Friday, 19 December 2014

Cherry Chimes talks to fellow seasiders Measured Progress

Rival Lines
Match Preview

Blackpool v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Measured Progress

Cherry chimes talks to Chris Walker author of Measured Progress (an independent Blackpool fans' podcast and blogger) about Blackpool FC ahead of the match against AFCB. I am not sure that Measured Progress is what many Tangerine fans will have made of this season but the season still has some way to go yet and these seasiders will want to see some improvement to keep their team in the Championship. If Lee Clark has his way then they may yet have a rollercoaster of a season.

CC: Was the lack of preparations in getting a squad together quickly over the summer the main reason why Blackpool sit at the bottom of the league or can you name some other ones?

MP: The state of chaos in which we entered the new season is obviously the main reason for our current predicament. There was a large exodus of players at the end of the previous campaign and seemingly little urgency in replacing them. It took until June just to get Josรฉ Riga appointed and it seems he and chairman Karl Oyston were divided on transfer policy from the off - quite what was agreed during the interview process is anyone's guess. When the players did finally begin to trickle through the door, the quality of them left a lot to be desired and Riga claims the majority were selected by the chairman rather than him. Regardless, a lot of poor and unfit players could never be thrown together into a winning team overnight and it's no surprise at all that we're propping up the rest of the Championship.

CC: Since Lee Clark has come in Blackpool the team has started to pick up points, and you finally got that clean sheet and a win against Birmingham, so is the mood changing among the fans and do you rate Lee Clark as a manager?

MP: Lee Clark wasn't exactly given a warm welcome bearing in mind his failure at Birmingham and the affection many had for Riga, but his results so far have shown a slight upturn in the club's fortunes. Then again, it's not exactly comparing apples with apples. Clark has had the benefit of a squad closer to the fitness levels required and has been able to acquire extra quality with the likes of Jacob Murphy, Chris Eagles and Jamie O'Hara. Even with the improvement though, the gap to safety is still a big one and for all the draws we've had recently, only winning matches will drag us out of this mess.

CC: As Lee Clark has already brought a lot of players in on loan are you hopeful of escaping from the relegation places with the squad you have rather than spending in January ?

MP: One of the big problems that Clark faces is that a good chunk of the current starting XI aren't even contracted beyond the middle of January, be it due to expiry of their loans or the short-term deals they signed on. That's not to say that they're all worth keeping however, and Clark would be wise to hang onto the better ones and supplement those with stronger options. There's no way this current group has what it takes to avoid relegation so we will need to dip into the transfer market yet again - crazy really when we've already used well over 30 players this season.

CC: I have to throw this one in - I do apologise (well not really). Are you bringing any tennis balls later in the season at the reverse fixture at Dean Court?

MP: No, I think the tennis balls were a one off thing, but I would imagine protests of one form or another will continue, especially if relegation starts to look even more inevitable than it already does. The best protests are the ones that capture the imagination and don't put anyone in danger so the tennis balls were effective for gaining media coverage of our plight. There's clearly a lot wrong with our club and it's telling that fans have been driven to such lengths while the owners are enjoying the benefits of the Premier League money at the club's expense.

CC: The fans seem to take to Jose Riga even if Chairman Karl Oyston was keen to move him on, but do you think Riga was was really one of the better managers you have had in recent years?

MP: Riga remains something of an enigma all told. What a lot of fans admired him for was his openness in speaking out against the problems he encountered. Previous managers, and indeed the existing one, have been accused of being an Oyston stooge at some point or another, but Riga was determined to stand up for himself. It was a conflict that was only going to end in one result though, and his departure was only surprising in that it didn't happen sooner. As for the football under him, he had both arms tied behind his back so it's virtual impossible to accurately rate his ability from what he did at Bloomfield Road.

CC: Home crowds have still been around 12,000 so which players in your team can really make a difference now that those fans are hoping to see do well?

MP: Well, the crowds may be announced as being around 12,000, but any regular inside Bloomfield Road would cast strong doubt on those figures, with the stands looking emptier and emptier with each passing week. As for the key players, the aforementioned Eagles, Murphy and O'Hara have the best technique in the squad, while Steven Davies knows where the net is if a good opportunity comes his way.

CC: Is it heart-breaking to see Tom Ince on loan at Nottingham Forest rather than come and help Blackpool out?

MP: Tom Ince is an unusual case. For so long, he was a very exciting player and almost equally importantly came across as a genuinely nice lad. However, that all changed once his father got the job and tried to build the team around "my Thomas". Ince's performances suffered and he began to sulk and let his ego get out of control. There's not much affection for Ince Jnr any more due to his tantrums and many 'Pool fans will be pleased to see him failing. One thing's for sure, until he corrects his attitude, he will never be the player he once promised to be.

CC: Lee Clark says he'll take a rollercoaster ride on 'The Big One' if Blackpool stay up. So will you go an give him some support on the day and do you fancy doing a similar challenge?

MP: At this point survival still looks fairly remote, so one suspects any over the top challenge could be selected as the chances of having to carry out the forfeit are highly unlikely. I'll be staying away from the Big One though - I never really was one with a head for heights!

CC: I don't think Blackpool have won away yet, (unless you beat Charlton before the AFCB game) but you have won a couple at home so what is your prediction when the Tangerines take on the Cherries at Bloomfield - are we in for a shock?

MP: Despite the fact we're unbeaten in four, you couldn't really say we've played particularly well in any of those games, with scrappy battling being the order of the day. It'll be similar on Saturday and aided by our rapidly disintegrating pitch. I'd predict an ugly game and a 0-0 to continue our unbeaten run seems feasible.

CC: Many thanks to Chris Walker for putting those Blackpool FC answers together for us. The match against Blackpool may be top against bottom, but I expect a typical Championship match with both teams fired up to really entertain and go for the win. I can't see the points being shared in a draw it will be a win either way I am sure and much will depend on how AFCB react to after their mid-week game and how much they want to stay at the top of the Championship. Desire is everything in these games and it promises to be a cracking match for those who make the trip up north. Perhaps some of you can also test out the Big One just so that you can let Lee Clark know if he is in for an easy ride later in May. 

Make sure you hop over to Measured Progress where you can do some further spying on the opposition and learn more about how Blackpool have been doing in recent weeks.

All Departments has been busy reviewing the Capital One Quarter Final between AFCB v Liverpool. You can listen by visiting the All Departments' website or by scrolling down on the Cherry Chimes site to the All Departments' sound bar where you can also listen back. 

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