EPL Season Preview: Blackpool (Fun at the Seaside)

via www.blackpool-england.com

Team name: Blackpool Football Club

Nicknames: The ‘pool, Seasiders, Tangerines

Location: Blackpool (Seaside town in Lancashire, in Northwest England)

Ground: Bloomfield Road (capacity:12,555)

Last year’s record:

Championship: 6th Place, promoted to Premier League through playoff competition

League Cup: Third Round, lost to Stoke City

FA Cup: Third Round Proper, lost to Ipswich Town

Manager: Ian Holloway. This will be the second season for Mr. Holloway, and having him in the Premier League will at least allow us to read even more of his crazy soundbites, such as this gem, given after a win against Chesterfield: "To put it in gentleman's terms if you've been out for a night and you're looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they're good looking and some weeks they're not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She wasn't the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much, let's have a coffee."

Brief History: In my quick calculations, I believe that Blackpool has been around for 133 years, since 1877. The club was a founding member of the Lancashire League in 1888, then applied to be part of the Football League in 1896. Although they did go back down to the Lancashire League in 1899, they were back in the Football League in 1900, and they’ve been part of it ever since.

Despite the fact that Blackpool have leapfrogged their way through four divisions in just twenty years—they started 1991 in the old League Four—the Seasiders have only ever been league champions once, in 1929/1930, when they were crowned champions of Division Two.  In other words, if you’re looking for the ultimate underdog, this would be the team to choose. Their height of glory came in 1953, when they won the FA Cup. More recently, they’ve won the Football League Trophy (2002 & 2004), the hardware given to the winners of the knockout tournament between Leagues One and Two.

Current Perception: Blackpool sure like being promoted through playoffs. In 2006/2007, Blackpool saw off Oldham Athletic in the League One semi-finals before beating Yeovil Town in the final to clench promotion into the Championship. Three seasons later, in 2009/2010, The Seasiders won promotion to the Premier League by finishing sixth in the Championship, thus securing a spot in the semi-finals. They beat Nottingham Forest 6-4 over two legs before defeating Cardiff 3-2 in the final at Wembley.

Last season, the Premier League welcomed Wolves, Birmingham City, and Burnley. Birmingham City finished 9th, Wolves 15th and Burney—the ones that won through playoff promotion—went back to the Championship. While Holloway may have taken the ‘pool from 16th in 2008/2009 to 6th in 09/10, staying up in the first division is a bit tougher. Odds are that they’ll slip right back down next season, which is too bad because I think the EPL needs more tangerine on the field.

Rivalries: Preston North End

2-3 Players to Watch: To be perfectly frank, I barely watched Blackpool last year—my only memory of the players is from the playoff match against Cardiff. Which was a fun, exciting match, but not many specific moments stick in my head. Nothing, that is, except Blackpool’s first goal, a free kick scored off the foot of Charlie Adam. The gap-toothed Scottish international played his first full season with the Seasiders last year and left a great impression on supporters, scoring 18 goals as a midfielder and converting the penalty kick that won the semi-final playoff match against Nottingham Forest.

A Villa Fan Says… "Sweet, a day out at the seaside!"

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