Blackpool Dreams of Promotion to Premier League

Football - Blackpool v Nottingham Forest Coca

The Coca-Cola Championship Playoff Final is called the richest match in football as the winner will be promoted to the so called glory land of the EPL – and with it all the riches … estimated at 90 million pounds sterling.

SO who are Blackpool, the team I support… because next season you could see a team you have hardly heard of and an invasion of tangerine on your TV. Our team colors are tangerine and white .. its not orange, its tangerine.. and you will be corrected so you might as well get it right from the start.

Formed in 1892, we have had our best days post WWII. In fact we have a little known fact that we were top of the First Division for the longest time. We were top of Div 1 come Sept 3rd 1939 and stayed there for years thanks to Mr. A Hitler of Germany.

But silly stats aside, Blackpool FC are most famous for the 1953 Matthews FA Cup Final, where wing wizard Sir Stanley Matthews finally won an FA Cup medal after a dramatic 4-3 win after being 3-1 down to arch enemy Bolton Wanderers. In those days top teams, as we both were, were filled with internationals and didn’t play reserves in FA Cup matches. The FA Cup was a HUGE competition and not the sad state of affairs it is today.

Sir Stanley though was one of 11 players that day – and since he had the final unofficially named after him, you would think he scored a hat trick or something extraordinary. Well, the truth is that a hat trick was scored by Blackpool’s Stan Mortensen that day.. but its always known as the Matthews Final for the country’s most beloved football player finally getting his hands on the trophy he most wanted. By all accounts, you would think that Matthews must have been Pele/Maradona/Beckham or Messi of his era – and from the stories told he was all of them rolled into one.

But times moved on at Bloomfield Road. In the 1960s Alan Ball – the midfield red head engine of the 1966 World Cup winning team – was a Blackpool player, as was squad player Jimmy Armfield – who is a Blackpool legend with over 600 games for the Seasiders and captained England many times too. But Blackpool hovered between First and Second divisions.

In the 1969/70 season we were promoted to the First Divison, winning 3-0 at Preston North End. Means nothing to most people but winning 3-0 against your closest rival (we are a mere 15 miles apart) was incredible. We got promoted and in addition sent PNE down to Division Three. Fred Pickering was the hat trick hero that day.

But the 70/71 season was the last time The Seasiders graced the top tier in English football. We won the Anglo Italian Cup a couple of times. Then the decline really started. The abolishment of the maximum wage meant the bigger teams got the better players, and in true style The Seasiders managed to get relegated to Divison Three for the first time after a freak set of results. The chairman of the day is widely blamed for sacking Allan Brown when were challenging again for promotion, and led us to relegation. How one man can destroy thousands of dreams…

We meandered in the lower leagues for 30 odd years. There were some really bad days when we had to apply for re-election (before non league teams were promoted). We almost went bust too. Our ground was still something that looked like it was built in 1892 in 1992. There were some glory days though: The promotion from the Fourth Division in 1984, but we were relegated a few years later. Then in 1991 we lost the playoff final versus Torquay in the dreaded penalty shoot out. “King” Billy Ayre said it wasn’t the worst day in his football life – it was the worst day of his life.

Each team has a manager like Billy Ayre. Liverpool had Shankley. United had Busby. We had King Billy Ayre. He was a man’s man and a great man. And he got his reward the following season. Again in the playoffs with a penalty shoot out win versus Scunthorpe.

But the meandering continued. The Oyston family who now own Blackpool FC have appointed several good managers by luck and several good men who weren’t good managers. We have had Steve McMahon (Liverpool, Man City and England) – who woke up the latest Oyston chairman – son Karl, who looks like Harry Potter, with his over the top demands…  like we need a washing machine! And McMahon got us promoted via the playoffs and won a couple of LDV Cups.

But on the flip side Karl Oyston appointed Colin Hendry (Man City, Blackburn, Scotland, and known as Braveheart). He was truly the worst manager of a Blackpool team I have seen play – and I have seen some rubbish.

The next messiah was Simon “Larry” Grayson – who took us to the Championship – via the play offs v Yeovil after winning 10 games straight. Karl Oyston has his faults (only Dave Whelan probably doesn’t in the world of chairmen) – but Karl and father Owen Oystons brought in Latvian Banker “Uncle Valerei Belekon” who bought into the team – not the land – just the team. He speaks like Borat, but we don’t care. He has fallen in love with Blackpool and said at that great day at Wembley that he wanted us to challenge for the Premiership in five years. He lied. We are doing it in three.

Larry Grayson left to go manage his boyhood heroes Leeds United. His number two, Tony Parkes, kept us in the division by some wheeling and dealing and bringing in a player called Charlie Adam on loan from Rangers (as well as a lot of other loans).

We stayed up and actually ended up in 15th position. Parkes didn’t not stay as manager due to a rumored joke of an offer from Karl. But then we need a new manager.

