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Blackpool fiasco is a blot on the Premier League

The big freeze may have cost Manchester United it’s place at the top of the table simply because Blackpool’s 110 year old Bloomfield Road Stadium is the only one in the Premier League not equipped with an undersoil heating system. The disruption and inconvenience caused by that postponement should not be acceptable in this day and age. United and its fans happened to be the ones to suffer this weekend but it could have just as easily been any other club.

Let’s not be too critical of Blackpool however, after all, their own fans cannot be overly thrilled with their Saturday evening plans being put into cold storage. While the Tangerines have to shoulder some of the responsibility, the Premier League itself must also accept much of the blame for the lack of foresight which led to such an avoidable outcome for all parties – one which does not need to be repeated.

Promoted clubs to the Premiership are rewarded with a reported £30million for their success. Birmingham City recently spent £300,000 to install undersoil heating at St Andrews – just 1% of the jackpot they received for getting into the Premier League. Can that be regarded as anything but a wise investment?

It may sound like a simplistic question but how difficult will it be for the Premier League to make it compulsory for promoted clubs to spend such a fraction of their new found wealth into installing an undersoil heating system unless one already exists? Is it not just as basic a requirement as having a floodlit stadium?

But there has to be hope. Lessons will surely be learned from this fiasco – by Blackpool itself, any other promoted club and most importantly, by the Premier League. It has to recognise that certain basic requirements are simply a must for the self proclaimed biggest, most watched domestic league competition in the world. Anything less simply becomes an embarrassment.

Remember, a measly, lousy ONE% of the promotion jackpot is all that’s required for clubs to become part of 2010!

Should it be compulsory for EVERY Premier League club to have undersoil heating?

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No Responses to “Blackpool fiasco is a blot on the Premier League”

  1. David says:

    You self righteous bastards. You know people stopped caring what Man Utd fan’s thought quite some time ago. You should be grateful that your side got a breather, I mean what with the weather and all, the WD40 delivery didn’t get through so Rio, Ryan and Pauls knee’s would have been squeeking anyway.
    Look, not all clubs have the money Man Utd have so just have a bit of humility guys.
    Besides it will give you some time to protest against the people who own your club, not a problem we have; of course we aren’t owned by ugle American Jews!

  2. Karl says:

    “Blackpool’s 110 year old Bloomfield Road Stadium” I like what you’ve done there, it makes the average reader automatically believe that the stadium is some Victorian relic with wooden seats and cinders spread round the perimeter of the field. In reality Bloomfield Road has been rebuilt in less than 8 years, with the last stand only going up 3 months ago, so much more modern than Old Trafford!

    Yes it’s disappointing the match didn’t go ahead for both sets of fans for very different reasons, it’s the biggest fixture in the Premier League calendar for Blackpool fans and for United fans it was a chance to go top of the table. But let’s not forget that Birmingham City, who were mention in the article, Britain’s no. 2 city, have only just managed to install the undersoil heating. Blackpool 9 years ago were 4th division, they have come such a long way on and off the pitch, maybe compared to Manchester United they are still a long, long way off, but the essential improvements required to get the ground up to Premier League standards, the First Aid facilities, the Press Area and the building of a new stand, took priority pre-season.

    The £300,000 mooted for the undersoil heating was not sat in a bank account at Bloomfield Road, with the other £88m gained from promotion, but is drip fed over 4 years. Only a small amount is forthcoming in the first few months of promotion, all of which (and more) was spent on the mandatory improvements. I wish you well for the rest of the season.

  3. trev says:

    Although i do agree, however Blackpool had to invest heavily in upgrading its stadium as it wasn’t up to standards.

    Without the stand being upgraded and seating installed they wouldnt have been alowed into the prem.

    I assume all their investment went into that!

    Missing 1 of 2 games in a season isnt that much and i dont feel we can put too much blame on these kind of clubs.

