Friday evening is a game which a lot of people around the footballing world won’t be paying all too much attention to, especially considering Chelsea face Arsenal in a mouth-watering clash at the Bridge on Sunday.
However, Blackpool v Cardiff is a game certainly worth watching, if you can. Perhaps not for the footballing side of it, but for what may happen off the field, considering the chaos that has surrounded the two clubs over the past 24 months.
Cardiff have famously made headlines after Vincent Tan changed the club’s crest and colours in 2012, from their traditional blue to red, the main colour of the club’s home nation, Wales.
He also, perhaps unjustly at the time, sacked then boss Malky Mackay, who had earned promotion with the Bluebirds in what was a solid campaign in the 2012/13 season. Cardiff then appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer midway through their Premier League Campaign, but were unable to avoid relegation back to the Championship. Solskjaer was sacked in September. Many Cardiff supporters remain defiant and wear their proud blue colours at home and away games, gallantly refusing to accept the club’s colour change and new identity. Cardiff remain largely in debt through loans owed to club owner Vincent Tan; a figure that hasn’t been confirmed up to now.
Blackpool, on the other hand, are debt-free! However, they are run like a club in administration – chairman Karl Oyston subtly agreed to this outlook in an interview with Football Focus.
Since their promotion and relegation to and from the Premier League, things looked up for the Seasiders. They almost returned to the big time at the first attempt, but fell short to a West Ham side that Blackpool fans will argue should have been beaten. Still, they had excellent starts in the last two seasons, but suffered bad form towards the business end of both, and it has gotten even worse to date. Blackpool have played eleven games in league and cup and won none of them, drawn three and lost eight. In fact, they have only managed three wins in the last ten months.
To add to the problems on the pitch, millions of pounds have been transferred out of the club into companies owned by the Oyston family, which is the football equivalent of daylight murder. Despite Cardiff’s entire identity being altered, fans on the Fylde Coast would say the Bluebirds are in a better position.
Putting it in to practice
Blackpool fans are planning to make the most of the Sky coverage to voice their thoughts on the current regime, just like they did against Burnley in April, which certainly got people talking.
The feeling around Bloomfield Road is that there are too many fans who are quite apathetic towards the situation and won’t be joining in with the demonstrations, which is quite unbelievable considering the way Blackpool are currently being run and the current run of form. It may only take a few hundred fans and some banners to get a strong message across, but if the foot was on the other shoe, Cardiff fans in their thousands would be up in arms and making a lot of noise.
There seem to be many on the Fylde Coast who are reluctant to speak up, which is a shame for a football club dying on its feet. Many fans from both teams, Blackpool especially, will be wondering why The Football League or the Football Association have had very little to say on the situation these clubs are in. We can only wonder…
Friday evening’s game will be a showcase of pure money and all things wrong in football. The same can be said for Chelsea and Arsenal on Sunday, but these are two clubs based in the football league with rich footballing histories, without the need for major finances, who are being stripped of all the things that make them unique.
Watch Blackpool v Cardiff on Sky Sports 1 at 19:45 on Friday.