Five years ago Blackpool FC were struggling for form in League 1, dangerously wavering above the relegation zone. These days, the Seasiders are living the dream, competing among the worlds best in England’s top flight, a league they had waited for since 1970, but Blackpool seemed to have suffered a blip in form as of late. Following Blackpool keenly since their opening day rout against Wigan, I’ve decided to give you all a post on what life’s been like for the Premier League newcomers.
Rewind back to last May. Blackpool were playing Cardiff in the Championship play-off final for a coveted spot in the Premier League. A fascinating 3-2 win over the Bluebirds meant Blackpool would be promoted to England’s top-tier for their first ever spell in the Barclay’s Premier League and excitement took over at Bloomfield Road.
Due to their promotion, Blackpool chose to expand Bloomfield road in preparation for their inaugural season in the Premier League, raising the attendance from 11,100 – 16,900 by the end of the 2010 calendar year. Blackpool were due to host Wigan but with the stadium still under expansion progress they travelled to the DW stadium and what a day it turned out to be for Blackpool’s first ever Premier league outing. A 4-0 thumping of the Latics saw the Tangerine’s perched at the top of the table for 2-3 hours before they were replaced by title regulars Chelsea.
Blackpool continued to perform well prior to Christmas and became the talk of the town when manager Ian Holloway took to his regular press conferences he was always there to enlighten the mood, no matter what the day. Holloway also became known for his notorious rants at topics such as the Bosman transfer rule and also at Liverpool’s handling of the Charlie Adam transfer saga. Ollie has cemented his place amongst the most entertaining managers in Premier League history, well up there with the likes of Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Blackpool’s steady start to the Premier League soon became destabilised and the Tangerines were in free-fall mode soon after Christmas.
The festive fixtures arrived and with a tally of a possible 9 points on offer, the Seasiders only managed a minimalistic 3 on the way to their worst run in the League to date.
2011 then arrived and with Ian Holloway’s team having been in fine form, who would have bet against them when they took on Southampton in the FA Cup on the 8th. A relatively weak team was fielded by Ollie and his team suffered, being beaten 2-0 at St.Mary’s, yet another upset at the FA Cup. A hard-fought 2-1 win against Liverpool just four days later looked to have brighten the mood at Bloomfield Road but there were no further signs of improvement as Blackpool quickly became a club rapidly spinning out of control. Further losses to West Brom, Sunderland, and Manchester United capped off a miserable month for the club from Lancashire.
January also proved more than a testing time for Ian Holloway as his influential midfielder Charlie Adam was constantly being linked away with a move to Anfield. Holloway was forcibly clingy in his approach to keep the Scot, despite a bid that was accepted from Tottenham late on transfer deadline day for Adam, but it could not be finalised.
February couldn’t have come at a better time for Blackpool as they looked to build from scratch and hopefully muster up some wins to get their season back on track. Fellow strugglers West ham came to Bloomfield Road and surprisingly came away with a win. Everton then battled past Blackpool 5-3 in an entertaining encounter and that left the Seasiders in a dangerous 16th, with the danger of soon being embroiled in the relegation battle.
A season which had started so promisingly has seen the Tangerine’s falter and as a result, they have only 2 wins in their last 9. If Blackpool are serious about staying in the Premier League they must take their chances and matches against the likes of Birmingham, West Brom and Wolves are MUST win games.
This weekend Blackpool host Aston Villa in what is a crucial match for Blackpool. It’s fair to say an ending season points tally of in or around 40 points will guarantee survival and keep Blackpool in the Prem for another year. If Blackpool fail to do this they are in danger of losing Ian Holloway and that won’t be a pretty sight. Besides, who else would entertain the media on a weekly basis?