ENTER IAN HOLLOWAY… Media darling aside from his quips and one liners, he is also a football man.

In his first year in charge we were favorites to be relegated. But he has guided us to the sixth place and into the playoffs, playing probably the best tangerine football in forty years.

Key man is Charlie Adam, signed permanently from Rangers for a steal at 500 thousand pounds. Because we are a smaller club, getting 8000 fans week in week out, we aren’t seen in the media a lot and when we are its pun filled lines about our local tourism trade. Many journalists don’t seem to respect us. Some points they make are true but its what’s on the pitch that counts. We played Newcastle Utd off the park in September, and have beaten Notts Forest, who came third in the Championship, four times in one season says we are a good side. We won the playoff semi final 6-4 on aggregate with a 4-3 win away.

And now Little Blackpool could be little no more. We are 90 minutes from playing the big boys. We are in form, winning 9 of last 11 and have received plaudits for our good football. Whereever we go with our tangerine colors proudly displayed, its been a wild ride. Some poor journalist with no imagination would say its been a rollercoaster ride. It’s been an amazing season for any Blackpool fan around in the world.

One final game…May 22nd Cardiff City await…

19 thoughts on “Blackpool Dreams of Promotion to Premier League”

  1. Well I never wanna visit Blackpool ever again aside from a match… And if the ‘Pool get promoted can they even play in their own ground? Would be ironic if you get promoted and have to play at Deepdale.

    Best of luck, in the final, its the most nervy game I ever remember as a West Ham supporter.

  2. I saw a segment on Sky last night on Blackpool, during which they said that matches would be played at Bloomfield Road if the club goes up.

  3. Yes – we’ll be playing at Bloomfield Rd if we go up… and if we dont. No need to ground share – we recently opened the South “Armfield Stand” – and have plans in place to increase capacity to 16K if we get past Cardiff


  4. Well after seeing 2 teams relegated last year go back up it is nice to see that the 3rd promoted team will either be a team who has not bee in the 1st division in a) 50 years (Cardiff) or b) 40 years (Blackpool). Back in 2002 I believe both teams were in Divsion 4. With that said, I will pull just a tad bit more for Blackpool. I like their colors. Who else wears Tangerine in English football.

    Actuall English football really lacks a varierty in team colors. In the they EPL they are all red, blue, white, or claret it seems.

  5. We are unique in English football – Dundee Utd are also known as the tangerines – but thats Scotland

    Luton Town apparently have the same kit for their away strip – same manufacturer and colour

    Tangerine isnt a quiet colour… :)

    1. It is actually Luton Town’s Home strip! And the only things that are different are the crest and the sponsor

      Good Luck in the play-off

  6. Everyone at Derby thanks you for putting the red dogs in their place. Good luck against Cardiff and may D.J. have another blinder.

  7. re your orange kit ian said – “We (bpoo) are unique in English football……Luton Town apparently have the same kit”.

    you are therefore NOT unique – your words.

    good luck cardiff. 😉

    1. As a league club, Blackpool are unique as the only side that wear Tangerine. Good luck to them, never been to Bloomfield Road, so would be nice to visit it.

    2. Blackpool have played in tangerine and white since the 1930’s. Luton’s strip used to be white shirts and black shorts. They changed colours to tangerine – was it in the 1980’s ? Shame, Blackpool were the orinigianl tangerines.

  8. Colin – I didnt know it was the home kit!! – thanks for the update.. still since LUFC are in Blue Sq then we are still technically unique in the Football League :)

    I am ignoring the Nobber. – 8.

    1. Just want to say all the best of luck to Ollie and the Blackpool team , do the buisness against those taffs .
      Ollie is the top man.
      A few of us will be haveing a few beers and shouting for the tangerines.
      Alan , and the Q.P.R. boys , Kilburn , London

  9. Although I left Blackpol more than sixty years ago,(my late father was Rabbi of the local Jewish congregation), I have never forgotten seeing the two Stanleys in action and I still follow the results anxiously to see if the club will retain its former glory.

    Good luck.

    Louis Garb

  10. Nothing personal, Ian, but given our family’s Welsh background I’ll be pulling for Cardiff City. However, should Blackpool prevail I will wish you the best in the EPL. Any team that wears tangerine on purpose can’t be all bad.

    Pob lwc…….sort of. 😉

  11. Good luck to the Tangerines but we’ll have young Seamus Coleman back next season, thanks much, at right back to overlap with Donovan (fingers crossed) on the Toffees’ right – marauding aint the half of it.

  12. Having grown up watching the ‘Pool in the 50s (Matthews, Perry et al) I will be routing for them. I worry that, should they be promoted, they’ll come back down after 12 months. Bloomfield Rd looks only slightly different to the decrepit ground that existed 60 years ago and the playing surface is a total disgrace. But Holloway has does an outstanding job and some of the football played against Forest was really excellent.

    (Your excellent article forgot to mention that it was one of Sam Allardyce’s first managerial posts.)

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