Reality Check
By Editor
Sunday 13 Oct 2019 10:04:00
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Anyone remember that embarrassing defeat to Gillingham at home on the final day of last season? Well six of the players who played that day feaured for the Seasiders in their 2-1 defeat to Rotherham at the weekend reflecting the fact that whilst we have a new owner and manager, the personell on the pitch hasn't changed that much. If Turton had been fit on the last day and Thompson had played against the Millers that would have taken numbers up to 8 and if you don't include the keeper, there's not much new in the Blackpool side. We lost Bola, who could've made a real difference this season, and if you look at the players who have come in, there's only really James Husband and Jay Alnwick who have cemented their place in the team. The fact is the late appointment of Grayson, through circumstances rather than blame, has resulted in us still having that mid-table side we had last season.

Whilst Blackpool got off to a flying start, the last half dozen games have been more reflective of where we're up to. Of course the absence of Thompson, Kaikai and Delfouenso hasn't helped but the reality is we had a poor transfer window where we seemingly added players for the sake of it rather than what we needed. A lack of goals has been a recurring problem and, whilst they came with great reviews from Blackburn and Rangers fans, Joe Nuttall and Ryan Hardie weren't going to be an immediate solution. The reliance on Armand Gnanduillet, who remember wasn't meant to be a Blackpool player before his departure to Baroka FC was thwarted, has made us one dimensional in attack and even his biggest fans must concede he hasn't been at his best. The fact that Anthony Evans was getting regular starts at the end of last season showed another obvious gap in this side. We have been lacking that creative box to box midfielder for a number of seasons now and whilst Thompson is growing in to a decent player, he is not the answer. Spearing, Virtue and Guy combined to make an ineffective midfield the last two games and have lead to a complete reliance on Liam Feeney doing all the groundwork (on the other side Sean Scannell seems well short of match fitness and sharpness).

Whilst Grayson attempts to sort these problems out, he still has the problem of a defence that is always prone to a mistake. Husband not picking up his man for Rotherham's first and the indecisiveness of the whole side for their second showed how easily we're undone (the goals conceded againt MK Dons another example). Teams know if they get the first goal against us, Blackpool have few ideas of how to strike back immediately and actually leave themselves open to any counter attack as they attempt to pass their way to an equaliser. However, maybe the most striking thing about this side is their inability to play entertaining football, which after four years away was what the majority of fans wanted. Whist promotion under Simon Sadler in his first season would have been welcome, in truth, we all know this is a work in progress and it's just good to be back. However, the departure of so many fans on 85 minutes yesterday was as much about not wanting to sit and watch anymore of a dire second half as it was Rotherham had scored a second. Whilst walking out is divisive, it is also a reminder to owner and manager that fans need to have something to come back for week after week and what we're being served at the moment is, for large parts of the game, pretty unpalatable. Of course the return of players will be welcome but it feels it'll be more like a sticking plaster than a solution.

It's also worth remembering that League One is actually quite poor and no wonder fans of the bigger clubs in this division get frustrated at their inability to get out. Head tennis, poor passing and pedestrian style football have all been a reminder of what this league is like. With investment in the right players and an attacking and entertaining style of football, you'll win more than you lose in this league. In fairness to both Sadler and Grayson, neither really had the opportunity to get the players we needed by the time they'd arrived at the club and so, for now, we might have to batten down the hatches and get to that window opening again in January. Even then, this will be a rebuilding process that might not come to fruition until next season or the one after, but in the meantime fans need to be entertained and there is enough in this squad not to have to sit through another MK Dons, Bolton or Rotherham game.  

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