Championship: Blackpool owner makes U-turn over replacing manager Jose Riga
In the wake of a huge show of support for Jose Riga by Blackpool fans before their 0-0 draw with Wolves at the weekend, Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has given his backing to the manager.
The pair have endured a strained relationship ever since Riga was appointed as manager at the start of the summer. Riga was critical of the club's lack of transfer activity over the summer, with the club having only 8 senior players at one stage.
But having spoken to Riga for the first time in two weeks, Oyston has reaffirmed his faith in his current manager, despite approaching Burton manager Gary Rowett about replacing him only last week.
Oyston, speaking to the Blackpool Gazette, stated, “After the game, Jose Riga and I had a really productive chat for more than an hour, one which was much-needed."
“We discussed what’s right, what’s wrong and what we need to do better, particularly between ourselves."
“We had a lengthy chat and covered everything, no holds barred. It’s now about how we both respond to that."
“I’m happy to give him the support he needs and hopefully things can move forward now.”
The idea of approaching a replacement for Riga whilst he was still in charge was met with criticism from Blackpool fans and the football world in general, but Oyston insisted at the time he would have been 'foolish' not to.
“In my role, if you’re faced with uncertainty and disaffection, then you need to prepare and consider contingency plans.
“Hot on the heels of Bart De Roover heading off into the sunset, and Jose going back to Belgium with how it appeared at the time, it would have been foolish in the position we were in not to make provisions for any eventuality."
“Yes we accept justified criticism, but also you should always have a plan in place.”
Critics of Oyston are claiming that this turnaround is only in response to the fierce display of support for Riga during Blackpool's match with Wolves at the weekend, but Oyston insists he was aware how avidly the fans supported their manager.
“I wasn’t surprised by the amount of support Jose received from the fans on Saturday and I think it’s wonderful to see positivity around the place again,” he said.
“If the supporters are now wholly backing the manager then that’s great as positivity is what we’ve been short of as a club."
“I hope that now continues for a very long time and I hope the players continue to perform for Jose like the did on Saturday."
“I think Saturday was a really good performance and you can see things are taking shape and the players are certainly playing for the manager.
“We need, by whatever means, to bring two or three extra players now to cover us for injuries and suspension.”
For the full interview click the following link:
Whether this turnaround will appease the Blackpool fans remains to be seen. Many fans are angered by the Oyston family's ownership of the club, having not used the large sums of money from their season in the Premier League to reinvest in the club.