  4. Ray says:

    I would like to point out a few important facts out so your article isnt so one sided
    1. Premier league rules state undersoil heating is not requirement in your FIRST season in the prem.
    2. Blackpool will have to put undersoil heating in this summer coming for there second season in the prem.
    3. Blackpool had to build a new stand with press facilitys in the summer so they could abide by prem rules thus leaving no space not time to put undersoil heating in.
    4. Blackpool had frost covers on and spent alot of money shipping in hot air blowers to keep the ground playable.
    5. The ref called the game of, not because the pitch was unplayable it was because the pitch would freeze during the game thus abbandoning the game mid way through.

    these facts all you united fans seem to miss becaue you all thing your more important because you are the great ones

  5. FDF says:

    What we all suffered from here was a referee making a premature call. I understand the pitch was perfectly playable yesterday, but the ref had made the call on Friday, presumably so that Man U fans travelling from the south wouldn’t be inconvenienced. Non of that is anything to do with Blackpool, so kindly do one.

  6. Frank Scicluna says:

    Come on guys, let’s not blow this matter out of all proportion. The whole point of the article was for the Premier League to alter the rules so that undersoil heating becomes a necessity from year one instead of from the second season. It will be for the benefit of every club in the League – including Blackpool itself in this case, and most importantly, for their fans.

  7. Graeme says:

    Yes you`re correct it isn`t right that in this day and age a game at this level should be postponed because of a frozen pitch.But it equally isn`t right that Manchester United should be allowed to go almost £1 BILLION in debt and still be allowed to continue to play football at all!!!
    Accrington Stanley were almost wound up last year over a £400k debt…was that right?
    The trouble with many Man Utd fans these days(and many other Prem clubs fans) is they have lost all sense of perspective,because sadly Manchester United isn`t a REAL football club anymore,it`s just a money-making monster(sic!)that lost it`s soul a long time ago now.But still, as long as there`s 75,000 clowns prepared to come through the gates every other week who gives a toss eh?!

  8. Petty article.

    The whole under-soil heating issue is a red herring – I’ve done a blog on it from a ‘Pool perspective: http://upthepool.blogspot.com/2010/12/man-utd-postponement-avoidable.html

  9. Tom Addison says:

    Graeme, that’s an awfully naive comment. Accrington Stanley were wound up because they couldn’t meet their debts as and when they fell due. United, with their massive revenue streams, can. What the Glazer’s (who I despise and want out of United) did is called a leveraged buyout, and there’s nothing illegal about it. Yes, it means those bastards are leaching about £50million in interest payments out of United each year (and have leached out about £400m overall so far) so that they can own their own football club one day in what is essentially the biggest buy-to-let scheme in history, but unfortunately there is nothing illegal about it. You can’t say United can’t play football because they’re in a lot of debt. It would be like saying my neighbour can’t go out and work because he’s massively in debt on account of his mortgage. Post credit crunch “debt” has become a dirty word, but a lot of the time it isn’t all that bad. Just think, most new businesses are started up via the acquisition of a loan.

    I’d love to know what a “real” club is, supposedly it goes along the nationalist line of an English owner with English fans etc etc. I’ll agree that, the way things have gone recently, United has lost something, but the irony is that every small club that slags us off is slagging off what they want to become. Clubs want success because the fans do, and we’ve shown the best way of achieving that. The formation of the Premiership, the Champions League, the bumper SKY TV packages, United had the foresight to see how profitable and therefore successful these ideas would be.

    Unfortunately if you don’t put a limit on such things it’s just going to keep getting bigger and bigger, with more and more money sloshing about and working class fans being left behind. Football isn’t an ordinary business and should be treated as such, but don’t think United are the only ones treating the game as a business.

  10. Graeme says:

    Tom Addison: “I’d love to know what a “real” club is, supposedly it goes along the nationalist line of an English owner with English fans etc etc. I’ll agree that, the way things have gone recently, United has lost something, but the irony is that every small club that slags us off is slagging off what they want to become”.

