death. An entertaining cup tie which deserved more home support but in the current climate understandably lacked that (and who knows the difference that vintage Bloomfield Road roar could have made).
So Blackpool will be in the hat for the fourth round of the FA Cup but as Jim Bowen used to say it could well be a case of "look what you could have won" as they head to Barnsley the underdogs in the replay. Another game where even away support will be lacking and the Oakwell crowd will give their players an advantage from the start. The goalless outcome doesn't reflect the entertainment value of this game however the empty seats told it's own story.
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