Five Bosmans who would look good in tangerine

Nobody knows what goes on in a football manager’s head, least of all Ian Holloway’s. But picking the next set of likely signings is a fun parlour game on a June afternoon when the temperature’s hovering around 30 here in Hong Kong. These are not neccessarily the top five free transfer players available, just a few who might fill a hole with the likes of Charlie Adam and David Vaughan possibly moving on…

The keeper; Joe Murphy, 29, Scunthorpe United
Why he might; Always had solid games against us and been one of Scunthorpe’s better performers on their couple of trips to The Championship. A big man with a big mouth, he’d a Republic of Ireland international with 300 league games under his belt
Why he might not; Likely to have options, with Coventry City reportedly looking at him as a replacement for Keiren Westwood. Involved in a mass brawl that earned him his marching orders in an entertaining game at Bloomers in the Colin Hendry era

The Knobber; Billy Jones, 24, Preston North End
Why he might; Would annoy that lot down the road almost as much as a certain aeroplane and a Countdown conundrum. Would be even more effective, as it wouldn’t involve them being capable of reading. A stylish, composed player from the Dario Gradi school who still has youth on his side, despite seemingly being around forever. Can fill in across the defence and midfield.
Why he might not; While his versatility is an asset, his favoured position is right-back, possibly the only position where Blackpool are remotely well stocked, with Neil Eardley, Alex Baptiste and Chris Basham all under contract and capable of playing there. And it might be too late

The Olly old boy; David Norris, 30, Ipswich Town
Why he might: Starred for Plymouth under Holloway. Consistent, all-action midfielder who can pass, tackle and cover ground …. a fitting replacement for player-of-the-season David Vaughan, if, heaven forbid, he goes
Why he might not: Was umming and erring over including him on that list as a move to Portsmouth seemed nailed on, but now that seems a good deal less certain. Of course, if Vaughan re-signs as we all hope he will, then he may not be a priority

The wild card;
Derek Riordan, 28, Hibernian
Why he might: A player with bags of flair, who could play anywhere across the frontline or behind the three strikers. Good for a goal every three games and would surely relish the chance to play in England
Why he might not: Never far from controversy off the field, and struggled in his last spell away from Hibs with Celtic. May not be quite the dressing room influence Olly is looking for

The fox-in-the-box; David Nugent, 26, Portsmouth
Why he might; May be one of the more unlikely players to have won a cap for England, but has always scored goals at this level. Was a phone call away from joining Blackpool last year and Olly clearly has an interest
Why he might not: Likely to attract decent interest and decent offers, and could always stay at Pompey

Bubbling under: Westwood of Coventry is one of a few who might choose the Premier League over Bloomfield Road. Marcus Hahnemann is a good keeper but, at 38, is a bit old. Giles Barnes of West Brom is exciting but inconsistent. Cardiff’s Chris Burke and Jay Bothroyd are also top-flight bound, in England or Scotland. Barnsley’s ex-Preston man Matt Hill might be worth a look if Stephen Crainey goes.

Next week, in the next blog in association with Blackpool Vital, we’ll take a look at five Championship fixtures worth getting excited about

Five moments that cost Blackpool FC their place in the Premier League

11 June 2009 – Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United for Real Madrid
How could Blackpool be relegated a year before they were promoted? In the way only Blackpool could. You see, Ronaldo was the man who often got United through a tough test, especially away from home. His departure paved the way for Chelsea to win the title at a gallop, prompting them to dump some of the veterans who’d helped them to the title – in short, the best two teams in the country got downright worse over a couple of years. And that showed in the league table. Manchester United took 90 points and Liverpool and Chelsea were in the mid-80s. By implication, that meant the bottom clubs did worse. The 39 points Blackpool won would’ve been good for 16th place. By contrast, this season the champions managed only 80 points. The top four dropped points to everyone in the division … bar Blackpool. The departure of Ronaldo was the trigger.

Saturday 14 August 2010 – Blackpool beat Wigan Athletic 4-0
Wondering how a 4-0 away victory over your relegation rivals could possibly be a downer? Well, of course, it couldn’t. It set off a giddy chain of unbelievable form that really only ended in February, with a 3-1 home defeat to the division’s worse side, West Ham. But did the victory, or rather the manner of it, mask a litany of deficiencies? Wigan were poor, but still had decent chances before Gary Taylor-Fletcher scored Blackpool’s first Premiership goal. Would more have been spent – or money spent differently – had the picture been a bit less rosey? Was enough doine to integrate a flurry of new signings? Did the fans get complacent?