    Well Tom you haven`t had a REAL football club at United for so long now you`ve probably forgotten what it`s like! Maybe a year or two in the lower divisions, like you had in `74, will help bring it all back to you!
    Even Cantona in his last year at United said as much,and that it sickened him the commercial way your club had gone,just in the 5 years he was there.Great,great player,and he still had a heart, a soul and a conscience.
    At least at Blackpool we are keeping things real and fans expectations(for the moment anyway!)are realistic.
    The club is still in it`s traditional home(1899)and money hasn`t been thrown at it in huge, obscene amounts.It`s been built VERY carefully from ten years ago, when we were 2nd bottom of the entire football league,to it`s present state.
    We have had the same owners now for 23 years,and although they are penny-pinching rogues,they`re our penny-pinching rogues!
    We have wage-capping at £10k a week and the players still wash their own kit.It keeps everyone`s feet on the ground and the fans respect them and love them more for it.Let`s face it,coming up with something radical like this was the only way that a town club was going to be able to compete with the mega-rich big City clubs.£10k a week is still an obscene amount of money for kicking a football though isn`t it?!
    We are trying to keep things real and realistic and for the moment we`re doing ok,but I realise it could all go t*ts up very quickly!
    Whatever happens though this season I hope we never lose that’common touch’ with the fans and remain a REAL football club…with a soul.

  11. mark flynn says:

    Barcelona had to make a massive journey to play last nights fixture due to the airport strike.If they did`nt they would have had been docked 3 points and a big fine.Yesterdays match should have been played at old trafford and split the gate money.Games in hand are no use,we were on a high from the blackburn game and its advantage arsenal now.The premier league need to make a list of criteria for teams who get promoted.There is a long winter ahead and this could happen blackpool again.

  12. Tom Addison says:

    Look Graeme, not every club out there can be these adorable little rogues who fulfill all the nostalgic needs of the old-fashioned idealists out there, not if they want to compete for trophies like the Champions League. People/clubs respond to incentives, and if the incentive to win is strong enough, then they will do everything they can to achieve that.

    Although I’m sure this might sound like “typical” United arrogance, the fact is we have the fan base and the foundations to compete at the top level, and so, knowing we have the ability to win trophies, we strive towards it, and that is only possible (without limits on spending there in the first place) by spending money.

    A lot of it may depend on why you go to football. Of course there’s the community and comraderie, but also that you want to see top quality football. Hats off to Blackpool for the way you’ve played football this year, Ian Holloway has really been doing his homework over the years, but at United I can see some of the best around. Berbatov. Genius.

    I think we can all agree that footballers are spoilt, over-paid, prima donna border line rapists, and I actually came close to packing in watching football altogether about 2 years ago on account of all the escapades they get up to.

    I get the points you’re saying about Blackpool, and some of them are commendable. But as we’ve seen with Arsenal, sometimes it’s better to sack off the dewey-eyed tradition in favour of, say, a new stadium, because that will benefit the club and everyone else more in the long run.

    Now I don’t want football to go the way Fifa see to want it to go, plush seats filled in by men in suits with a global TV audience of 400 million. It isn’t the global TV audience that worries me, surely more people watching the game can only be a good thing, right? You can’t prohibit people from watching the beautiful game. What worries me is that “proper” fans won’t be able to afford to go, and in that case yes, a club will lose its soul. It will lose one of its pillars of its foundation, its responsiblity to the community.

    But Blackpool only still have that pillar in place because they don’t have the means and financial clout to knock it down in the first place.

    If, as you seem to imply, the game and the club belongs to the fans (which I’d agree with), then surely the only way we can stop us horrible clubs like United from exploiting everyone is fan ownership (like a Trade Union, not actually running the club) and limits on how much a club can spend. If they can’t spend more than £300m a year, then why bother trying to get that much revenue in the first place? But please, will you smaller clubs stop trying to take the moral high ground? If you were in our position, you’d have done the same thing.

  13. A PNE fan says:

    If you are going to write a blog, then at least write it from a position of knowledge. This article is riddled with ignorance, arrogance, stupidity, a complete lack of knowledge and utter contempt for any club deemed to be smaller than the (so-called) biggest club in the World.
    You have managed to make yourself look like a moron. You have clearly never been to Bloomfield Road, nor Blackpool. I doubt you have ever been to Old Trafford – like the vast majority of so-called United fans who like to bask in glory, spout off their hatred using their vain and shallow support for a football team as a vehicle for thief inadequacies.
    You appear to a ‘man’ with a very shirt knob, you evidently have shit for brains, hatred for anyone with a contrary view of life and you hate everything That is not Man United related.
    You complete saddo!

