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There appears no end in sight to Blackpool’s dramas on and off the field so the Tangerines are attractively priced at odds of +220 with Ladbrokes to be relegated from English League One and continue their fall down the pyramid.
Five years ago Blackpool was playing in the English Premier League and pitting itself against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United on a regular basis. Gaining promotion to the top flight proved to be a curse rather than a blessing, though. Blackpool’s stay among the elite lasted one season and, after competing for an immediate return to the first division in the 2010-2011 season, things have gone from bad to worse to much, much worse for the Tangerines.
Blackpool was the laughing stock of English football last term. Then Blackpool boss Jose Riga had only 15 registered players for his team’s English Championship opener against Nottingham Forest and two of them were teenagers called up from its youth academy. Blackpool did not win any of its first 10 league matches and it ended the season with a record of 4-14-28 and a goal difference of minus 55 – the Tangerines finished 20 points adrift of safety and that was in spite of 21st-placed Rotherham having points deducted. Blackpool did not make it past the first round of any cup competition, either. Blackpool was so poor that supporters of its biggest rival, Preston, got bored of making jokes.
Ladbrokes is taking a position that Blackpool will not have another season to forget, offering much longer odds about the Tangerines going down from English League One than any of its competitors in the bookmaking game – William Hill, for example, has them at odds of 2.38 to be relegated.
But the signs of the Magic Sign being right are not good. Blackpool’s friendly versus local non-league side Lancaster had to be abandoned 15 minutes from full time as a result of a pitch invasion. Blackpool fans congregated in the centre circle to protest against Tangerines chairman Karl Oyston, whose family has controlled the Bloomfield Road since the late 1980s. Blackpool supporters and the Oystons are not going to see eye to eye any time soon – if ever – so the atmosphere at Tangerines matches is likely to be toxic throughout the upcoming English League One competition. Also, remember that Blackpool’s last English Championship game before its relegation did not run its full distance because Tangerines fans invaded the pitch to protest.
Riga and his mid-season successor, Lee Clark, have gone and Blackpool’s manager for the start of its first English League One campaign since the 2006-2007 season is Neil McDonald, a 49-year-old Englishman with Preston on his playing resume and not much success on his coaching one. McDonald played more than 30 times for Preston during three years on North End’s books – Blackpool supporters will use that against him at the first sign of trouble. McDonald was Carlisle boss for one season in which the Cumbrians had an English League Two record of 19-14-18 – he was sacked.
English League One has four relegation places and it is hard to see anything other than Blackpool being stuck towards the foot of its 24-team ladder. At this time last year Blackpool was prohibitively priced for relegated from England’s second tier – the horse had bolted. Fortunately, Ladbrokes wants to take a stand on Blackpool’s prospects this time around and, therefore, one can get set at +220 . No half-decent player will want to sign for Blackpool until its crisis ends and, frankly, there does not appear to be much chance of that.
Blackpool to be relegated from League One
Where to Bet: Ladbrokes
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