Where to Sir Alex? Bloomfield or the Boleyn?


Saturday sees two big football matches take place, and if pressed, most would probably say that the one not including John Terry in Munich is bigger. However to supporters travelling to Wembley from the Lancashire coast and those making the, considerably shorter, journey from the East End of London, the game at the Allianz Arena will simply be an afterthought.

The Championship Play Off final is worth around £90million to the victor, it gives them a seat at the top table of English football. And to the loser, it gives a sense of massive disappointment and a potentially season wrecking hangover.

You begin to see just how big this game is for Blackpool and West Ham United, they both have reasons to be optimistic; Blackpool have been there and done it, just two years ago and are blessed with speed in Tom Ince and Matt Phillips. West Ham, on the other hand, are experienced, have 3 players in double figures in the scoring charts and boast fantastic support, to boot.

The managers, both English, have both managed in the top flight and have both been play off winners before. Not too much to choose there then, they can both be very confident in their ability to elicit a match winning performance.

The top scorers of both clubs, well, the only way to describe them is Premiership veterans. They have both been there and done it, Kevin Phillips has scored goals in the top division for numerous clubs, Sunderland and Aston Villa to name some. Another Kevin, this time Nolan, has notched impressively for Hammers this season and enjoyed long stints in the Premier League with Bolton and Newcastle.

The differences between the two clubs though, are also stark. You get the impression that Blackpool fans are enjoying their journey that took them to the Premier League in 2010/11. Where, the Premier League, for West Ham supporters is a minimum expectation, hence the big money spent on strengthening the squad.

To say Saturday is a big day for the Tangerines and The Irons is an understatement, the favourites are West Ham, Ian Holloway said, perhaps a bit extravagantly, that his side needs a ‘miracle’ to beat the Londoners. The aggregate score line between the two sides in the league meetings was 8-1 in favour of West Ham, however I wouldn’t bet against a tight game under the arch at the weekend.

George Powell

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