  14. Frank Scicluna says:

    @ A PNE fan, you went to a lot of trouble to write a lot of words without saying one single thing – except your hatred for anyone and anything Manchester United. At least many of the other contributors made some valid points despite not agreeing with the article. What it suggests is exactly what’s in the Premier League rules ALREADY except that I’m calling for the installation of undersoil heating in the second season rule to be changed to make it compulsory from day one. Is that so outrageous when promoted clubs are rewarded with so many millions? There are certain basic requirements which are an absolute MUST for any club to participate in the Premier League, undersoil heating has to be one of them.

    Incidentally FDF, yes the referee DID make a premature call and he must carry much of the blame but he may have made that decision in the knowledge that the ground did not have heating available. If it did, he could quite easily have decided to allow the game to go ahead.

  15. Tangerine sherlock says:

    I find your view very blinkered, somebody else has already pointed out that your description of the millions is far from the truth and yet you keep bringing it up.

    In the space of 9 weeks from promotion to the start of the season, we as a club had to achieve more important goals that where set by the premiership governing body themselves.

    You mention the other promoted teams have the facility but how many times have WBA for example been up and down and have in time gained millions to be able to get the under soil heating in place.

    Plus under soil heating does not mean the match will go ahead like Bolton last year and Hull yesterday mind you hull have prob turned theirs off to save money.

    Its very easy for the large clubs to say you must have this and must have that, but as a business model the top 6 would have been declared bankrupt or closed down by now.

    our club is run correctly and not always to the liking of all fans, Lets face it the biggest issue here is teams like ours could just show the football world that millions upon millions of pounds is not required and will bring the whole house of cards crashing down.

    which in the end must happen then maybe football can be given back to the true fans and people who love the sport

  16. Frank Scicluna says:

    @Tangerine sherlock, when you say that “somebody else has already pointed out that your description of the millions is far from the truth and yet you keep bringing it up” I can only respond by what was reported on Sky News “Promotion is worth about £90m to Blackpool because of the increased revenue in the Premier League and the improved parachute payments to teams relegated from the top-flight.”

    Of course, that money is not handed to Blackpool in one hit but spread over a number of years. It’s still a hell of a lot of money however. As you pointed out, like many other promoted clubs Blackpool “had to achieve more important goals that where set by the premiership governing body themselves.” and that’s my point. Had I been the one to make the decision at Blackpool, I would have also decided to wait another season because heating WAS NOT compulsory in the first year, therefore nobody is being critical of the club itself.

    The obvious solution is for the Premier League to change it’s second season rule and make it mandatory immediately upon being promoted. If that’s deemed to be “typical Manchester United arrogance” as some have called it, then I plead guilty because as far as I’m concerned it’s no more than basic common sense.

  17. Bill says:

    If the likes of United hadn’t been so greedy breaking away from the Football League and forming the Premier League in order to keep all the TV monies for themselves, then Football League clubs might have a bit more money to build stadiums with under soil heating over the last 20 years or so. It’s poetic justice that United’s greed has indirectly bit them on the bum in this case and now they whinge about it!

  18. RochdaleCol says:

    Alright chaps, so you are telling me that undersoil heating solves all the problems?

    Funny how United’s undersoil heating failed when they played my team, Rochdale, back in 85/86. Not once but TWICE the game was postponed (around the time of a couple of players being out injured) before United won the game at the 3rd attempt 2-0.

