The Price of the Premiership

May 22, 2012 2:36 pm

In the aftermath of our Wembley heartbreak – the tangerine balloons have popped and the hangovers have subsided – West Ham can relish in their victory and look forward, not only to the millions the club will receive from their promotion, but also the money burning pint sized holes in the eager away fans pockets.

Blackpool, on the other hand, will once again struggle to keep their best players on the meagre budget the chairman is willing to part with in an area that has today been named as one of the poorest places in England.

Blackpool’s poverty has been well documented and yet nothing much changes. Tiny doughnuts of hope are waved in front of the resort’s eyes and then gobbled up by the ‘big society’ quicker then the North West can say “sandcastle”. The cancellation of all direct train routes to and from London, and Ryan Air terminating its contract with Blackpool Airport, left Blackpool cut off from anywhere south of Manchester.

Next was the ‘super casino’ debacle which was pulled from Blackpool’s feet before a foundation had even been laid. To soften the blow and bring hope back to a deflated community, central government thought fit to abandon all party political conferences in the seaside resort meaning hundreds of local businesses lost much needed money and the locals were once again forgotten.

But the locals need-not worry as Blackpool Councillors claim to be tackling the problem “head on”. My only hope is it’s not the same “head on” approach they used when they removed 50 square meters of the £2.5 million Comedy Carpet without so much as a consultation. Nor the same “head on” approach they’ve used for the past 20 years to clean up Blackpool’s sea – which has once again been named as one of the worst beaches in the UK.

The fairy tale view of seaside towns has faded like the ink on a Victorian picture. And instead of heading to Blackpool for a healthy retirement, filled with fresh sea air, the residence can now expect the shortest life expectancy anywhere in the country, with men averaging a mere 66 years.

So who does Blackpool turn to in their time of need? Central and local government have repeatedly shown they are as good as a chocolate fireguard and care little more for the seaside resort then dog dirt on their shoe. So, is football the only answer? Could a Premiership promotion drag 52% of South Shore children out of poverty? Should the Fylde coast put its future in the hands of the Oyston empire when all the footballers are paid well below the going rate?

After scratching my head about this very conundrum I worry that if this is Blackpool’s only hope of survival the coalitions “big society” is in urgent need of an eye transplant.


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