The Best Man for the Job?
By Editor
Monday 10 Sep 2018 21:01:00
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'The Impossible job' has claimed many victims over the years. Some have been pushed, others have jumped whilst a few have just given up. When Gary Bowyer threw the towel in for 'family reasons' (having no budget, training facilities, odious bosses, patience worn thin), it should really have sent the club further in to the downward spiral of decline. The squad he'd assembled over summer seemed woefully short of quality and experience, he was clearly frustrated by the Curtis Tilt transfer and after two years of working with the Oyston family, despite some success, he went down the same route as the likes of Holloway, Grayson and McMahon and came to the end of a very tolerant tether. So, the appointment of Terry McPhillips has become an unlikely positive.

When the list of candidates emerged, the bookies received an influx of bets, not on who the new manager would be, but on the Seasiders relegation. As soon as Owen Coyle threw his hat in the ring, eyes rolled and heads dropped. He was followed suprpisingly by Richie Wellens and Gary Taylor-Fletcher. In many ways the fact they both threw their hats in the ring was disappointing. Both knew the reputation and history of the owners and yet both chose to defy fans advice and put themselves forward for consideration. Thankfully for both they dodged a budget. The other names hardly instilled confidence - Gary Caldwell, Keith Curle and Paul Heckingbottom whilst the unlikely names of Holloway and Grayson were also thrown in. Apparently there were up to a thousand applicants, not that the Oyston family have ever been prone to exagerration, although the calbire of applicant probably reflects what a basket case club we are, where everyone must have felt they had a chance.

Whilst the Oyston family plunged the club in to another farce, in the background McPhillips just got on with things. Initially not caring who got the job, whilst ruling himself out, the home defeat to Portsmouth must have felt like the death knell for his Blackpool career. However, he clearly learnt his trade from a wily operator and instilled many of the qualities that his predecesor brought. It's highly unusual that anyone remains a caretaker manager for 9 games, especially when they win four of those games and lose just one. He also brought in some decent additions, made some bold team selections, won the backing of players and eventually became the fans choice. Even in accepting the job, his first thought was with those who supported him saying "I've got to say a real big thank you to the staff and players because the staff have really backed us and worked their socks off, and the players have shown the spirit and camarderie that we've got". In many ways, it's a continuation of the work that Bowyer has done, defying the odds and the shambolic way the club is run to get the results the players deserve.

It takes a certain type of manager to manage Blackpool. There are many who fall at the first hurdle, not being able to work within the constraints of the Oystons, some get by and muddle through and remarkably there are those who enjoy a modicum of success. Whatever McPhillips does from this moment on, it's hard to judge him with a club that lacks direction, investment and most of all fans. If the Oyston family remain in charge, the chances are no matter what he does on the pitch, El Tel will eventually succumb to the same fate as many of his predecessors. However, if he can prove himself in the short term, then the long term gains under new owners might pay dividends. In many ways, he might be about to reap what Gary Bowyer sowed.

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