    Just checking I’ve got it right ……………

  19. Graeme says:

    Tom:
    I don`t know how long you`ve been watching United,but if you had been watching them say 15 years or more ago you would surely have got more of a kick out of the ‘experience’ than you do now!
    I`ve only seen United twice(and never against Blackpool).First time was at Stamford Bridge in 1985 and you won 2-1 with Sparky getting both.There were 10,000 United fans there that day in a crowd of 44,000…and it was pay on the gate! I was down in London a lot in the mid 80`s because my girlfriend(now wife) was doing her nurse training at St.Bart`s and we always took a game in somewhere over the weekend.That weekend it was Chelsea v ManU and I was in the Shed wearing my old `Pool wool bar scarf,surrounded by bemused cockneys!
    United were still a real club in those days,as were Chelsea to be fair.
    The second time I saw United was at OT in the mid 90`s just after you signed Andy Cole and that day you beat Arsenal 3-0.The experience though from the 80`s one had changed considerably and was much more slick and manufactured.
    What intrigues me now though about fans of clubs like ManU and Chelsea is what gets you excited now? The Prem is a two horse, or possibly three horse race every season and then there`s Europe of course.But really it`s all about beating Chelsea,the scousers and Arsenal.The rest of us are just cannon fodder, to be trotted out on a saturday afternoon and despatched with not too much effort.It must be one big yawn apart from maybe 10 games a season?
    My nephew who lives in Sale confirmed my thoughts last Christmas.He`d been a STH on the Stretford End for a few years but announced to me at the last Christamas family gathering that he wasn`t bothering renewing it.When I asked why he told me “because I`m bored!”.
    The best games were away games where the ‘proper’ fans followed the reds.You could have a laugh,a sing-song and a few beers,but he more often than not couldn`t get a ticket! Home games he said had become a chore,with no atmosphere in most,just the big games.
    By the sounds of it he wasn`t the only one to give up his season ticket as I believe for the first time in years United haven`t had a waiting list for them.
    My point is it`s sad when things come to that.And I sincerely hope that my own club doesn`t go down the same road,casing the impossible dream…
    PS: It`s coming to something when a Nob Ender(PNE)is actually supporting Blackpool fans on this! lol

  20. RedScot says:

    Think of it positively, we have two games less.We are out of the Carling cup.
    And as far as some people think we wont win a piss pot against the mighty liverfail.Thats were my devious plan might go TITS up.
    Ryan Paul and Rio got a wee extra break to save them for the winter period.
    Onto Valentha and hope we dont get humped, cos as sure as fuck if we do, we are out of the Champions league so its all epidemical.

  21. Tom Addison says:

    @Graeme: Yeah you’ve got me figured out, I’m only 23!

    Of course I understand completely where you’re coming from, I get the same off my Dad (who’s 50), but he often reminds me that the 80’s were no glory days. The violence and even the deaths in some cases, not worth it. Ever. He always says that people who want to bring terraces back (I know you’re not saying that) never experienced the horror of them in the first place, the FA cup final in 1974 being his prime example (a warning for Hillsborough that was never heeded).

    You’re certainly right about what some home games are like, “Standard 3-0 home win” as they’re now known. West Ham and Newcastle spring to mind. But as I mentioned before I also go for the quality of the football, as a bit of a recently converted tactics nerd (thanks to Jonathan Wilson’s books) I certainly find many matches (such as CL games) much more tactically intriguing than a 4-4-2 vs 4-4-2 slogfest could offer me.

    I’ve only been to the one away game this season, which was Bolton, and that ticket I got through work. I’ve been pretty broke the last few months so haven’t been applying for any other away games, but I imagine it’s not going to be easy. Whilst I must correct you in that many season ticket holders haven’t renewed because they don’t want to give the Glazer’s any money rather than being bored, I’m sure many others share the same position as your nephew.

    But having just spent a few hours in the pub chatting to my mate who’s a Barnsley fan, he’s told me it’s not all sunshine and dandelions at “proper clubs” like Barnsley. He sits in the Stretford End equivalent at Oakwell, and says there’s no singing whatsoever. He even said, through gritted teeth, that he respects United and our fans for our massive range of songs!

    Sitting in the Stretford End myself I imagine that my perception of how good the atmosphere is isn’t how it feels in the rest of the ground, a mate of mine sat in the East stand for the Wigan game told me as much. All he could hear was the away fans, not the Stretford End. But whilst I’m sure the 80’s were a good laugh, you surely can’t say we want to go back to a situation exactly like that? Let’s have a bit of balance, eh.

