Blackpool have announced their retained list for the 2015/2016 season, and have decided to release 17 players.
Last season Blackpool found themselves with just eight players during pre-season, which ultimately set the tone for the entire campaign. They were never able to bring in players with real quality and ended up with a squad full of free transfers and loan players. Unsurprisingly, no momentum was ever created and they were duly relegated out of the Championship and into League One.
Lee Clark has already jumped ship and with no replacement yet to be appointed, the club have announced, on their official website, the release of 17 players. Incredibly, The Seasiders have taken up a year extension on the contract of Nile Ranger, who hasn't played since November and has been AWOL since. The striker is more known for his off the field antics rather than his skills on the pitch, and you would have thought Blackpool would have happily released him to avoid any more embarrassing stories in the press.
Along with Ranger, Andrea Orlandi and José Miguel Cubero are the only other players of note kept on. A contract has been offered to Jamie O'Hara, but one would think he is hoping a few other offers would be coming his way this summer. Charles Dunne, Henry Cameron and David Ferguson featured heavily towards the end of the season, and they are also being retained. The others at the club are Tom Aldred, Luke Higham, Connor Oliver, and new signing Jarret Rivers from Blyth Spartans.
It's a very young squad as things stand, and it will be incredibly difficult to attract players of a high enough standard to the club over the coming weeks. As shown by the pitch invasion on the last day of the season against Huddersfield which brought more shame to the club, fans aren't happy, and it is a club heading in the wrong direction.
Those Premier League days under Ian Holloway seem so far away, and Karl Oyston has a tremendous job on his hands trying to convince players to sign. Even with regards to a manager, it isn't an attractive proposition. They could well find themselves in the same situation as last season, struggling to make up the numbers for the first game in League One.