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Chairman Interview: Part Two

12 May 2014

Karl Speaks to the Official Website

In part two of an interview with the official website, Chairman Karl Oyston discusses recruitment, instability and the success of other departments. 

After periods of stability and success during your tenure, managerial changes and player changes have led to a period of instability over the last 18 months or so.

I speak to a lot of people in football that have been around the industry all their lives and they're certainly far more knowledgeable than I tend to think I am. It's not unusual for periods of instability - I sometimes look at just us and think we've got it horrifically wrong because we tend not to be too outward looking and see what is happening at other clubs. One of the people I rely on the most to always put things into a perspective that I can understand, as far as football goes, says it's really not unusual in our circumstances. Clubs that have been in the Premier League and have dropped out and are on parachute payments often get this sort of instability. He's certainly put me on the right track and put me in the right frame of mind to take actions and steps to get us back to doing what we did best, and back to some values that I think we've abandoned over the last three or four years that probably served us well in the good old days. 

Given the success of the youth team this season, the fact that the Girls setup marked a 10-year anniversary and the continued growth of the Community Trust, is the priority to get certain core values back into the first-team now?

Certainly, I think everything else is going well and I'm really delighted - it doesn't seem like 10 years that the girls have been going but Michael Corser and Mac Barlow have done a fantastic job. The Community Trust is going from strength to strength under the excellent stewardship of Ashley (Hackett) and a really strong board. It is very committed and is working very hard towards addressing all the problems in Blackpool.

The academy is finally, after years of stumbling around and not really having an identity, now, because of the EPPP rules, has got its act together and we've put a lot of time and effort, Matt and myself, into helping Josie and Richie get that over the line. We're going down to London shortly to get the results of our audit so fingers crossed we get through that and really push on from a position of strength that I think we're now in.

The first-team really does now need to buy in to the values of the club and the strengths of the club. We need to all work together to get the most out of the first-team football, which is what it's all about.

As things stand, the emergency loan window will end after the 2014/15 season following a FIFA ruling. How will that affect recruitment and strategy going forward?

I think it will be a sad day for clubs like us because we've always done very well from the loan window. Over the time I've been here we've probably been promoted three times on the back of good use of loans.

The FA commission has eluded to it in the new report that is out now on the England team - over recent years the big club academies have gobbled up every last decent prospect, not just from England but throughout Europe. I use the word stymied, reservedly, but they tend not to see the light of day again, which is a shame because the best talent goes to the bigger academies where they've got the least chance of playing in that club's first-team. Particularly when you look at clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City who have fantastic academies and arguably very good kids who won't impact on their first-team.

There are problems out there and that does impact on the recruitment for clubs like ourselves. Loan windows were very useful in that respect because we could borrow this best talent and help those clubs to develop that talent by playing them in proper football and seeing if they sink or swim. I do feel that there will still be the season-long loans and maybe we need to make better use of those than the emergency loans, which means a bit more planning and a bit more organisation and a manager that will make those judgements and help develop those players for these other clubs that we're borrowing them from. I think that's part of the deal, really. If we're borrowing their youngsters then we need to make sure that we're coaching them, developing them and looking after them the same way as the parent club would.

On the subject of recruitment, you've previously mentioned bringing good characters back to the club. Will that decision come down to the new manager?

Historically it didn't, it was the manager and myself and I think we'll get back to that. It will be more like an interview and we'll look into people's backgrounds. We've had one or two players in the last season or two that we shouldn't have touched with a barge pole. We've definitely had our fingers burnt and we won't be making those mistakes again.

We've interviewed players with a lot of the managers I've had in the past and even though a deal has been done virtually, albeit not signed, after we've sat down with the player for an hour the manager or myself has said we don't want the player because they're not the right sort of individual for us.

Finally, you've already touched on it with some of your answers, are you looking forward to becoming more hands-on and sorting this?

I always used to be but I think I've got less so in the last two or three years. There's no reason for that, other than you maybe get lazy or sloppy. We've got to get back to where we were and make sure we've got our finger on every pulse so that we're not being let down.

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