With the club languishing in the bottom-half of League One, Blackpool decided to part company with manager Simon Grayson on Wednesday evening. The Tangerines looked set to challenge for promotion at the tail end of last year, when they went six games unbeaten throughout the early part of December.
However, things have taken a drastic turn in 2020 and the Lancashire club have now won just one of their previous ten league games and are in desperate need of a change in direction to revive their campaign. David Dunn has been appointed as caretaker manager at Bloomfield Road while the club seeks a permanent replacement.
Former Luton Town and Stoke City manager Nathan Jones is currently the bookmakers favourite to land the job - priced at evens with BetVictor - while ex-Leeds, Barnsley and Hibernian boss Paul Heckingbottom is also in the frame, priced at 5/2.
Current Barrow manager Ian Evatt - who spent six years at Blackpool as a player, turning out over 200 times for the Seasiders - is third-favourite for the role as things stand, priced at odds of 6/1 (BetVictor). Indeed, the 38-year-old is currently enjoying a fantastic campaign in Cumbria, as Barrow lead the way in the National League and look set for promotion to the Football League in May, so it seems unlikely that he would jump ship at this moment in time.
There is another name in the hat, though; a name which many of you will perhaps not recognise. Sergio Lobera, whose previous roles include assistant to Tito Vilanova at Barcelona and head coach of UD Las Palmas in the Spanish second-tier, is currently priced at 25/1 to take charge at Bloomfield Road.
So, who exactly is this mysterious figure? Well, in truth, there isn’t too much we know about him. Lobera is an elusive character known by few in the footballing world, but having just turned 43, could well have a promising career ahead of him in management. Here’s what we do know about him so far.
Unlike most managers, the Spaniard did not previously play football and instead went straight into coaching, starting out in Barcelona’s world-famous La Masia youth academy in the late-90s. Lobera rose through the ranks at Barca, eventually taking charge of the club’s C team ahead of the 2006-07 campaign.
Lobera then left Barcelona in the summer of 2008, taking up the role of manager at nearby semi-professional outfit Terressa FC. After just over a season in charge of the Catalonian side, Lobera took a brief break away from football, but returned in 2010, signing a three-year deal with Spanish third division club CD San Roque de Lepe. He lasted just a season in that role, however, before leaving and joining fellow third-tier side AD Ceuta. That was short-lived, too, and just a year later Lobera returned to the Camp Nou, where he was appointed as assistant to then-boss Tito Vilanova.
Following his ever-present trend of not remaining in one job for too long, Lobera lasted only one month as Barca’s number two, and swiftly left to sign for UD Las Palmas in Spain’s Segunda Division - his first job in complete charge of a full-time professional football team. This is where Segio Lobera’s career as a manager really started to take shape. Mainly because he actually managed to stay in the same job for more than a season, lasting two campaigns in Gran Canaria, where he narrowly missed on promotion to La Liga via the play-offs in his opening season in charge.
He was dismissed at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, though, and has since enjoyed managerial spells in Morocco and most recently India, where he guided FC Goa to the Indian Super Cup in early-2019. However, despite Goa currently topping the Indian Super League, Lobera was relieved of his duties at the Fatorda Stadium at the end of January due to long-standing differences with the club’s owners. The 43-year-old is now a free agent on the lookout for his next career opportunity, with Blackpool rumoured to be interested in his services.
Whether or not we see Sergio Lobera in the English Football League this season still remains to be seen, but he has certainly led an interesting career to date and would probably relish the opportunity of managing in the UK if given the chance. He might want to brace himself for the adverse weather, though, it’s just a little bit different to Spain, Morocco and India..