  22. Tangerinehad says:

    Frank….ur a dope simple as.

    Blackpool have moved heaven and earth in 8=9 weeks to comply with ur premierleague, a feat i suspect Utd would never have been able to achieve under the same circumstances…Undersoil heating is NOT a requirement and to be honest Blackpool rarely freezes! Its somrthing to do with the sea as another Utd dope pointed out.

    We are in the prem by merit…we proved to be the 3rd best team in the championship, via the play offs, a game that would have graced any premiership offering last season.

    10/10 for the pne fan by the way….
    Now crawl back under your red rock u crawled out of and dont come back

  23. Frank Scicluna says:

    How many times must the same words be repeated Tangerinehead? You’re completely right, ‘Undersoil heating is NOT a requirement’. Blackpool ARE in the Premier League on merit, nobody has argued otherwise. The whole point is that the Premier League should ensure that in future ‘Undersoil heating IS a requirement’ from day one NOT from the second season. If a club, any club, wants to be part of the Premier League it should be mandatory for them to provide the basic facilities for their fans. As I’m starting to become sick and tired of repeating, promoted clubs are NOT the problem, the blame lies with the Premier League for NOT making it compulsory for clubs like Blackpool to have minimum requirements like heating from the very first home game in the world’s most watched league.

  24. Stevoir says:

    Frank, whilst I’ve read with great intreague a number of these blogs over the years, I’ve never actually felt the need to contribute. So this is a first for me and, I guess like some of the others who have already contributed, I’m driven to do so not by your suggestion, but more by the utterly arrogant way in which your point is made, starting with the heading ‘Blackpool Fiasco’.

    It’s not a fiasco, it’s an inconvenience (not of Blackpool’s making) and one which anyone wishing to attend the game had more than 24hrs to adjust to. To put it into context, I was sat in my car travelling to the ‘pool game away at Bolton last Saturday (about 1:30pm) when it was announced on the radio that the game between Hartlepool and Yeovil Town had just been postponed – so Yeovil fans should turnaround and go home, now that’s a fiasco!

    A club like Blackpool is not in any position to plan for being in the Premier League. Lets face it we were favourites to be relegated last season, never mind win promotion, and we made it on pretty much the smallest budget in the division. Can you imagine the ridicule if our chairman, at the start of last season, had decided that we needed to install undersoil heating in preperation for the Premier League?

    As it was, when the unlikeliest of promotions arrived, with the work we had to undertake on the Stadium to meet the current Premier League ‘minimum requirements’ (you know the essential press facilities, etc…), we had to postpone our first home top flight game in 39 years because we simply couldn’t complete the work in time! As a consequence we had to play 4 out of our first 5 games away from home. Fiasco? Inconvenince? Competitve disadvantage?

    Surely the ONLY MINIMUM requirements to play in the Premier League should be that you have a pitch to play on; stands where the fans can sit (or stand) and watch the game safely; and, most importantly, you’ve earned the right to be there by gaining promotion out of the Championship. Nothing else!

    What Blackpool have achieved in gaining promotion to the Premier League, and the way in which we have competed so far, has given hope to so many other smaller clubs across the country. Don’t be arrogant enough to take that hope away by concerning yourself with luxuries that only the elite can afford!

    Rather than worrying itself about the luxuries or what players a manager picks in his own team, for goodness sake, perhaps the Premier League would do better to concern itself with imposing minimum finacial requirements on clubs such as minimum debt / equity requirements or a cap on the amount of turnover you can spend on player ‘salary packages’. This way we could avoid another Leeds United or Portsmouth. Now there’s a fiasco which really is a ‘blot on the Premier League’!

  25. Frank Scicluna says:

    @Stevoir, although I cannot agree with some of your points, I wish to congratulate and thank you for putting forward your arguments in such a thoughtful, articulate manner unlike some of the insult riddled comments we sometimes get from people who have nothing else to say. You are a credit to your club and to football.

  26. Chrisw says:

    Who cares? If we win on Monday we’ll be top of the league with a game in hand. A great position to be in.

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