Latest From Chief Executive
In his final update of 2016, Blackpool FC Chief Executive Alex Cowdy discusses recent form, the development of youth players and Christmas community activities.
As 2016 draws to a close, we approach a busy period in the football calendar.
On the pitch, we have begun to hit our stride, scoring four goals in each of our last three home League Two matches - the first time we have scored four times in three consecutive games in 31 years. Gary Bowyer was also quite rightly nominated for League Two Manager of the Month.
We have reached the Third Round of the Checkatrade Trophy, and whilst we have been fined by The EFL for being found to breach their ‘Full Strength’ policy, we have benefitted from giving our younger players a taste of action, highlighted by Rowan Roache and Christian N’Guessan being included in the squad against Doncaster Rovers, and Rowan scoring in the penalty shootout. Enabling our younger players first team exposure where possible is an important part of their development and will stand them in good stead in the future. Likewise, providing more players in our first team squad with minutes on the pitch will be important ahead of the upcoming fixture schedule.
Wins against Kidderminster Harriers and Brackley Town have seen us progress to the FA Cup Third Round, playing Barnsley at Bloomfield Road on Saturday 7th January. The club is renowned for its FA Cup victory back in 1953 and it remains an exciting competition to be a part of.
The Youth Team put up a determined fight against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Youth Cup, finally running out of steam in extra time. Caleb Richards and Denzel Williams are now enjoying a valuable experience on loan at Marine, with Christian N’Guessan at Bamber Bridge, where Macauley Wilson spent time on loan earlier this season. Macauley incidentally is now impressing on loan at AFC Fylde.
I was recently asked by the Community Trust to help judge the Young Enterprise Awards, alongside Paul Rowley and Ashley Hackett. A very enjoyable experience, with some strong presentations delivered by the local school children, which could have put The Apprentice pitches to shame! The Community Trust really is doing great things, highlighted by the Christmas lunches they are providing to the Drop In Centre at St Peter’s Church on Lytham Road. Proceeds were collected at the Club Carol Service, led by Reverend Michael Ward, Club Chaplain. The Carol Service I’m sure got all who attended into the Christmas spirit, and I was very impressed by the Mereside Community Gospel Singers, who provided a stirring rendition of ‘Hallelujah’.
The Christmas schedule always sees the first-team doing their fair share in the community, and this year has been no different. The players have visited Brian House Children’s Hospice, the adjoining Trinity Hospice and the Children’s Ward at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
It was also great to see young sporting talent on the Fylde Coast recognised at The Gazette AllStars Awards. Manager Gary Bowyer was amongst the judges and it was good to see Michael Cain and Clark Robertson in attendance to present some important awards.
I was pleased to receive communication from BST this week regarding both a meeting and their assessment of the issues surrounding football and its governance nationally.
Whilst I focus on areas of the operation that I can influence positively - support of the manager, his back room team and the playing squad - I will be pleased to do all I can behind the scenes to encourage further meaningful dialogue that can only assist the current unfortunate circumstances where some supporters feel unable to watch their team.
On behalf of all at Blackpool FC, may I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy and successful 2017.