Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughBlackpool FC – A Dream Crushed And A New Challenge - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Blackpool FC – A Dream Crushed And A New Challenge - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Blackpool FC – A Dream Crushed And A New Challenge

It is fair to say that Blackpool Football Club’s 124 year history has endured the kind of ups and downs you would expect to see on the pleasure beach which the city has become famous for. There has been little to cheer about on the Lancashire Coast since the seasiders relegation from the old First Division in the 1970-71 season and the glory days of the “Matthews Final” FA Cup win in 1953 were a thing of legend to the young Blackpool fans coming through the ranks; success of such a level could only be dreamt of by many. The footballing idols of the past Stanley Matthews, Alan Ball, Stan Mortensen and Jimmy Armfield had long gone and the attendances at Bloomfield Road had plummeted from a high of 38,000 plus in 1955 to the highest recorded since 2002 being 16,116.

An air of optimism has swept over the seaside resort in the past eighteen months. Under the leadership of the ever enthusiastic, eccentric and captivating West Country manager Ian Holloway, the fight and passion has been ignited back into the hearts of Blackpool fans. In the 2009-2010 season the tangerines managed to finished sixth in the Championship and thus making the playoffs. Against all odds the all attacking attractive playing side reached the Wembley final against a well-equipped Cardiff side. Blackpool fans of old, who have been through the highs and but mainly lows of the past fourty years, will state without question that the achievements of Holloway and his squad on the 22nd May 2010 will go down in club history, beating Cardiff City 3 – 2 to gain promotion to the dizzy heights of the Premier League.

Blackpool, its fans, its players and the manager were delving into the unknown. It’s fairy tale style story for a club where half the city’s population could fit into Manchester United’s stadium, where half of Manchester City’s players earn more per week than the whole of Blackpool’s player and coaching staff in the same amount of time. Every man, women, child, dog and any other family pet wrote Blackpool and its set of hard working players off. The seasiders, however, had obviously not read the same script as everyone else in the footballing world. By the turn of the year the set of players who were still washing their own kit, had won seven, drawn four and lost six. Quite the achievement for a set of players who were expected by media and opposition fans alike to not score a goal never mind getting a point.

The dreaded turn of the year was upon Blackpool though, a period which can make or break a newly promoted club, and has claimed the name of many clubs before. A period where the physical fitness of the new timers is challenged, the tactical ability of the manager is continually pressed and where the stature of the star players is questioned. Blackpool could not meet this challenge, after a steady string of losses between January and April, the club slipped down the league and found themselves on the last day being drawn into a relegation dog fight, with the final fixture being Champions Manchester United. This day summed up Blackpool’s season. Holloway’s ethos of swift, attacking, attractive football was essentially the making and breaking of Blackpool’s Premier League ambitions. After going 1 – 0 down early on, Blackpool utilising their gung-ho full attack mentality went ahead in the game through goals from star man Charlie Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher. This would be a short lived dream and come-back kings Manchester United went on to win the game 4 – 2.



The rollercoaster ride had come to an end for Blackpool FC in the Premier League. What Blackpool did achieve though, was captivating a nation. Rarely before had an underdog attacked the world’s best league with such vigour, and rarely before had a group of players shown such togetherness. Never before had a group of players, many of whom had come from the Conference only years before, stood up to the footballing heavy weights and on occasions won. The crowning achievement of Blackpool’s ten months in the Premier League was undoubted securing the double over five time European Cup winners Liverpool. Blackpool FC were a breath of fresh air to the Premier League, with a straight talking manager and no nonsense attitude to the game, he won plaudits from across the footballing world, both fans and professionals alike.

The show, however, must go on for Blackpool FC and what they face now is a daunting prospect. As in seasons past, Blackpool have lost their star men. Charlie Adam, David Vaughan and DJ Campbell had all attracted attention from the Premier League, and have departed for pastures new. It is now a pivotal period in Blackpool’s history, and how they cope with the upset of relegation and the loss of players with such pedigree only time will tell. Teams in the past have crumbled facing this task, you only have to look at the examples of Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Bradford City to realise how easy it is to slowly slip down the football leagues, with the Premier League becoming a distant memory. What is important for Holloway and his players is to learn from the experiences of the Premier League. Although Holloway’s attacking football was admired and respected, there were distinct flaws in this mentality, and had more tactical sense been used at times, Blackpool may have not dropped points which looked destined to be taken back to Bloomfield Road. 

It is ever becoming that money will bring you success in football. With parachute payments made available to Blackpool, and the revenue earned from the sales of the likes of Charlie Adam, it is imperative that Blackpool bolster their squad with like-for-like players. This, however, could be the major stumbling block for Holloway, as although Blackpool’s owner Karl Oysten brings economic stability to the club, his unwillingness to dip into his pocket could see Blackpool enduring a long number of years yo-yoing between the middle positions in the Championship.

You would imagine though that under the leadership of Holloway and with the core of Blackpool’s determined squad still together, they are likely to be challenging to taste the delights of the Premier League again once more, and with the right investments we could once again be able to jump back on Blackpool’s roller-coaster in the Premier League in the coming years.

David Philip Harrison


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *