FORTY days and it will all be over.

Seven more games to endure and this Groundhog Day season will finally be put to bed.

No campaign has felt longer than this; even the administration years. It has felt like one never-ending chapter of misery.

And the worst thing about 2018-2019? Every time you feel City have hit the bottom, they somehow fall through to another level. A false floor just like the false dawn of December.

Now how long ago does that four-in-five run seem?

The boos that rang around Valley Parade after City were put out of their latest misery on Saturday came with an acceptance that the fate has been sealed. Announce relegation, as the saying goes.

The six-point margin to safety may be unchanged but that merely papers over a result as wretched as any during this horrific campaign – and there have been several contenders.

What hurt the most about loss number 23 out of 39 was the massive opportunity that had been wasted.

Rochdale were the only winners in the current bottom eight. Six others lost but City failed to make any inroads.

Instead they timidly accepted their fate from the moment that Eoin Doyle’s penalty was saved. At that point, all bar one or two might as well have walked off there and then.

Gary Bowyer emerged late for press duties chewing a throat lozenge having spent the previous half hour berating the dressing room. He was still livid at the capitulation.

Bowyer apologised for his timing but stressed: “They’ve been told.” The bigger question is, have they listened?

His face was not too dissimilar from that of David Hopkin at Walsall a month ago – the moment that he decided to walk away from a group of players he felt were no longer prepared to take it in.

Bowyer has tried to cajole a reaction with an openly positive attitude around the place.

He even had an input in the pre-match playlist as “The Only Way is Up” boomed around the stadium followed by another song called “All or Nothing”.

Maybe next home game it might be more appropriate to go with “I Surrender” or “Down, down”. The Kop had their own fitting chorus midway through the second half, leading a rousing rendition of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt.”

You might remember that from Blackpool away last April when Bowyer put Simon Grayson’s team to the sword.

This latest rollover also marked the 12th anniversary of a costly home defeat to the Tangerines in 2007 when City were last spiralling towards the fourth tier.

Nobody unfortunate enough to have been at Valley Parade this weekend will have any doubt that history is set to repeat itself.

Those with a good memory might recall that previous 3-1 loss was overshadowed by some controversial refereeing. No such get-out clause on this occasion.

After the shenanigans at Oxford, Antony Coggins was blameless in this one. City’s culprits were staring them back in the mirror.

But will that hurt? Will the dissent from the stands and the outpouring of anger on social media have any impact?

Only four of Saturday’s starting line-up are contracted for next season; the most competent in such a woeful display are both on loan.

How can this team possibly feel the pain of those who turn up week in, week out year after year to support their club – and now see so little in return?

That’s why a sizeable section of City fans applauded Blackpool’s Armand Gnanduillet when he was substituted.

It was as much a gesture of disgust at the lack of fight from their own team as an acknowledgement for the two-goal striker’s excellent display.

Contrast that with the reaction when Josh Wright replaced Jermaine Anderson, whose wretched day was brought to a premature end with an injured calf.

Forgotten man Wright’s first appearance in four months was greeted with jeers – the only cheers were of the sarcastic variety whenever he got on the ball.

It made for a horrible disaffected atmosphere about the place. But supporters have reached the end of their tether.

They have had enough of empty promises, enough of pre-match bluster, enough of players looking a shadow of their supposed lofty reputations.

Jay Spearing became the latest member of that growing club of opponents who voice their surprise at City’s position given the names on the team sheet. But we know that names, like talk, count for nothing if not backed up by performance.

What Bowyer would give to plonk Spearing in the heart of his midfield at Valley Parade. But he gave the Blackpool skipper a two-year contract last summer.

Spearing, a feisty foe in his Bolton days as Josh Cullen would testify, is exactly what City are missing – among other things.

But there is no spiky character in the heart of the action, an on-field manager to encourage and rollick in equal measure.

City’s lack of inches was once again apparent. They talk of the Blackpool tower and the white shirts loomed over their hosts from the moment the sides shook hands ahead of kick-off.

Add to that the absence of pace and width and we’re going over familiar ground.

As Bowyer pointed out, Blackpool target man Gnanduillet was not hard to spot with his shock of dyed blond hair.

But he was left free to head home an Antony Evans cross from the game’s first meaningful attack on 25 minutes.

Liam Feeney should have made it two before the break as the grumbles began. City were reluctant to have a go themselves, betraying their nerves with the need for an extra touch instead of shooting.

Jack Payne was the biggest culprit and his first start under Bowyer ended with the hook at half-time. Jacob Butterfield, dropped for his return, fared marginally better coming off the bench.

Matty Virtue then enjoyed the freedom of Valley Parade to run on and thump number two before a brief home rally.

Lewis O’Brien, one of the few spared criticism, tested Christoffer Mafoumbi a couple of times and David Ball was clattered chasing a loose ball.

But Congo international Mafoumbi justified the call to bring him back from international duty by blocking Doyle’s penalty – and City gave up the ghost.

Gnanduillet was given another free header for Blackpool’s third, Chris Taylor made it four before Ball nodded a stoppage-time reply that meant nothing.

City’s relegation by a thousand cuts goes on.