Harry Pell has this week turned down approaches from Blackpool, committing his short-term future at Cheltenham.
Blackpool are urgently looking to replace Brad Potts, who last week left for Barnsley, and it was no secret that Harry Pell was the Tangerine’s main target.
A statement on the Cheltenham club website read ‘ Harry commented, “I have spent the day discussing terms and listening to what they had to say at Blackpool and I have decided that given all the factors, the right decision for my family and I was to turn their offer down and remain at Cheltenham.” ‘.
It’s hard to read that and not think that there must be other reasons why Pell hasn’t decided to jump up a league, especially when Cheltenham narrowly avoided relegation last year and have started this season with a loss away at Morecambe. Whereas Blackpool enjoyed a moderately successful campaign last season (getting straight back out of the bottom division first time of asking), there is still a lot about the club that might make it an unfavourable choice for players.
Obviously top of the list is the ownership problems. This has been discussed numerous times so I won’t go into it, but this must be a huge factor when players are approached by Blackpool.
It is not just the fact that the atmosphere is sour, but crowds have also been affected by the fans’ dispute with the Oystons, especially at Bloomfield Road with many supporters taking the ‘Not A Penny More (NAPM)’ boycott approach. Would a player rather stay where they are, even in a lower division, to play in front of more fans?
Another thing that would limit players making a move to the seaside club would be the state of the training facilities. I don’t know how good Cheltenham’s training ground is in this instance, but Blackpool’s could be easily described as a field with a couple of jackleg offices on. Not exactly enticing for Blackpool’s targets.
One of the key factors of their loss to Bradford on the opening day of the season was possibly due to losing the battle in the centre of midfield after having to play Delfouneso with lack of cover in that position. They definitely need a decent CM to replace to position left by Potts and soon, but if Blackpool is an unattractive club to join, then will they have to settle for a player that is half-decent or even struggle with the players that they have? I could see it being a long season if so …