31 January 2011 – transfer deadline day
The one most fans – at least those who frequent message boards and mailing lists – seem to pick out! A few wobbly moments had given cause for doubt, despite an exhilerating start to the campaign. But despite a slew of signings in the transfer window, only loanee Jason Puncheon made a major impact in the closing months of the season. And there seemed to be a shadow over star man Charlie Adam – although he more than showed his worth in the last three games of the campaign. There are the usual moans – not without justification – that chairman Karl Oyston was sat on a fat wallet of Premiership cash that, if opened, could have delivered a more positive impact. Quantity wasn’t the problem, but the truth is that James Beattie, Segei Kornilenko, Andy Reid and Salaheddine Sbai delivered little. Perhaps one or two more expensive, or more imaginative buys would have delivered more – and still would be next season, unlike the above, all of whom have left.

Approx 4.50pm, Saturday 19 March 2011
Leading 2-1 at Ewood Park, deep into injury time, it seemed Blackpool were about to drag Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers deep into the relegation mix. Brilliance by Charlie Adam (we’ll ignore the highly dubious penalty) had put Blackpool in control, and the seconds were ticking away. Enter Richard Kingson. The keeper had enthralled for Ghana in the World Cup and beguiled since replacing the injured Matt Gilks. But he never looked at all confident under the high ball. Victory would have given Blackpool momentum. The draw felt like a defeat, not to mention a kick in the teeth. Typically, Kingson plays like a star for his country against England at Wembley a few days later. He took his leave of Blackpool this week.

Approx 4.11pm, Sunday 22 May
Yep, that’s right. The moment Gary Taylor-Fletcher put the Seasiders ahead at Old Trafford. Sure, it took ‘Pool two places outside the relegation zone – but was it worth it? Was going ahead exactly the wrong thing to do at that moment in time? It seemed to galvanise – well – everyone. United looked annoyed to be behind. Birmingham hit back at Tottenham (albeit fruitlessly) and Wolves realised they needed to get back into their home game with Blackburn. Would it have been better to hold on to the point, wait a little while, maybe nicked one at the end. But the moment passed. It’s all memories now, the result’s in the record books and ‘Pool are in the Championship. Still, we’ll always have Wigan

This is the first in a semi-regular series, BTW (meaning it’ll probably be the last)

Title decider? Nah, not really

With Blackpool FC firmly ensconsed in the Champions League places and Ian Holloway being rightly tipped as a future manager of England, a few people are touting this weekend’s Super Sunday clash with Chelsea as an early six-pointer in the title race.

I’m afraid I’m not among them. You won’t find me getting carried away . . .

after all, there’s no certainty Chelsea will still be up there by next May.

On a serious note – best wishes to Seasiders youth coach, Gary Parkinson. He only played a handful of games for Blackpool, but his performance in the first leg of the play-offs with Hartlepool, a key game in Blackpool’s revival, will live long in the memory. He’s been a good servant off the field as well and his stroke has come at a time when it seemed his hard work with the youth set-up was bearing real fruit.

Get well soon Parky!

What if you called an election and nobody came?

DID someone say there was an election on? You could quite easily miss it.
Driving around Blackpool (home to two tight marginal seats) I’ve seen two election posters. Count ’em, two. Both for Conservative candidate Ron Bell, a local councillor and former serviceman.
Impressive they were too, taking up the full garden of a medium-sized semi, wth the candidate’s face beaming out like that of Chairman Mao in a communist propaganda frieze. The only question is, who’s paying for them….
Not a single leaflet has fallen through the door since polling was announced. In fact the only campaign literature in recent months has been a two-sides-of-A4 missive from Ukip’s Hamish Howitt.
In what is surely a first for his party, the word Europe isn’t mentioned in a lengthy invictive about council waste, seemingy typeset in Microsoft Publisher, without the aid of a spellchecker.
Driving around – on the long road to Barrow a couple of times a week and on an ultimately unhappy jaunt up to Newcastle on Saturday, evidence of a Labour campaign is in short supply – although an impressive display of orange lines the A6 and A590 through Westmorland and Lonsdale, where Lib Dem Tim Farron looks likely to be re-elected. Evenly-spaced Tory posters in fields give an impression of strength but reflect the views of only a handful of voters.
At the risk of sounding prematurely aged, it’s all a stark contrast to he elections of the 80s and even the 90s, the days when things could only get better.
Take 1992. Turnout reached 77.4 per cent and John Major’s Tories won more votes than any party before – or, for that matter – since. Will any party break the 10 million vote barrier this time? It’s unlikey – Major’s Tories got 14 million.
There was a sense that the election mattered – just as there was in 1997. You couldn’t escape it even if you wanted to, ’cause the parties brought it right to your door.
Now, it seems, the ground war, the phalanax of canvassers, the leafletters, the knocking up operation, have become part of history. The air war – fought through mass media and staged events like tonight’s leader’s debate has taken over.
And, as every generations pass, the politicians become even more remote, and politics becomes something other people do. It’s a dangerous path, and the politicians – from the local councillor to the next PM – need to start burning up some shoe leather… urgently.