AS pre-match omens go, finding a dog’s deposit behind your seat in the stand does not bode well.

But it turned out to be an on-the-money forecast of what was to follow.

City dished out a display that stunk to high heaven as a season that has been scraping the bottom of the barrel for some time suddenly fell through it.

And to think, Blackpool away was the stage for one of the greatest memories for many Bantams fans.

Two decades on, the iconic tower is still a mile away. But that is the only similarity with the play-off heroes of 1996.

Andy Kiwomya, one of the City team on that historic night which clinched the club’s first Wembley appearance, was at Bloomfield Road again on radio duty.

He won’t have recognised the players purporting to represent a proud club. Kiwomya was far from alone in that.

Watching City recently has seemed as appealing as taking a stroll along the Blackpool prom in Saturday’s torrential downpour.

And yet, nearly 2,500 fans made the trip to back a team that had won only once since the last away victory just up the Fylde coast at Fleetwood over three months ago.

It’s that level of support that makes such a roll-over so shameful.

Those supporters, many of whom had probably been there in the celebrations 22 years earlier, could have turned their backs a while ago. There have been enough opportunities in this 2018 car crash.

But they came in numbers to get behind a team in mid-table freefall. They may not remotely “believe”, as the club’s sickly season-ticket slogan suggests, but they still follow and they hope.

What did they get in return? I refer you to my opening paragraph.

Blackpool were no Blackburn, the automatic promotion-chasers who ran City ragged last time out.

Gary Bowyer’s side were still looking anxiously over their shoulders at the battle at the bottom of the table. They had won just once at home since September.

By the closing stages, they were knocking it around like Barcelona.

A large percentage of the Blackpool fanbase continue to stay away from Bloomfield Road in their on-going protest with the owning Oyston family.

Seeing the ground three-quarters empty, shorn of atmosphere not to mention advertising, is a sad spectacle.

It’s also a worrying portent of what can happen when a club disconnect with their supporters.

City may be a long way off the poisonous discord that continues to divide Blackpool but the rumblings are getting louder. With each defeat, each poor display, the volume of criticism grows.

Blackpool’s despised chairman Karl Oyston rarely turns up at home but he was there on Saturday to see his side’s biggest win for over two years.

His opposite number Edin Rahic was away in Germany with his family. It will be interesting to see if he attends the televised Shrewsbury game on Thursday – and how many of the remaining fixtures during a potentially spiky run-in.

Simon Grayson’s pointed comments afterwards about the players at his disposal ratcheted up the pressure on the City money men.

The message behind his criticism was clear: “If I’m going to stay, give me the right budget for a rebuild.”

A sizeable number of those City fans had left well before the end. You couldn’t blame them – after all, the team had barely turned up for a supposedly “must win” encounter.

The “P” word is now officially banned from these columns. The world’s greatest mathematicians could not come up with a formula to get this lot back into the top six.

If anything, be thankful the “R” conversation is not cropping up. The current 11-point buffer to the bottom four remains courtesy of that incredible away form pre-Christmas.

It’s hard to fathom that a team who had won nine on the road by January 1 have taken one measly point from eight games on their travels since.

And yet, so many fans were still prepared to journey across through the incessant rain to watch the shower they call their own.

The vibe beforehand had suggested a much brighter outcome. As the noise built up from the one remotely full end of the stadium, it was easy to get carried along with the thought that this would be the rot-stopping afternoon.

Grayson made three changes, employing a 4-3-3 system to take the game to Blackpool on another minefield pitch.

For 15 minutes, it even looked the case as Shay McCartan whistled one wide and looked to establish camp over halfway.

But then the roof caved in. Colin Daniel’s cross was smartly volleyed home by Nathan Delfouneso – and the game was effectively up.

Blackpool discovered their belief; City sunk away timidly.

It was swiftly two as Viv Solomon-Otabor wriggled free of Romain Vincelot to create all the space in the world for a low finish.

Behind Colin Doyle’s goal, the discontent quickly festered.

Wounded by the sucker-punch announcement before the game that Paul Taylor, the one player with real flair in the ranks, had left the club, those fans were getting another pounding.

Blackpool’s third, just before the half hour, proved the tipping point.

As the chants in support of former boss Stuart McCall grew louder, Delfouneso again finished off Daniel’s handy work.

The anger in the stand went off the scale. “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” cascaded down from furious West Yorkshire voices.

The contest had descended into total mismatch; City unable, or unwilling, to escape their own territory as Blackpool greedily hunted for more.

Grayson could have subbed the lot at the break but the two changes he did make at least offered a bit of enthusiasm.

Tyrell Robinson and Kai Bruenker may have had no impact on the scoreline but their endeavour showed they cared.

Bruenker’s header on target provoked ironic cheers before normal service resumed with a Blackpool fourth.

Romain Vincelot and Kyle Vassell were left in a heap after a painful collision, the Frenchman’s deep cut in his right knee going right through to the bone.

Play continued as Jimmy Ryan rescued a lost cause and got the rewards when his cross was converted by Delfouneso for the striker’s hat-trick.

The farce finished with Sean Longstaff sweeping home number five after Doyle dropped a cross under pressure from Mark Cullen.

A few of the team fronted up to more derision from what was left of the City end at the final whistle. The rest scurried away to the sanctuary of the dressing room.

This season cannot end quick enough for them – or the rest of us.


BLACKPOOL: Lumley 6, Robertson 6, Tilt 7, Turton 6, Spearing 7, Ryan 7, Daniel 7, Delfouneso 9 (Menga 83min), Vassell 8 (Cullen 74), Solomon-Otabor 8, Longstaff 7 (Cooke 85min). Subs (not used): Aimson, Gnanduillet, Agyei, Mafoumbi.

CITY: Doyle 3, Chicksen 3, Vincelot 3, Kilgallon 4, Warnock 3, Guy 4, McMahon 3, Law 3 (Robinson 46min, 5), McCartan 4 (Gilliead 62min, 4), Wyke 3, Patrick 3 (Bruenker 46min, 5). Subs (not used): Dieng, Poleon, Knight-Percival, Raeder.