Blackpool manager Lee Clark has today branded Blackpool's pre-season woes as the "cancer" that has damned the Lancashire club to almost certain relegation.
Speaking to the Blackpool Gazette, Clark said "I don't want to use the word flippantly but last pre-season has been the cancer that got bigger and bigger throughout the season."
Blackpool returned to pre-season training under José Riga with just six professionals and had to make 17 signings in the last month of the transfer window. Most of the signings made were Bosman free transfers, with only José Miguel Cubero (£400,000) and Jeffrey Rentmeister (undisclosed) costing the Tangerines a transfer fee.
Only five players remain under contract at Bloomfield Road at the end of the season - Tom Aldred, Henry Cameron, Charles Dunne, David Ferguson and Connor Oliver - while the rest of the squad are facing an uncertain future at Blackpool.
Six players - Tom Barkhuizen, Nyron Nosworthy, Darren O'Dea, Jamie O'Hara, David Perkins and Saer Sene - are out of contract at the end of the season with no option in Blackpool's favour to extend their deals while Joe Lewis, Niall Maher, Miles Addison, Gary Madine and Grant Hall will all return to their parent clubs at the end of their respective loan periods.
Clark told the Gazette that he has sat down with his chairman to discuss what type of player he wants at the club next season and how he wants it to work but with the Tangerines almost certainly doomed to League One, it will be interesting to see if Karl Oyston keeps Clark let alone brings in the players he wants.
The Tangerines have had a large turnover of players and managers in recent years and if the ship is to be steadied at Bloomfield Road then Oyston will need to place a larger degree of trust in the manager and in the players the manager wants to bring in.
Blackpool are suffering off the pitch too with a large portion of fans unhappy with the ownership issues surrounding the club, with respect to comments made to and legal action taken against certain fans as reported by the Mirror, and if the Tangerines are to be successful then it may be that bridges off the pitch need to be repaired as much as the squad on it.