The unthinkable could be about to happen for Blackpool. They are just one game away from a tilt at the big time following their 6-4 aggregate win over Nottingham Forest in the Championship play-off semi-finals.
Having finished 16th last season who would have thought they could be playing against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal next season?
Not since 1971 have the Seasiders graced the top flight and under manager Ian Holloway it looks like their time has come to play in the Premier League.
Holloway is clearly the comedian of English football with his legendary one-liners:
“Right now, everything is going wrong for me, if I fell in a barrel of boobs I’d come out sucking my thumb.”: is just one of his witty comments made over the past couple of years and it certainly something we will all look forward to if they get promoted.
At the moment everything is going right for Holloway. The 47 year old inherited a team more familiar with the bottom of the table rather than the top but having formed a squad on a shoestring budget his management skills are all that are shining through in his first season in charge at Bloomfield Road.
One of Holloway’s star signings has been that of Charlie Adam from Rangers, he became their record signing at £500,000, which seems like steal when you consider he has been their top scorer in the league this season with 17 goals and has international experience to back it up with.
Other than the splurge on Adam, Blackpool has spent close to nothing on assembling their squad. Loan signings have been instrumental over the season with highly-rated Everton defender Seamus Coleman being the shining light, also Barry Bannan of Aston Villa and DJ Campbell of Leicester have played their part in Blackpool’s promotion push.
Club president Valeri Belokon has pledged funds to improve the squad, so, the future is certainly bright no matter what happens for Holloway and the team. Chairman Karl Oyston has also assured Holloway that his job is safe regardless of results.
In 2006 the Tangerines completed two promotions in three years to reach the Championship and now four years later they are in their third final in ten seasons. They will face Cardiff on Saturday, another side that have not played in the top flight since the Premier League’s inception in 1992.
I for one would love to see Blackpool in the Premier League, purely just for Holloway’s press conferences afterwards and I am sure I would not be alone with those sentiments. As he has said himself even if they were to go out and lose every week it would still be a blast.
Blackpool has nothing to lose by getting promoted but everything to gain. However, Cardiff on the other hand needs promotion due to their current financial troubles.
Whichever side emerges at the victors, it will be nice to see a new face in the Premier League, the question is can they remain on in the league and battle it out with the big boys. That question will be answered around about this time next season.
What better way to finish than another quote from Holloway on Blackpool: “I love Blackpool. We’re very similar. We both look better in the dark.”
Blackpool vs. Cardiff City – Saturday 22nd May, 2010.