Often when a team is relegated the first thing to hit the owner’s desk is a transfer request especially when players are looking to secure their moves prior to holidays and pre-season.
This is no different with Blackpool who, despite going down, were this season’s surprise package. Former truck driver DJ Campbell, one time bartender Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Welshman David Vaughan all contributed to the Tangerines up and down season that ended bitterly in disappointment on Sunday.
The standout player in terms of column inches and media attention was former Rangers midfielder Charlie Adam. The 25 year old was signed for a club record £500,000, a shrewd investment by today’s standards.
A deep-lying playmaker, January was a turbulent month for the Scotsman as he was linked with Tottenham and Liverpool. An offer of £4.5m was rejected, which led the player to submit the now dreaded ‘transfer request’. The club also dismissed his plea and the issue was brushed under the proverbial rug. As if the season wasn’t unique enough, the game at Tottenham sparked a mini drama in itself.
Missing a penalty, scoring another penalty and kissing the badge, many wondered could it be enough for Holloway to succeed in a task he himself acknowledged was difficult. Even on the final day at Old Trafford, Adam’s contributions were significant.
Watching in my living room even I raised a cheer when he crashed in another free kick past veteran Edwin Van Der Sar to draw Blackpool level at 1-1. The day would end with a 4-2 victory for Manchester United but Adam had long since displayed to potential suitors a talent suitable for England’s top tier.
He is not perfect however. Much like Juan Roman Riquelme he likes to dwell on the ball and if closed down and tackled he can quickly change from focal point of creativity to defensive burden as was displayed this season. However his range of passing is nothing short of fantastic. In particular one pass away to West Brom using the outside of his foot displayed the vision and technique that could see him playing in European competitions soon.
That’s why Adam’s transfer from Blackpool is a case of when not if. It may appear the club are in denial and trying to keep him by activating a year extension clause. When in actuality they are merely protecting their investment. A player with a year or less on their contract receives a significant mark down on their potential fee.
With reported prices of £8-£12m, the money could be reinvested and allow significant improvements on the playing staff. Of course speculation is rife that Adam is but the flagship for a host of deals out of Bloomfield Road involving many of the aforementioned players.
I remember the relegation of Newcastle and the subsequent claims that all but the catering staff would leave post relegation. In truth a solid core of around a dozen remained and was built on from there.
Unfortunately Blackpool are unlikely to have the internationals and quality that Newcastle side had at their disposal. However with Matt Gilks, Craig Cathcart and winger Matt Philips a play-off pushing Championship squad is within the realms of possibility.
One thing is for sure though. The partnership between Adam and Blackpool, like so many good things, appears to be drawing to an end. I do hope however it can finish on the pleasant terms it began with for both parties sake.