13th June 2019, Blackpool Football Club managed to finally get a new owner. That man was Blackpool fan and businessman Simon Sadler, who acquired the club from the receivers of Blackpool after the toxic ownership of Owen Oyston and chairmanship of son Karl Oyston ended on 25th February 2019. So the question is, are things better for Blackpool now?
If you search the word “Oyston Out” on Google you will be inundated with protest movements, shambolic behaviour from owners and the news that they are no longer involved with Blackpool. The name is no longer said around the club (apart from a chant about how great it is they are not there anymore) and any existence that they stripped the club to the point of humiliation have been forgotten. The fans are looking to the future and with Simon Sadler at the helm the future is certainly bright.
In the summer of 2019 things started moving quite quickly for Blackpool and it was announced that on 5th July, manager Terry McPhillips resigned from his position after he decided he no longer wanted to be in management and a day later former Blackpool manager Simon Grayson took charge. They were not the only changes as 13 new arrivals came to Bloomfield Road in the summer transfer window as Grayson looked to build on a 10th place finish last season.
On the non-playing side things were starting to run like a normal club for example new grass was laid for the new season, Blackpool were to have a reserve team again, new shirts with local sponsorships promoting the town and a local mental health organization.
It hasn’t just been the start of the season bounce from Sadler, he has invested in a new education centre through the Community Trust, he appointed Ben Mansford as the new CEO of the club, has plans in place for the 10 year old temporary East Stand and wants work done on the wretched training facilities.
Sadler is more than just lip service, he delivers and knows what the Blackpool fans want. In a recent poll regarding owners, Blackpool went from having the worst owner in the football league to having the fifth best in the country. The thing about Sadler is that he is a breath of fresh air and everything is transparent with him. It is so refreshing after years of pernicious ownership from the Oystons that the loyal fans of Blackpool are able to be excited by their team again.
Currently, Blackpool are languishing in the table after a horrific slump in form (alongside a lot of stodgy performances) and there are certain fans that are wanting Sadler to make his first “big” call as owner and sack manager Grayson. However, it looks unlikely that Sadler will make any gung ho decisions but things on the playing side must improve especially with the investment made in the winter transfer window by Sadler as Blackpool secured ten new players (including signing James Husband on a free and renewing Ben Heneghan’s loan deal).
Sadler and his team are putting things right at the club and there is a spirit around Blackpool that has not been there for many years; even with Premier League football. There is a sense of community, a togetherness that makes the town and club so special. People want to talk about Blackpool FC again and in a positive manner this time. You are seeing children wearing tangerine again and despite being in League One, the club have got attendances back up to a league average and the future generation want to be part of the club.
Ask any Blackpool fan and what would they say about Simon Sadler? Their answer would probably be “he knows what we are after.”