Will Blackpool, like Wolves before them, be facing the prospect of a fine for fielding a weakened side against Villa last night? Manager ian Holloway made wholesale changes to his side but so what? They played well and narrowly lost.
The fact that the Premier League has given itself the power to make such judgements and fine clubs is 100 percent wrong to the point of insanity.
What right do they have meddling in the team affairs of any side? If a manager wants to make 11 changes from his previous side he should be able to do so without censure. What does some old fart at the Premier League know about Blackpools’ squad players? Sod all that’s what.
Who is to say what ‘weaker’ means anyway? The Blackpool side that played Villa performed very well – better than their ‘full strength’ side has done on some occasions, so how can anyone define it as a weaker side just because it didn’t feature some of their best players?
Great players can play poorly, average players can play out of their skin on any given occasion. Does this influence what the league would define as a weaker or stronger side?
If a club is going to be penalized for fielding players who by some notional ruler are not their best players how on earth can any new player force his way into the side and improve? And does the judgement of who is a full strength team player and who isn’t change with performances? If Blackpool’s team was ‘under strength’ before the game, after a good game and a narrow 3-2 loss, can we say that again today or has that performance increased their Premier League ‘strength’ rating?
Frankly, this is all unsustainable bollocks and is a classic example of Premier League meddling. While Ian Holloway can be a little too self-consciously wacky, his threat to resign if the club is fined is understandable because it undermines a manager’s autonomy. Some anonymous league official should not be sitting in anonymous judgement of his choices as a manager and dishing out fines based on a spurious concept.
There are no clearly defined guidelines for who you can pick and who can’t for a team. So how can a club be fined for fielding an under strength side when no definitive judgement of what under strength means?
Who at the Premier League is sitting there with Blackpool’s team sheet and making assessments of players? We want names.
I doubt that Blackpool will be fined purely because they played well but that shouldn’t deflect from the basic injustice that lurks behind this threat of fielding a weakened side. It is an affront to managers to players and to fans.