The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

PETER Clarke is no mug. So when the Black­pool skip­per blamed his side’s piti­ful demise on a chaotic pre-sea­son, he was clearly be­ing diplo­matic.

Ev­ery­one – in­clud­ing Clarke – knows the real vil­lain of the piece. When chair­man Karl Oys­ton texted a sup­porter to say he was on a “nev­erend­ing night­mare re­venge mission” to send Black­pool to the Con­fer­ence, most put it down as taste­less ban­ter.

Now, af­ter the limpest sur­ren­der in Cham­pi­onship his­tory, it looks in­creas­ingly like a state­ment of in­tent.

Since the day Black­pool hit the Pre­mier League jack­pot with that mirac­u­lous pro­mo­tion un­der Ian Holloway in 2010, money has poured out of Bloom­field Road.

As just one ex­am­ple, Owen Oys­ton – Karl’s dad and owner of the club – paid him­self an £11m salary for one sea­son’s work, jus­ti­fy­ing the cash as rec­om­pense for ear­lier fi­nan­cial sup­port.

In­vest­ment in the foot­ball club has dwin­dled and died. The pitch is a boggy mess, un­fit for parks foot­ball. Trans­fer fees are a thing of the past. This sea­son, the Tan­ger­ines have used an in­cred­i­ble 51 play­ers – all but a hand­ful loans or free trans­fers.

When Barry Fer­gu­son kept Black­pool up last year, it looked like a nar­row es­cape. From Oys­ton’s point of view, it was more likely a costly mis­take. If you don’t want to fund a foot­ball club, life is a lot cheaper in the lower leagues.

There’s noth­ing il­le­gal about Oys­ton’s be­hav­iour. He’s got the keys, and the codes to the bank ac­count. He can do what he wants.

But if this shame­less in­di­vid­ual re­ally is milk­ing Black­pool to death, the least he could do is be hon­est about it. Then those loyal sup­port­ers could watch AFC Black­pool in­stead of pour­ing cash into the pock­ets of a man who has turned their club into a laugh­ing stock.

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